History of ODP

The NIH established the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) to promote and coordinate prevention research among NIH Institutes and Centers and other public and private entities.


The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (PDF) mandates the position of Associate Director for Prevention (ADP). NIH creates the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) to support the ADP and the coordination of prevention research, creating the dual role of ADP and Director of the ODP.

The NIH Prevention Research Coordinating Committee (PRCC) is delegated to the ADP. The PRCC serves as an advisory body to the ADP and makes recommendations regarding scientific, programmatic, and policy issues.

The Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR) is transferred to the ODP. A key program in the OMAR is the Consensus Development Program (CDP), created in 1977 and designed to hold conferences and produce consensus statements on important and controversial topics in medicine. Consensus conferences had major influence on public health practice in areas like breast cancer screening, knee replacement surgery, and the use of prenatal steroids for prevention of premature birth.


The Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC) is established in the ODP to advise the NIH Director and others on nutrition research issues and to work with the NIH to coordinate nutrition research and research training initiatives.


The ODP helped originate the Women’s Health Initiative.


The Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) is established in the ODP to serve as the federal focal point for rare disease biomedical research.

The ODP produced the NIH Implementation Plan for Health and Behavior Research for Congress that preceded the creation of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.


The DNRC transfers to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).


In response to a directive in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is established in the ODP to promote scientific research in the area of dietary supplements.

The Robert S. Gordon, Jr. Lecture in Epidemiology is established to recognize scientists who have contributed significantly to the field of epidemiology or clinical trials research.


The ORD is codified in statute by the Rare Diseases Act of 2002 (PDF), which gives the Office the ability to recommend a national research agenda, coordinate research, and provide educational activities for researchers.

The ODP develops Medicine in the Media, an annual course designed to help develop journalists’ and editors’ abilities to evaluate and report on medical research.


The ODP establishes the Medicine: Mind the Gap Seminar Series (now named the Methods: Mind the Gap webinar series) to explore issues at the intersection of research, evidence, and clinical practice areas in which conventional wisdom may be contradicted by recent evidence.


The ODP is transferred to the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), which was established to meet the requirements of the NIH Reform Act of 2006. The ORD is renamed the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR).


The OMAR combines its activities, staff, and resources with the ODP.

The ODP hosts its first Pathways to Prevention workshop. These workshops are designed to identify methodological and scientific weaknesses in a scientific area and move the field forward through an unbiased and evidence-based assessment of a complex clinical issue.


The ODP retires the CDP and the Medicine in the Media course.

The Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) is transferred to the ODP. TRSP is a trans-NIH collaborative effort with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products to conduct research to support FDA’s regulatory authority for tobacco products.


The ODP releases its first Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014–2018 to strengthen existing programs and develop new initiatives to advance prevention research at the NIH. The plan represented an important shift in the core functions of the Office.


To improve the quality of prevention research at the NIH, the ODP launches the Prevention Research Expertise Survey to help identify experts in prevention science methods for NIH scientific review panels.

The ODP changes the focus of the Methods: Mind the Gap webinar series to research design, measurement, intervention, data analysis, and other methods in prevention science.


To address unmet prevention research needs, the ODP creates five new Prevention Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs). The Prevention SIGs focus on areas where there are no existing collaborative trans-NIH or federal groups.

The ODP releases Pragmatic and Group-Randomized Trials in Public Health and Medicine, an online course to help researchers design and analyze group-randomized trials.


To recognize the contributions of early-career prevention scientists who have not yet received a substantial NIH research award, the ODP establishes and hosts its first annual ODP Early-Stage Investigator Lecture.

The ODP helps the NIH develop the Research Methods Resources website, which provides information on the design and analysis of trials that randomize groups or deliver interventions to groups.


The ODP releases its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2019–2023, which builds upon prevention-related resources, tools, and initiatives developed across the ODP.


The ODS is separated from the ODP and established as an independent office in DPCPSI to promote scientific research in the area of dietary supplements.


The ODP celebrates its 35th anniversary, highlighting the work accomplished during three-and-a-half decades of putting prevention research first and sharing a vision for the future of prevention research at NIH.

Last updated on