NIH Press Release
Office of the Director, NIH

Office of Behavioral
and Social Sciences Research

Thursday, September 30, 1999
Contact: Susan Persons
(301) 402-1146

NIH Establishes Five Mind-Body Research Centers

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $10 million in 1999 to fund five centers that will support research on mind-body interactions and health. The centers will focus on research that seeks to understand how beliefs, attitudes, values and stress affect physical and mental health. Research will also address how beliefs, attitudes, and values that affect health are developed, maintained, and changed.

A Congressional mandate directed the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) to lead efforts at the NIH to develop a mind-body initiative. Congress also specifically designated $10 million for this purpose to the OBSSR, an office that coordinates trans-NIH initiatives in the behavioral and social sciences. Twelve NIH institutes agreed to cosponsor the initiative. Five institutes--the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)--will support the five new centers.

The locations of the five centers are:

Numerous studies have documented that psychological stress is linked to a variety of health outcomes such as heart disease and immune system functioning. The research supported by the mind-body centers will lead to a better understanding of the nature of this relationship, including the underlying biological and psychosocial mechanisms.

"These new research centers represent innovations in the integration of behavioral, social, and biomedical research. It is hoped that the findings they produce will accelerate our understanding of mind/body interactions, and lead to more effective approaches for the treatment and prevention of disease," said Dr. Norman Anderson, Director of the OBSSR.

The OBSSR is located in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health, which leads Federal government initiatives for biomedical and behavioral research. The OBSSR website,, contains additional information about the office and its mission.