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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CPDD 2011 Annual Meeting Public Policy Forum Part 3: Discussion of NIDA/NIAAA Merger

The last presentation at the CPDD 2011 Public Policy Forum held Sunday June 19 focused on the proposed structural merger of NIDA and NIAAA into a new entity.  Dr. David Shurtleff, NIDA Acting Deputy Director and Dr. Susan Weiss, Acting Director of the NIDA Office of Science Policy and Communications, led the discussion.

Dr. Shurtleff announced that the NIH Director, Dr. Collins, has instituted a delay in the merger process.  The projected time frame for opening of the new Institute, which may be called the National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders (NISUAD), is October 1, 2013 (Fiscal Year 2014).

Dr. Shurtleff provided a more detailed time line indicating that between now and the Fall of 2012, there will be a complete portfolio analysis and development of an integration plan. During this period, leadership groups overseeing integration will be seeking feedback from stakeholders.

In Fall of 2012, Portfolio Integration and Scientific Strategic Plans will be released followed by public comment periods.  Final recommendations will be made to NIH Director Collins in December 2012, implementation of Scientific Strategic Plan elements not dependent on reorganization will begin in January/February 2013, and the National Institute of Substance Use and Addiction Disorders will begin operating in October 2013.

Drs. Shurtleff and Weiss both noted that scientific portfolio locating decisions will be guided by scientific principles, and indicated that there has been a reassurance that scientific funding won’t change, even though Institute assignments may change.

Dr. Shurtleff referred CPDD members and others wanting to comment on the process to the NIH website soliciting feedback on the merger.

A lively discussion followed the presentation during which a CPDD member asked what would happen in terms of interactions between CPDD and the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA).

Dr. Martin Adler, CPDD Executive Officer, responded by saying that while no one likes change, it is counterproductive if the 2 societies don’t work together.  He reported that CPDD and RSA are collaborating more than in past. He also noted that the RSA and CPDD websites are directly linked and that the CPDD website now is linked to NIAAA.  Dr. Adler indicated that CPDD’s primary concern with the merger is the lack of involvement in the planning stages, and that CPDD hopes to have more of a say before the final chapter is written.

A review of Part 1 of the Public Policy Forum, Update from the Hill and Friends of NIDA, can be found here.

CPDDBLOG welcomes CPDD member’s thoughts on this issue.

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