The Director of the Institute shall, after consultation with the advisory council for the Institute, provide for the development, modernization, and operation (including care required for research) of new and existing centers for studies of disorders of hearing and other communication processes. For purposes of this section, the term “modernization” means the alteration, remodeling, improvement, expansion, and repair of existing buildings and the provision of equipment for such buildings to the extent necessary to make them suitable for use as centers described in the preceding sentence.
A center may use funds provided under subsection (a) to provide stipends for health professionals enrolled in training programs described in subsection (c)(2).
The Director of the Institute shall, to the extent practicable, provide for an equitable geographical distribution of centers assisted under this section. The Director shall give appropriate consideration to the need for centers especially suited to meeting the needs of the elderly, and of children (particularly with respect to their education and training), affected by disorders of hearing or other communication processes.
Support of a center under this section may be for a period not to exceed seven years. Such period may be extended by the Director of the Institute for one or more additional periods of not more than five years if the operations of such center have been reviewed by an appropriate technical and scientific peer review group established by the Director, with the advice of the Institute’s advisory council, if such group has recommended to the Director that such period should be extended.