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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

    The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is one of the National Institutes of Health and part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It funds and conducts research on topics in the health of children, adults, families, and populations.[1] Some research topics include:

  • Reducing infant deaths
  • Improving the health of women, men, and families
  • Understanding reproductive health and fertility
  • Learning about growth and human development
  • Examining, preventing and treating problems of birth defects, mental retardation, and developmental disabilities
  • Enhancing well-being of persons through the lifespan with optimal rehabilitation research


Establishment History

At the request of President John F. Kennedy, the U.S. Congress established the NICHD in 1962. President Kennedy's sister, Eunice Shriver, had been an advocate for the mentally retarded and, with help from the family pediatrician Robert E. Cooke, pushed for research that focused on disorders pertaining to human development. In 1961 Dr. Cooke chaired a task-force on child health and growth; the task-force's report was given to congress, which then established the NICHD the following year.


The mission of the NICHD is to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, and to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of all people through optimal rehabilitation.[2]


 In 2006, the NICHD issued US$903 million in grants and spent US$359 million on direct operations, which includes intramural research conducted on NIH campuses. [3] As of June, 2006, the director of the NICHD is Duane Alexander, M.D., who has held this position since 1986. As director, he is obligated to testify in congress and assist on congressional committees.

The NICHD supports extramural research via grants and contracts to places such as major research universities, but it also supports intramural research done on NIH campuses, in particular the Bethesda, Maryland campus, just outside of Washington, D.C..


  • Office of the Director (OD)
  • Center for Developmental Biology and Perinatal Medicine
  • Developmental Biology, Genetic & Teratology (DBGT) Branch,
  • Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) Branch
  • Pregnancy & Perinatology (PP) Branch)
  • Center for Research for Mothers and Children
  • Child Development & Behavior (CDB) Branch
  • Endocrinology & Pediatric Pharmacology (OPP) Branch
  • Pediatric, Adolescent & Maternal AIDS (PAMA) Branch
  • Center for Population Research (CPR)
  • Contraception & Reproductive Health (CRH) Branch
  • Demographic & Behavioral Sciences (DBS) Branch
  • Reproductive Sciences (RS) Branch)
  • National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research
  • Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research

Division of Intramural Research (DIR)

The DIR is closely concerned with the biological, neurobiological, and medical aspects of normal and abnormal human development. The DIR is divided into basic research, which is more laboratory oriented (many labs use animal models) and clinical research, which involves human patients.

DIR Basic Research
  • Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch
  • Endocrinology and Reproduction Research Branch
  • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics
  • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neurophysiology
  • Laboratory of Cellular and Synaptic Neurophysiology
  • Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology
  • Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development
  • Laboratory of Integrative and Medical Biophysics
  • Laboratory of Mammalian Genes and Development
  • Laboratory of Genomic Integrity
  • Laboratory of Molecular Genetics
  • Laboratory of Molecular Growth Regulation
  • Laboratory of Physical and Structural Biology
  • Section on DNA Replication, Repair, and Mutagenesis
  • Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity
  • Test Lab 94
DIR Clinical Research
  • Bone and Extracellular Matrix Branch
  • Developmental Endocrinology Branch
  • Heritable Disorders Branch
  • Laboratory of Clinical Genomics
  • Laboratory of Comparative Ethology
  • Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Immunity
  • Reproductive Biology Medicine and Biology Branch
  • Perinatal Research Branch

The Institute's Notable Accomplishments

  • Since its founding, the NICHD has funded research that has contributed to a decline in infant mortality of over 70%.
  • The rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has fallen 50% since an NICHD "Back to Sleep" initiative began.
  • Transmission of HIV from an infected mother to the fetus has dropped from 25% to 2% as a result of an NICHD collaboration.
  • NICHD scientists developed a vaccine for Haemophilus Influenzae B (Hib), which was a leading cause of mental retardation, reducing its incidence by 99% and nearly eliminating the disease.
  • Many other advancements in fertility, contraception, mental retardation, and developmental biology[4]


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See also

National Institutes of Health

United States Department of Health and Human Services

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "National_Institute_of_Child_Health_and_Human_Development". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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