Congressman Andy Harris Applauds NIH for Release of Strategic Plan

WASHINGTON, DC: Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), the only physician member of Congress to have conducted research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), commended NIH Director Francis Collins today in releasing the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan.

“Dr. Collins deserves credit for listening to the will of Congress and preparing a strategic plan.  NIH receives nearly thirty billion dollars a year, and yet up until now, it has had no NIH-wide strategic plan,” said Dr. Harris. “As we look for ways to fund more biomedical research, Congress needs to know NIH is wisely spending the money it currently receives.”

The plan outlines the main objectives for the NIH, as well as specific medical and research goals they hope to achieve over the next five years.  It works to streamline the agency in order to enhance medical research and breakthroughs.

 “This groundbreaking NIH-wide strategic plan is an important first step toward increasing accountability and resource prioritization at NIH.  As this Congress works to increase funding for NIH, the strategic plan will provide a roadmap for where the additional investments should be made.  The strategic plan also makes it clear that no disease deserves an automatic specific percentage of funding which is an important shift in policy.   The commitment to young investigators, basic scientists, and innovative new funding models is particularly encouraging.  I look forward to partnering with NIH to help the brilliant scientists funded by the NIH achieve this vision,” added Dr. Harris.

Dr. Harris, through both House Appropriations bill language and the House Energy and Commerce “21st Century Cures Act,” has been urging the NIH to take this action.  In May, Dr. Harris introduced H.R.2447 - to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for an NIH research strategic plan.

Congressman Harris, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that determines NIH funding, performed research into fetal cerebral blood flow while on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.