“The Congress makes the following findings:
Basic research in imaging, bioengineering, computer science, informatics, and related fields is critical to improving health care but is fundamentally different from the research in molecular biology on which the current national research institutes
at the National Institutes of Health
(‘NIH’) are based. To ensure the development of new techniques and technologies for the 21st century, these disciplines therefore require an identity and research home at the NIH that is independent of the existing institute structure.
Advances based on medical research promise new, more effective treatments for a wide variety of diseases, but the development of new, noninvasive imaging techniques for earlier detection and diagnosis of disease is essential to take full advantage of such new treatments and to promote the general improvement of health care.
The development of advanced genetic and molecular imaging techniques is necessary to continue the current rapid pace of discovery in molecular biology.
Advances in telemedicine, and teleradiology in particular, are increasingly important in the delivery of high quality, reliable medical care to rural citizens and other underserved populations. To fulfill the promise of telemedicine and related technologies fully, a structure is needed at the NIH to support basic research focused on the acquisition, transmission, processing, and optimal display of images.
A number of Federal departments and agencies support imaging and engineering research with potential medical applications, but a central coordinating body, preferably housed at the NIH, is needed to coordinate these disparate efforts and facilitate the transfer of technologies with medical applications.
Several breakthrough imaging technologies, including magnetic resonance imaging (‘MRI’) and computed tomography (‘CT’), have been developed primarily abroad, in large part because of the absence of a home at the NIH for basic research in imaging and related fields. The establishment of a central focus for imaging and bioengineering research at the NIH would promote both scientific advance and United States economic development.
At a time when a consensus exists to add significant resources to the NIH in coming years, it is appropriate to modernize the structure of the NIH to ensure that research dollars are expended more effectively and efficiently and that the fields of medical science that have contributed the most to the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease in recent years receive appropriate emphasis.
The establishment of a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the NIH would accelerate the development of new technologies with clinical and research applications, improve coordination and efficiency at the NIH and throughout the Federal Government, reduce duplication and waste, lay the foundation for a new medical information age, promote economic development, and provide a structure to train the young researchers who will make the pathbreaking discoveries of the next century.”