The National Institutes of Health in its centennial year

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Science  21 Aug 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4817, pp. 869-874
DOI: 10.1126/science.3303331


The laboratory of which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a lineal descendant was founded in 1887. During discussions of our plans for a year-long centennial observance with members of our House and Senate appropriations subcommittees, congressional members urged us to set two specific objectives: making NIH better known to the American people, and presenting the attractions of the many roles in health-related research to young people who have not yet formulated career plans. When I was invited to prepare an article for Science dealing with my personal experiences as director of NIH since April 1982, it seemed an opportunity to address the same objectives for the scientific community, for in my view there is much misinformation and far too much pessimism throughout the country about the state of biomedical research and its support.