About Us

Long-Range Plan

Updated June 21, 2006

Introduction from the Director to the Long-Range Plan

I am pleased to present the long-range plan of the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases for FY2006-2009. The Plan is a broad outline of scientific opportunities, research needs and gaps that we currently envision, and it will provide a baseline for the institute's priority setting process.

With 20 years of progress behind us and unprecedented research challenges before us, the Plan provides our collective perspectives on some of these priority areas. It is the culmination of a process that included roundtable discussions in our key mission areas, reviews by our Advisory Council, and significant input from numerous lay and professional organizations and individuals.

The Plan is not meant to be comprehensive, and we do not mention opportunities in every research area. The NIAMS' mission is broad-reaching, often leading to participation in several NIH-wide efforts to address public health and disease that extend beyond the Plan. Some of these efforts include the Action Plan for the Muscular Dystrophies; the NIAMS Strategic Plan for Reducing Health Disparities; and the 5-year trans-NIH plan for lupus research (currently being developed).

Most of the research directions that the NIAMS takes are set by the scientific community. Applications are received from researchers at all stages of their careers - from first-time-applicants and new investigators, to well-established investigators who are leaders in their fields. All applications are reviewed by the time-honored NIH peer review system and the funding decisions are determined largely by the outcome of peer review. The job of the NIAMS leadership is to launch initiatives in areas of opportunity and need, and where an emerging area of research needs to be nurtured and stimulated.

Long-range planning is a continually-renewing process. We have archived the previous long-range plan, and we will assess progress in the areas identified in this Plan over the next several years. We anticipate that new areas of important research, not included in this Plan, will emerge and will certainly be given full consideration.

Ultimately, our goal remains what it has been since the Institute was created: to continue to work in partnerships with other NIH components and Federal agencies, voluntary and professional groups, and industry to advance the scientific enterprise and improve public health. This Plan is but one tool that the NIAMS uses in being effective stewards of funds that the American people have entrusted to us. We will continue to strive to improve the quality of life for Americans affected by chronic and costly and often disabling diseases of bones, muscles, joints, and skin.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, NIAMS