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Posts from 2009

2009, A Remarkable Year For NIMH

From the extraordinary funding opportunities presented by the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)  to significant new investments in research and resource infrastructure — this has been a remarkable year for our Institute. I would like to reflect with you on how the work of 2009 has prepared us for the year ahead.

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Autism Progress

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has made a substantial commitment to research designed to discover autism’s causes and improve diagnosis and treatment. Not only has NIMH become the lead institute for autism research at NIH, we have become the largest single source of funding for autism research in the country.

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Focusing Our Funding Opportunity Announcements

The NIMH Strategic Plan provides a framework to focus and accelerate mental health research so that breakthroughs in science become breakthroughs that can tangibly improve mental healthcare and the lives of people living with and affected by mental illness. For the Institute to pursue most effectively its mission of transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses, we must be able to adapt to and fully explore the constantly changing scientific landscape that comes with the increased pace of research progress.

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Tragedy at Fort Hood

The horrific events yesterday at Fort Hood leave many Americans stunned and saddened. For those closest to the events, there is both shock and trauma. Natural disasters and violent attacks have combined in recent years to make Americans very much aware of the mental and emotional repercussions of exposure to traumatic events and of the importance of providing support, and when necessary, effective treatment to people who have experienced them. The events at Fort Hood come just as NIMH is launching the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service-members (Army STARRS), developed at the request of the U.S. Army in the summer of 2009.

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NIMH’s Response to New HRSA Autism Prevalence Estimate

On October 5, 2009, researchers with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Massachusetts General Hospital published a new estimate of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) among children in the United States. Published online ahead of print in Pediatrics, the new estimate that roughly 1 in 90 U.S. children ages 3–17 were given an ASD diagnosis in 2007 is significantly higher than previous reports.

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NIMH and the Recovery Act

Last February’s announcement that funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)  will be used to support job creation and retention in biomedical research presented an exciting opportunity for NIMH.  These supplemental funds arrived just as the Institute was launching the implementation of its new Strategic Plan.  For some months now, the Institute has been diligently working to implement a series of ARRA funding initiatives that will aggressively pursue the Plan’s objectives.

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