Yesterday, I received the following email from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mind-Body Week directors:
Dear Yoga Week Listserv, I am writing to inform you that the NIH has decided to cancel the proposed NIH Mind-Body Week (MBW), scheduled for Sept 8-11, 2009. Subsequent to initial discussions among planners about a MBW event, the NIH was given the enormous opportunity and attendant responsibility of funding an unprecedented $8.2 billion to support scientific research priorities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The period proposed for holding the MBW is exactly when much of the NIH will be focused on ensuring that all of the successful ARRA applicants receive their awards prior to the end of the NIH fiscal year on September 30, 2009. We appreciate your efforts in developing MBW and regret any inconvenience caused by the change in plans.
While it is disappointing that this much anticipated event is being cancelled for this year, it is also heartening to know that health research is being supported on such a large scale. The funding will go toward things like the financial support of grant-funded positions for students and educators, biomedical research and development, as well as research into effective public health initiatives and health care delivery.
This infusion of research funds has important implications for health care delivery and illness prevention efforts. For example, there are many great cancer prevention programs that have been created by our nation’s top academic researchers, and have been shown to be effective in their trials at a local level. However, they often don’t have the funding to develop these programs into packages that can easily be used by others (e.g., schools, hospitals, municipalities) on a national scale. Some of the NIH-designated ARRA funds will go toward the development of these important programs.