NIH publishes online their estimates of funding for various diseases, conditions, and research areas. Although the amount spent on “prevention” declined overall from $7.185 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2004 to $6.739 billion in FY 2009, this includes all NIH institutes, so it is impossible to say to what extent this applies to prevention of MEB disorders among young people (see http://www.nih.gov/news/fundingresearchareas.htm). Determining federal research funding for prevention in this area is also complicated by the current system for categorizing and reporting grants, which lacks a common definition of prevention. This situation exists despite a definition of prevention accepted by the NIH Prevention Research Coordinating Committee,2 updated in 2007.
NIH is nearing the end of a project to establish an NIH-wide system for coding funded projects, the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system.3 This system has been developed in response to a requirement that was added to the NIH Reauthorization Act in 2006. It will be able to produce a complete annual list of all NIH-funded projects related to each of 360 categories, including prevention, using standard definitions that will be used across all NIH centers and institutes. Projects will be coded for all applicable categories to allow for funding information to be searched and cross-referenced by multiple categories. The first funding report is expected to be available on a public website in spring 2009 for project funding in FY 2008, and it will not be applied retroactively to previous years. Once in place, this new system should improve the availability of consistent, accurate information on NIH funding for the prevention of MEB disorders. It is unclear, however, how prevention will be defined for the RCDC system.
Furthermore, there are no plans for the RCDC system to provide linkage to financial data, limiting opportunities to quantify the federal investment in prevention research.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) are the NIH institutes with direct responsibility for research related to prevention of MEB disorders, and they are a significant source of funding for intervention research. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) also plays a critical role