Founded in 1887, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) today is the federal focal point for medical research in the United States. Composed of separate institutes and centers, NIH is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge about the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. It does this through
Science education efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers are critical in ensuring the continued supply of well-trained basic research and clinical investigators, as well as the myriad professionals in the many allied disciplines who support the research enterprise. These efforts also help educate people about the scientific results so that they can make informed decisions about their own health as well as the health of the public.
This curriculum supplement is one such science education effort, done through the partnership of the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the NIH Office of Science Education, and Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS).
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is one of 27 institutes and centers that compose the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical research agency of the federal government.
In 1948, the National Heart Institute was established through the National Heart Act, with a mission to support research and training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Twenty-four years later, Congress mandated that the Institute expand and coordinate its activities in an accelerated attack against heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases. The renamed National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute expanded its scientific areas of interest and intensified its efforts related to research and education. Over the years, these areas have grown to include high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, heart attack, obesity, blood disorders, nutrition, sleep, and sleep disorders.
The Institute plans, conducts, and supports a coordinated program of basic research, clinical investigations and trials, observational studies, and demonstration and education projects related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.
The translation and dissemination of research to health professionals, the public, and patients is also an important mission of NHLBI. In addition, the Institute establishes partnerships with a variety of voluntary organizations, professional associations, and international, national, and local government agencies in order to improve public health.
The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR) was established within the NHLBI specifically to coordinate and support NIH research, training, health-information dissemination, and other activities with respect to sleep and sleep disorders, including biological and circadian rhythms research, basic understanding of sleep, and chronobiological and other sleep-related research. The NCSDR also coordinates its activities with other federal agencies, including the other components of NIH and other public and nonprofit entities. In addition to identifying and supporting key research in sleep and sleep disorders, education programs for students, teachers, parents, and physicians are an important component of the NCSDR’s mandate.