|Parent agency||National Institutes of Health|
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It supports and conducts research aimed at improving the health of children, adults, families, and communities, including:
The impetus for NICHD came from the Task Force on the Health and Well-Being of Children, convened in 1961 and led by Dr. Robert E. Cooke, a senior medical advisor to President John F. Kennedy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver also served on the task force, which reported that more research was needed on the physical, emotional, and intellectual growth of children.
The U.S. Congress established NICHD in 1962 as the first NIH institute to focus on the entire life process rather than on a specific disease or body system. NICHD became a funding source for research on birth defects and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), created a new pediatrics specialty, and established IDDs as a field of research. The institute also focused on the idea that adult health has its origins in early development and that behavior and social science were important aspects of human development.
On December 21, 2007, by act of Congress (Public Law 110-54), NICHD was renamed the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in honor of Mrs. Shriver's vision, dedication, and contributions to the founding of the institute.
The mission of NICHD is to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, and to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of all people through optimal rehabilitation.
NICHD's budget in 2015 was an estimated $1.3 billion, which supported research at institutions, universities, and organizations throughout the world, as well as research conducted by NICHD scientists on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, and at other facilities.
NICHD has made numerous contributions to improving the health of children, adults, families, and communities. Selected research advances from 2015 include improving the health of infants born preterm, encouraging healthy behaviors, and optimizing rehabilitation.
Additional accomplishments can be found on the NICHD website.