National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR)

NIH Partners

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training. NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients. In the area of rehabilitation, NCI is interested in research that addresses:

  • The management of acute and chronic as well as late morbidities associated with cancer. The impact of cancer and its treatment on a wide variety of patient outcomes, such as fatigue, neurocognitive impairments, neuropathies, sexual function, general physical functioning, is documented. However, because of the paucity of evidence-based interventions to prevent and manage these morbidities, NCI seeks studies aimed at addressing this understudied clinical area.
  • The role of pre-habilitation as well as post-treatment rehabilitation in improving functional outcomes among cancer survivors. The unique contribution of rehabilitative services to cancer patient and survivors' outcomes remains poorly understood. In addition, research is needed to test and evaluate the efficacy of different models of care delivery (timing, staffing, components, metrics for success) to determine the best way to integrate and deliver rehabilitative services across the cancer control continuum.

Program Official Contacts

Ann Omara -

Julia Rowland -

National Eye Institute (NEI)

The National Eye Institute (NEI) was established by Congress in 1968 to protect and prolong the vision of the American people. NEI research leads to sight-saving treatments, reduces visual impairment and blindness, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. NEI-supported research has also advanced our knowledge of how the visual system—from the eyes to the brain—works in health and disease.

In the area of rehabilitation, NEI is interested in research that addresses:

  • Assistive devices for individuals with visual impairment
  • Adaptive technologies and training specialized for low vision
  • New technologies (including prostheses) for restoring vision to the visually impaired
  • Rehabilitation strategies that address the special health problems and requirements of people with visual impairment

Program Official Contacts

Tom Greenwell -

Cheri Wiggs -

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides global leadership for research, training, and education to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives. The NHLBI stimulates discoveries involving the mechanisms, consequences, and therapy of disease, enables the translation of basic discoveries into clinical practice, fosters training and mentoring of emerging scientists and physicians, and communicates research advances to the public. In the area of rehabilitation, NHLBI is interested in research that addresses:

  • Strategies to increase participation in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs
  • Reduction of disparities in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation participation by women, minorities, the elderly, and low income individuals
  • Development of new models for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, including those incorporating telemedicine, fitness trackers, the Internet, and other novel technologies

Program Official Contact

Jerome Fleg -

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life. In the area of rehabilitation, NIA is interested in research that addresses:

  • Exercise
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pain management
  • Mobility
  • Gait
  • Robotics
  • Technology

Program Official Contact

Lyndon Jerry Joseph -

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. In the area of rehabilitation, NIAMS is interested in research that addresses:

  • Examining the impact of physical activity levels on bone health and fracture risk and developing and testing strategies to promote bone health through exercise and physical rehabilitation programs
  • Developing or modifying strategies, including preventive and rehabilitative approaches, to reduce the development of disability and functional limitation associated with OA onset and progression
  • Exploring rehabilitation and physical-therapy strategies to reduce risk for impairment from OA progression
  • Standardizing criteria for determining therapeutic effects of non-surgical interventions (such as drugs or rehabilitation strategies) to prevent or treat implant osteolysis
  • Developing and validating pre- and post-operative rehabilitation strategies, especially for hip and knee replacement
  • Applying physical medicine and rehabilitative strategies to soft-tissue injuries to restore maximal function
  • Determining types and levels of exercise effective for minimizing progression of specific diseases and promoting restoration of musculoskeletal function

Program Official Contact

Charles H. Washabaugh -

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

The mission of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. In the area of rehabilitation, NIBIB is interested in supporting the development new and novel methods and technologies that have broad diagnostic, therapeutic and interventional applications in diseases or health conditions that apply to rehabilitation. Topics may fit in several program areas of NIBIB. Particular areas of interests include:

  • Novel methods and technologies to interact with a patient, including neural interfaces, physical interfaces, and sensory interfaces
  • Novel sensors to monitor biomarkers of patient health and rehabilitation progress
  • Novel prostheses and orthoses to facilitate rehabilitation and restoration of function
  • Next generation computational models and intelligent methods for rehabilitation applications.

Program Official Contacts

Grace C.Y. Peng -

Michael Wolfson –

National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

The mission of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is to reduce the burden of human communication disorders on the public. NIDCD works to meet its mission by conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research and research training in its 7 scientific programs: hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. NIDCD has recently undertaken an update of the strategic plan which will be posted on NIDCD website when process is completed. The current plan may be used to guide applicants to the Institute's scientific priorities.

NIDCD is especially interested in:

  • Research to improve Hearing Healthcare (HHC)
  • Studies on the rehabilitation of neurologic communication disorders (aphasia, dysarthria and apraxia of speech)
  • Studies on neuromodulation in conjunction with behavioral therapy, for example, in management of tinnitus or in verbal expression
  • Research on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) in conjunction with Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) for communication

Program Official Contact

Lana Shekim -

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

The mission of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is to conduct and support medical research and research training and to disseminate science-based information on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases, to improve people's health and quality of life. In the area of rehabilitation, NIDDK is interested in research that addresses:

  • Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of bowel, bladder, and erectile dysfunction
  • Nutritional strategies to improve the quality of life for people with chronic kidney, gastrointestinal, endocrine and metabolic diseases
  • Improving the functional status of individuals with end-stage renal disease
  • Gait, muscle and peripheral nerve dysfunction secondary to diabetes
  • Improving function in individuals with foot deformities or amputations of their lower extremities from the complications of diabetes
  • The use of closed loop systems to compensate for the loss of beta cell function in type 1 diabetes

Program Official Contact

Teresa Jones -

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. In the area of rehabilitation, NINDS is interested in research that addresses:

  • Understanding the fundamental mechanisms and evidence for effectiveness of rehabilitation on progression, neural plasticity and recovery of function in animal models or human subjects with neurological disorders or disease, or following injury to the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nervous system
  • Research on the physiological mechanisms of environmental, socioeconomic, and demographic variables and disparities on effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions for individuals with neurological conditions
  • Research on the effective delivery and outcome assessment of rehabilitation interventions for individuals with neurological conditions across the lifespan and around the world
  • Precision based medicine research and identification of markers that inform mechanistic underpinnings and/or biological targets of action for neurorehabilitation therapies
  • Development and use of nervous system stimulation and recording devices and sensors that can detect responses or influence the activity of the nervous system for improved diagnosis and/or functional recovery
  • Approaches, tools and resources to improve the rigor and predictive power of preclinical, observational, and clinical studies in the area of neurorehabilitation
  • Exploratory and definitive clinical trials of rehabilitation interventions at the stage appropriate for the level of evidence and burden of disease or disability

Program Official Contacts

Daofen Chen -

Lyn Jakeman -

Pat Frost Bellgowan -

Scott Janis -

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

The mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is to promote and improve the health of individuals, families, and communities. The Institute supports and conducts clinical and basic research and research training on health and illness across the lifespan to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and improve palliative and end-of-life care. In the area of rehabilitation, NINR is interested in research that addresses:

  • Symptom and self-management strategies aimed at maintaining, improving, or restoring functional abilities and quality of life in individuals with functional impairments or disabilities resulting from injury, aging, or chronic illness
  • Role of modifiable lifestyle and health behaviors on risk for initial disability (prevention) or on re-occurrence of the disability
  • Informal caregiving of individuals with a disability
  • Biological and psychosocial mechanisms underlying inter-individual variation in response to rehabilitation interventions

Program Official Contact:

Lois Tully -

Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)

OBSSR's mission to encourage behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and the biomedical research enterprise. Over half of all U.S. deaths are attributed to behavioral and social factors including physical inactivity, poor diet, social networks, cognitive processes, and non-adherence to therapies and treatments—including rehabilitation. OBSSR comprises part of the NIH Director's Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives and thus is Congressionally precluded from the direct funding and management of funded projects. Instead, OBSSR disseminates behavioral and social sciences research findings; advices the NIH Director, NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs); Congress, other government agencies, the research community and the public on behavioral and social sciences in issues of health and wellbeing. The Office receives a Congressional appropriation that it makes available to NIH ICs upon an Institute's or Center's request, through a quarterly, competitive, intra-NIH process. In the area of rehabilitation, OBSSR is interested in research that:

  • Improves the synergy of basic through applied behavioral and social science research findings through projects that more precisely target individual and social mechanisms and processes that improve health and wellbeing
  • Enhances measures, methods, and data infrastructure that encourage a more cumulative and integrated approach to social and behavioral aspects of rehabilitation research
  • Facilitates the adoption of behavioral and social research findings in rehabilitation health research and practice

Program Official Contact

Bill Elwood –

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)

The mission of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population. In the area of rehabilitation research, ODS is interested in pre-clinical, clinical, behavioral and epidemiological studies that address topics including:

  • Role of dietary supplements in maintaining and improving health and preventing chronic disease in individuals with mobility or other rehabilitation medicine issues
  • Methods for assessing dietary supplement use by individuals with vision or hearing impairments or using assistive technologies
  • Safety of nutritional, herbal, or botanical dietary supplements used by individuals with disabilities or participating in rehabilitation medicine activities
  • Role of dietary supplements in meeting nutrient needs for optimal growth and health in children with mobility impairments or feeding difficulties

ODS has programs providing Administrative Supplements for appropriately-defined dietary supplement-related research carried out in the context of NIH-funded grants (, and a Research Scholars program for scientists working within the Intramural programs of various NIH Institutes and Centers ( (Note: Research whose primary aim is to evaluate use of supplements to treat a disease process or disease outcome without study of underlying biological mechanisms generally falls outside the scope of ODS support).

Program Official Contact

Abby Gwen Ershow –

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