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Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem
and career development programs. Over the last 10 years, through requests for applications (RFAs) and program announcements (PAs), members of the coordinating committee have cosponsored 16 out of the 18 research project grant initiatives (Appendix F). This has the advantage of spreading out the costs of an initiative over multiple institutes, thus being able to support greater investment. However, as will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter, recently the coordinating committee has not taken a proactive role in developing new research programs.
National Center on Sleep Disorders Research
In direct response to the 1993 report of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, Wake Up America: A National Sleep Alert, a provision of the NIH Revitalization Act instructed the Director of the NIH and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to establish the NCSDR. As described in the congressional language, the mission of the NCSDR is to “conduct and support of biomedical and related research and research training, the dissemination of health information, and the conduct of other programs with respect to various sleep disorders, the basic understanding of sleep, biological and circadian rhythm research, chronobiology and other sleep related research” (U.S. Congress, Senate, 1993). As mandated by Congress the NCSDR has the authority:
for the conduct and support of research, training, health information dissemination, and other activities with respect to sleep disorders, including biological and circadian rhythm research, basic understanding of sleep, chronobiological and other sleep-related research; and
to coordinate the activities of the NCSDR with similar activities of other federal agencies, including the other agencies of the NIH, and similar activities of other public entities and nonprofit entities. (See Appendix D for complete congressional language.)
The NCSDR establishment within the NHLBI allowed it to call upon the existing successful programs at the NHLBI in sleep-disordered breathing as well as the NHLBI’s expertise in public education programs. It was realized at the inception of the NCSDR that there was a major need to educate both public and health care professionals about sleep and sleep disorders. Because many NIH institutes have a strong interest in somnology and sleep disorders research and fund portfolios of grants in this area, it was not envisioned that all funding for sleep-related programs would be done through the NCSDR. Rather, the NCSDR would facilitate development of research and training programs in areas of identified need. In addition, it would be a center that facilitated and coordinated research across