As NIH Develops Research Plan, AOTA Advocates for Greater Research

AOTA stresses the importance of participation and function

AOTA filed formal comments with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the institute prepares to update its Trans-NIH Rehabilitation Research Plan. AOTA advocated for the change in 2016, an update mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. The association has formally requested recommendations in June to consider as part of the plan, scheduled for publication in 2021.  

AOTA also noted that the new rehabilitation plan should address aspects of disability and chronic conditions that affect societal participation across the life span, including among those with disparities, and that there is a need to better understand how environment may be addressed to prevent negative events such as falls or to enable function and participation across society.

Finally, AOTA suggested that the plan should link to the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science and that work currently funded must be expanded to embrace data on outcomes information from sources such as Medicare IMPACT Act outcomes, the NIH All of Us mission, and data addressing initiatives targeted toward improving general health and social determinants of health.

This effort continues AOTA’s focus on encouraging enhanced rehabilitation research efforts, including occupational therapy studies at NIH. AOTA member researchers have met with directors of numerous organizations, including:  

  • National Cancer Institute
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • National Institute on Aging
  • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders 
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute for Nursing Research 

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