NIH establishes National Commission on Digestive Diseases


Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced the establishment of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases, which will work to improve the health of the nation through digestive diseases research. As part of its mission, the Commission will conduct an overview of the state-of-the science in the field of digestive diseases research and will develop a 10-year, long-range plan for digestive diseases research consistent with the research mission of the NIH. The Commission will report directly to the Director of the NIH.

"Digestive diseases take a terrible toll on the health and well-being of Americans," said Dr. Zerhouni. "With more than 70 million people affected and 1.4 million disabled, now is the time to examine the state of digestive diseases research and to develop a plan to most effectively take advantage of advances in the field."

The Commission will conduct a scientific overview of NIH-funded research and research-related activities in digestive diseases and identify recent research advances and new and emerging opportunities for future research. The Commission will also develop a 10-year plan to address important goals for research in digestive diseases and make recommendations to the NIH Director. The Charter for the Commission will expire in two years, unless renewed by appropriate action prior to its expiration.

"This is an incredible opportunity to move the field of digestive diseases research in a direction that could lead to significant advances over the next 10 years," said Stephen P. James, M.D., Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

The Commission will be composed of 16 members, appointed for the life of the Commission by the Director of the NIH and representing a broad diversity of scientific and professional experience in the field of digestive diseases. Of the 16 appointed members, 12 will be members of the academic or medical research and practice communities and four will be from patient-oriented organizations or will have close personal or family experience with digestive diseases. Further information about the Commission charter and process for nomination of members can be found at the Commission web site at

In addition to the 16 appointed members, the Commission will include 18 nonvoting "ex officio" members from the NIH and other federal government agencies involved in digestive diseases research. The Chair of the Commission will be the Director, Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at the NIDDK. The other "ex officio" members will be senior representatives from the following government organizations:

  • National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), NIH
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH
  • National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), NIH
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), NIH
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), NIH
  • National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), NIH
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), NIH
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), NIH
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH
  • Liver Disease Research Branch, NIDDK, NIH
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), NIH
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), NIH
  • National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), NIH

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • Department of Agriculture (DoA)
  • Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Veterans Affairs (VA)

    Source: Eurekalert & others

    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
        Published on All rights reserved.