The National Institutes of Health: some critical years, 1955-1957

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Science  21 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4817, pp. 865-868
DOI: 10.1126/science.3303330


It has been my pleasure to participate in the conversion of a small but superb federal institution into a driving force for the development of excellence in the nation's biomedical sciences. The initial step was the establishment of an adequate science base for the developing enterprise. Given this, it was agreed that the nation's medical establishment could use the evolving support system effectively. What follows is a brief consideration of some events contributing to the reduction of a possibility to reality. Much of the material that follows was derived from a presentation to a presidential commission established by President Gerald Ford in 1975 and later published as a supplement to the Journal of Medical Education. The latter encompassed what happened during the critical years of development. But it seemed too recent at that time to discuss with grace the "how" of program changes. It is the "how of things" that will be treated in this article.