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ADEA Statement on Actions of House Appropriations Labor, Health & Human Services, & Edu. & Related Agencies Subcommittee
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Statement of the American Dental Education Association on the Actions of the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee July 9, 2024 

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) strongly opposes the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee recommendation of June 27, 2024 to restructure the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in line with a Committee on Energy and Commerce “Reforming the National Institutes of Health: Framework for Discussion” released on June 24, 2024, including the elimination of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and consolidating its operations into a newly created unrelated institute. 

NIDCR was created by Congress and President Harry S. Truman in 1948 in response to the epidemic of tooth decay in the United States that disqualified many people who had poor oral health from military service, thus adversely affecting the nation’s readiness for World War II. The effect of oral health on the readiness of the U.S. fighting force goes back to the Civil War and continues to this day. 

In the succeeding years, the NIDCR, which just celebrated its 75th anniversary, has become the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on dental, oral and craniofacial health and disease. Its mission is to improve health through research and research training, and to share research findings with the public to help prevent, detect early and treat diseases. 

The Subcommittee’s actions are not consistent with fostering a thoughtful, collaborative and deliberate discussion of the issues raised in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s paper, especially since the authorizing committee invited comments to be submitted in August 2024. 

ADEA supports academic and scientific research that helps to advance safe and effective oral health care and improves the development and delivery of oral health education. ADEA’s commitment to research aligns with its mission “To develop an inclusive, future-ready oral health workforce prepared to improve the health of all people and communities through leadership, education, and collaboration.” 

ADEA urges the full Committee on Appropriations and the House of Representatives to reject the Subcommittee’s recommendation and restore the current NIH structure so a discussion can be had without prejudice.

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