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NIH Record  
Vol. LXII, No. 20
  October 1, 2010
 Features
Minority Health Center Now an Institute
NIH To Launch Gulf Oil Spill Health Study
Tougaloo College Students Enjoy Annual NIH Visit
Facial Stimulation Prevents Stroke in Rodents
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Board Recommends Merger of NIDA, NIAAA

An advisory body to NIH director Dr. Francis Collins—the Scientific Management Review Board—voted 12-3 on Sept. 15 in favor of merging the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Created by the NIH Reform Act of 2006 to look into optimizing NIH’s structure, the SMRB has been wrestling since its inception with two major challenges: how to secure stable funding for the Clinical Center and make it a strong extramural collaborator in translational research, and whether to merge NIDA and NIAAA.

A subset of the board, the substance use, abuse and addiction working group, offered Collins two recommendations about the latter issue on Sept. 15: create a new addiction institute or fashion a new trans-NIH initiative on addiction that would leave NIDA and NIAAA intact. Such an initiative would be modeled on the current Neuroscience Blueprint involving multiple institutes, only far larger.
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Pay Attention to Potential Tension
Grady Points Out Ethical Challenges Where Clinical Research, Practice Meet
  Dr. Christine Grady
  Dr. Christine Grady

Clinical care and clinical research are not the same. Mostly around NIH we know this, but even the most seasoned medical research veterans can find themselves facing a potential ethics crash at the intersection of care and research. At a recent Grand Rounds for Clinical Fellows, Dr. Christine Grady, acting chief of the Clinical Center’s department of bioethics, offered a crash course on preventing collisions.

“There are strong reasons that clinical research and clinical care are distinct, and the reasons are very ethically significant,” she began. That doesn’t mean there’s no overlap between the two, but each has its own goals, methods, justifications for risks and levels of uncertainty.
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