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Fam Plann Perspect. 1984 Jan-Feb;16(1):28-31.

Some organizational alternatives to increase support for reproductive and contraceptive research.



Contraceptive development has not been more rapid in the US because worldwide support for reproductive and contraceptive research has diminished. At present, the major source of funding is the US government. Apart from small funds to applied research from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) most funding has been from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 1 of the 11 National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is the world's premier health research institution. However, the relative priorities set by NIH have often been contested. Recently, there have been numerous proposals by congress to change the organization of NIH. These proposals are aimed at changing NIH's priorities--its overall orientation toward health research, its research on specific subjects and its actual research products. These issues are not new. It is very difficult to make changes in NIH's priorities without changing its organizational structure. In 1968, NIH established the Center for Population Research (CPR) within NICHD. CPR is the world's largest single source of support for reproductive research and contraceptive development. Assessments of its research funding have been made. Organizational alternatives are: 1) earmark funding for contraceptive research; 2) set aside funds for contracts; 3) establish a separate population institute; 4) establish 2 new institutes with a special coordinating mechanism; and 5) create a research center outside NIH. None of these alternatives are likely to be adopted without the active support of the research community and of a substantial segment of the general public. The low budget for contraceptive research does not reflect the importance of such research for the health and well-being of Americans or for the world's population.

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