Better health through better partnerships
“The NIH HEAL Initiative is unlike anything that I’ve seen before,” said U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “Unfortunately, far too often in medicine and in science, we operate in silos …. My motto is ‘better health through better partnerships,’ and I couldn’t think of a better example of that than the HEAL Initiative.”
Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said, “This opioid epidemic has led to a much higher level of collaboration across federal agencies, as well as state and local health departments. The HEAL effort is really going to help by inspiring researchers, supporting them, and bringing them into this collaboration in a meaningful way to generate new data and new ideas. This will be very good for patients.”
Meanwhile, collaborations with health systems and with NIH’s sister agencies, the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will ensure that research findings eventually become new treatments for pain and addiction.
HEAL investigators and leaders are optimistic that the initiative will be able to reverse the course of the opioid crisis.
“In the long run, I think that the answer to addiction is replacement of opioids,” said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “And that is going to take a lot of work. But if the NIH HEAL Initiative is super successful, we’re going to come up with new pain treatments for people, eliminating the need for opioids. And that gets us on the road of never getting into this crisis again.”