The National Institutes of Health (NIH)


Misson: "To seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengethen life, and reduce illness and disability."

The National Institutes of Health is a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The NIH began in 1887 as a laboratory in New York.  Today, the NIH is the focal point for Federal health research. The agency seeks to encourage and support innocative research to protect and improve the health and quality of life for Americans. There are many divisions within the NIH dedicated to fulfilling various aspects of their mission.


Strategic Plan Initiative 

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is embarking on an Institute-wide strategic planning process. The goal is to develop a broad vision for accelerating research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions within the Institute’s mission. Click here to learn more about these efforts.

The NIDDK's proposed themes to be included in the planning process include:

  • Advancing understanding of biological pathways and environmental contributors to health and disease.
  • Advancing progress in pivotal clinical studies and trials for prevention, treatment, and cures in diverse populations.
  • Advancing dissemination and implementation research on strategies to identify, adapt, scale-up, and integrate evidenced-based interventions in diverse settings and populations.
  • Promoting participant engagement — including patients and other participants as true partners in research.
  • Advancing research training and career development to promote a talented, diverse biomedical research workforce.
  • Promoting innovation, rigor and reproducibility in research, partnerships, and other critical efforts as part of efficient and effective stewardship of public resources.

National Commission on Digestive Diseases –

In April 2006 IFFGD Nancy Norton was one of sixteen members appointed to the National Commission on Digestive Diseases (NCDD). Then Director of the NIH, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, established the NCDD based on the mutual interest in advancing digestive diseases research shared by the NIH and the Congress. The charge of the Commission was to create a long-range research plan for digestive diseases based on the state-of-the-science and the related NIH research portfolios. The final research plan, Opportunities and Challenges in Digestive Disease Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases contains numerous recommendations for advancing functional GI and motility disorders research and is now available here.


Office of Research on Women’s Health –

In March 2006 Nancy Norton was appointed by the NIH Director to a 4-year term on the eighteen member Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health, the advisory body of the NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH). The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 charges the Committee with advising the Director of ORWH on appropriate research activities to be undertaken by the national research institutes with respect to women’s health research. Committee members are actively involved in reviewing research priorities, the women’s health research portfolio for NIH, and the inclusion of women and minorities in clinical research.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases –

In October 2001, Nancy Norton was appointed by the NIH Director to a 4-year term on the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Advisory Council, the advisory body of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). This council serves to advise NIDDK about its research portfolio, and to take second-level peer review of research grant applications that have been scored by initial review groups. Council members also serve as liaisons between the research communities they represent and the NIDDK.


National Library of Medicine –

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a division of the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland. This organization was founded in 1863 and has since been a center for collating and providing innovative information. The NLM is the world’s largest biomedical library. This institute maintains and provides a large collection of print and electronic resources. The topics covered within this organization’s library include a vast range of topics that are searched billions of times each year. The NLM also supports and conducts research, development, and training in biomedical and health information technology. The Library coordinates a 6,500-member Network of the National Library of Medicine that promotes and provides access to health information in communities across the United States.

One commonly accessed source that is managed by the NLM is This resource is managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) within the NLM. PubMed makes it easy to navigate and locate factual and scientific information based on topic, journal, author, date published, and more.


Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center -

The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) is a program of the National Center of Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The GARD programs is funded by both the NCATS and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NGHRI). Both the NCATS and NGHRI are Institutes of the National Institues of Health. GARD provides information and resources for those impacted by genetic and rare diseases. The resources provided can be utilized by patients, the general public, family members, healthcare providers, and even researchers. GARD provides a brochure with information on how to locate information with an overview of the resources here. GARD works to provide open access to information that is reliable, current, and understandable.

Rare disease information can be searched by disease category, such as Digestive Diseases, or alphabetically by disease name. GARD also provides information on drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for rare diseases. These medications are organized by the disease states they are approved for. This can be a good source to find treatment information to discuss further with a healthcare provider. 


Nancy J. Norton, IFFGD Founder
Ceciel T. Rooker, IFFGD President
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2021 Advocacy Event


Join us to share your digestive health stories with Members of Congress during IFFGD's 2021 Virtual Advocacy Event.

Your voice, along with other advocates, will make a positive impact across Capitol Hill.

Visit the Event Page