Why is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) refreshing its Strategic Vision?

The NHLBI is refreshing its Strategic Vision to ensure it addresses emerging scientific opportunities in accordance with new National Institutes of Health (NIH) strategic plan requirements.

By design, the NHLBI Strategic Vision is dynamic, reflecting input from partners who are at the leading edge of scientific exploration and from communities with a vested interest. The NHLBI harnessed community-level participation as part of updating the Strategic Vision.

What is the focus of the Strategic Vision refresh?

For the refresh of the Strategic Vision, the NHLBI invited input on the current relevance of the NHLBI strategic objectives and is considering whether additional compelling questions (CQs) and critical challenges (CCs) are needed to address topics that have surfaced as priorities over the past five years to drive important scientific and health advances.

CQs are unanswered questions or poorly understood areas of research requiring NHLBI facilitation because their complexity exceeds the capacity of any one investigator-initiated program.

CCs are barriers or impediments to scientific progress, and overcoming these obstacles will result in significant impact.

The NHLBI Strategic Vision is inclusive of a broad portfolio of scientific ideas spanning from basic science through implementation sciences. This refresh will adhere to the NHLBI’s commitment to scientific stewardship and accountability.

The NHLBI sought input on novel research needs and approaches in six focus areas:

  • Harnessing data science and new technologies to drive scientific discovery and precision health.
  • Using novel approaches for addressing health disparities and tackling their biological underpinnings for heart, lung, blood diseases, and sleep disorders.
  • Leveraging the power of community and patient engagement.
  • Furthering the science on the importance of lifestyle behaviors.
  • Supporting women’s health through the lifespan.
  • Addressing and reducing the impact of “place” (geography, climate, rural/urban, neighborhood) on heart, lung, blood, and sleep health.

How was input for the Strategic Vision refresh provided? 

The NHLBI sought input from constituents — including scientists, medical professionals, policymakers, patients and patient advocates, and professional groups — through an engagement period in fall 2023, which featured a series of webinars, a request for information (RFI), and significant outreach online and at scientific and professional meetings.

What else will be included in the updated Strategic Vision?

In addition to feedback from the NHLBI’s diverse partners through the RFI process, discussions from meetings, past presentations, and other communications materials will be reviewed and considered as part of the refresh.

Through this input process, the refreshed Strategic Vision will reflect the community’s best ideas while keeping the NHLBI’s strategic research priorities adaptable to scientific advancements and opportunities.

What remains current in the Strategic Vision?

The NHLBI’s Strategic Vision is evergreen in that its four goals and eight objectives that were identified in 2016 remain current.

Four strategic goals:

  1. Understand Human Biology
  2. Reduce Human Disease
  3. Advance Translational Research
  4. Develop Workforce and Resources

Eight strategic objectives:

  1. Understand normal biological function and resilience.
  2. Investigate newly discovered pathobiological mechanisms important to the onset and progression of heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.
  3. Investigate factors that account for differences in health among populations.
  4. Identify factors that account for individual differences in pathobiology and in response to treatments.
  5. Develop and optimize novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to prevent, treat, and cure heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.
  6. Optimize clinical and implementation research to improve health and reduce disease.
  7. Leverage emerging opportunities in data science to open new frontiers in research for heart, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.
  8. Further develop, diversify, and sustain a scientific workforce capable of accomplishing the NHLBI’s mission.

When will the refreshed Strategic Vision be published?

The NHLBI will publish a refreshed Strategic Vision in Summer 2024. It will be available on the NHLBI website and promoted to the community by the NHLBI and its partners.

Where can I learn more about the NHLBI’s Strategic Vision?

To download a copy of the 2016 Strategic Vision, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/strategic-vision.

To learn more about the Strategic Vision refresh, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/VisionRefresh.

Who should I contact with questions about the NHLBI Strategic Vision?

If you have questions about the NHLBI Strategic Vision refresh, please email nhlbiinfo@nhlbi.gov.