MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jan Blustein, MD PhD
Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
Wagner Graduate School and School of Medicine
New York University, New York
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s largest public funder of health research, provides annual reports about levels of funding for many diseases and conditions. These reports, issued as part of the NIH’s Research, Condition and Disease Categorization (RCDC) process, allow members of the public to track funding across key conditions and across time.
Hearing loss is not included among the reported conditions. This runs counter to two of the NIH’s stated goals, according to researcher Jan Blustein (M.D., Ph.D.), professor of health policy and medicine at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in a Research Letter in the May 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery.
“First, the NIH is committed to transparency about how it divides funds across diseases and conditions,” said Dr. Blustein. “Second, it has said that it will prioritize its funding to those conditions that cause the greatest disease burden.” Hearing loss causes great disease burden, ranking 10th in the U.S. among all conditions as a contributor to Disability Adjusted Life Years (a widely-used measure of disease burden), according to the World Health Organization.