National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the lead federal agency supporting scientific research on drug use and its consequences. Our mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health through:
- Strategically supporting and conducting basic and clinical research on drug use, its consequences, and the underlying neurobiological, behavioral, and social mechanisms involved.
- Ensuring the effective translation, implementation, and dissemination of scientific research findings to improve the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and enhance public awareness of addiction as a brain disorder.
NIH NIDA staff
Interest in Diversity
To enhance the pool of underrepresented populations in the sciences, the National Institute on Drug Abuse established the Office of Diversity and Health Disparities (ODHD) 20 years ago. The mission of the ODHD is to strengthen the NIDA extramural research portfolio through a more diverse and robust extramural research workforce, attracting and retaining talented individuals from all populations in order to fulfill the mission of NIDA.
Underrepresented researchers face a number of challenges that influence their success in obtaining independent funding support. To that end, NIDA has implemented several key early stage outreach programs which play a vital role at recruiting, training, and retaining researchers from underrepresented backgrounds in order to develop and support their research careers. In addition, NIDA has a Diversity Consortium that includes staff across NIDA Scientific Divisions and Offices who help guide the direction of activities related to diversity within the institute and who promote diversity in the extramural community.
Diversity enriches any workforce, and that is especially true of science. People with different backgrounds and experiences may think in different ways, produce different ideas and insights, and approach scientific questions from different angles. Unfortunately, substance abuse and addiction research shares with the health sciences in general a lack of investigators from underrepresented populations. When it comes to clinical and epidemiological study populations, NIDA’s research has always been diverse: Our portfolio by default addresses underserved communities who, unfortunately, are often those most affected by consequences and problems related to drug use, including health problems such as HIV/AIDS. But I look forward to doing more to enhance diversity on the researcher side, expanding the pool of investigators doing this crucial work so that we better draw on the creativity and ingenuity of our diverse population.