Research from the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, includes over 20 distinct programs. These programs are led by 12 NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). The ambitious and crosscutting nature of the NIH HEAL Initiative requires ongoing input and engagement from experts across disciplines and sectors.
NIH HEAL Initiative Research Plan
The research plan outlines the initiative’s goals, research priorities based on urgent unmet needs, areas of scientific opportunity, and concrete strategies for rapid and long-lasting solutions to the opioid crisis.
NIH HEAL Initiative 2021 Annual Report
The NIH HEAL Initiative® 2021 Annual Report details high-level areas of progress and accomplishments that the initiative achieved by the end of fiscal year 2020.
Governance and Guidance
The director leads coordination of NIH HEAL Initiative programmatic activities between the Office of the Director and relevant ICs; manages the Office of the NIH HEAL Initiative, including NIH HEAL Initiative staff; and oversees management of NIH HEAL Initiative governance committees. The director reports to the NIH Director.
The Executive Committee is made up of NIH IC Directors supporting the initiative. It is co-chaired by the NIH Director and the Directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The committee reviews program and funding plans for NIH HEAL Initiative research, ensures coordination among the multiple NIH HEAL Initiative programs, and considers the input from the external expert advisory groups described below.
NIH HEAL Initiative research focus areas are divided into six teams based on scientific topics. The teams are led by NIH HEAL Initiative scientific leadership and program officials to communicate NIH HEAL Initiative research funding and research plans.
External Advisory Groups
The NIH HEAL Initiative Multi-Disciplinary Working Group is composed of experts in pain and addiction research external to NIH. The working group includes members of the NIH IC Advisory Councils as well as members of the scientific, industry, and patient advocacy communities. The working group provides input on findings about NIH HEAL Initiative research for consideration by the NIH Advisory Councils and NIH IC Directors on the NIH HEAL Initiative Executive Committee. The working group engages leaders in the private sector and academic research community, provides a transparent venue for stakeholders and members of the public to discuss NIH HEAL Initiative research, and facilitates exchange of scientific information about NIH HEAL Initiative programs.
The NIH HEAL Initiative Partnership Committee is a subgroup of the Multi-Disciplinary Working Group. It assists NIH in the development of new treatments for pain and addiction through NIH HEAL Initiative research. The committee generates defined products to assist NIH HEAL Initiative research. These products include preliminary recommendations on the design of a template application and evaluation dossier for biopharmaceutical and device-based treatments to be tested through the new Early Phase Pain Investigation Clinical Network (EPPIC-Net) as part of the NIH HEAL Initiative. Committee discussions are open to the public through videocast and public meetings. The committee’s preliminary findings are shared for consideration by the NIH HEAL Initiative Multi-Disciplinary Working Group.
The HEAL Community Partner Committee (HCPC) consists of members who have experience with pain conditions and/or opioid use disorder – including patients, advocates, patient liaisons, and/or family members of someone with these conditions.
Public Access and Data Sharing Policy
As part of its response to the national opioid public health crisis, NIH intends to maximize the availability of publications and the sharing of underlying data for NIH-supported NIH HEAL Initiative research projects. Given the urgency of this crisis, as highlighted by the declared public health emergency, rapid availability of publications and the primary data behind them will promote dissemination of new knowledge, enhance reproducibility, and accelerate the ability of researchers to build upon NIH HEAL Initiative research to make new discoveries. Read the full policy.