National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: 50 Years of Advancing Science and Improving Lung Health

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016 Nov 15;194(10):1190-1195. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201608-1645PP.


The American Thoracic Society celebrates the 50th anniversary of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The NIEHS has had enormous impact through its focus on research, training, and translational science on lung health. It has been an advocate for clean air both in the United States and across the world. The cutting-edge science funded by the NIEHS has led to major discoveries that have broadened our understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment for lung disease. Importantly, the NIEHS has developed and fostered mechanisms that require cross-cutting science across the spectrum of areas of inquiry, bringing together environmental and social scientists with clinicians to bring their expertise on specific areas of investigation. The intramural program of the NIEHS nurtures cutting-edge science, and the extramural program encourages investigator-initiated research while at the same time providing broader direction through important initiatives. Under the umbrella of the NIEHS and guided by Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the director of the NIEHS, important collaborative programs, such as the Superfund Program and the National Toxicology Program, work to discover mechanisms to protect from environmental toxins. The American Thoracic Society has overlapping goals with the NIEHS, and the strategic plans of both august bodies converge to synergize on population lung health. These bonds must be tightened and highlighted as we work toward our common goals.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Health / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (U.S.)*
  • Translational Research, Biomedical
  • United States