Today, I’m pleased to tell you about an exciting new direction at NCCIH for advancing our prevention research portfolio.
One of the objectives in both NIH’s and NCCIH’s current strategic plans is to “foster health promotion and disease prevention.” At the Center, we pursue this objective by seeking to build knowledge of how complementary approaches could be useful across the life span to encourage better self-care, a healthy lifestyle, and the sense of well-being. Wellness, according to surveys, is a major reason that people turn to complementary approaches.
An aspect of this topic on which there is widespread interest, yet a lack of fundamental scientific knowledge, is emotional well-being. What is meant by that term? According to one report, it’s “an overall positive state of a person’s emotions, life satisfactions, sense of meaning and purpose, and ability to pursue self-defined goals. [The] elements include a sense of balance in emotion, thoughts, social relationships, and pursuits.” These constructs and their relative importance can vary across different population subgroups and stages of life.
As part of NCCIH’s initial exploration of this topic, we cosponsored, with the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, a roundtable meeting in April 2018. Our planning partners were four other components of NIH (NIA, NICHD, NIDA, and NIMH), and our cochairs were two leading experts, Dr. Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Dr. Bruce McEwen of the Rockefeller University. You may find the meeting report—just posted!—of interest. Participants discussed the state of the science, identified research opportunities and gaps for NIH’s consideration, and proposed a strategy for moving the field forward (e.g., a trans-NIH research program has been created). Ten current, successful models of programs fostering resilience were examined.
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