National Institute of Nursing Research Strategic Plan

The following letter was sent to the National Institute of Nursing Research in response to the call for public comments on the draft of its strategic plan.

March 22, 2016

Dr. Patricia A. Grady
Director National Institute of Nursing Research National Institute of Nursing Research National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive, Room 5B10
Bethesda, MD 20892-2178

Dear Dr. Grady:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the National Institute of Nursing Research’s draft strategic plan. As an organization representing more than 10,000 psychiatric-mental health nurses, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) urges NINR to incorporate research that targets symptom science, wellness, or self-management in individuals with named mental illnesses or substance use disorders into its new strategic plan. Adding mental health and substance use disorders to the NINR portfolio will expand nursing expertise across settings and enhance the NINR definition of wellness.

APNA stands with the World Health Organization that “there is no health without mental health.” With one in five adults experiencing a mental health disorder in the US each year, making research that targets symptom science, wellness, or self-management in individuals with named mental illnesses or substance use disorders a priority is congruent with NINR’s mission to promote and improve the health and quality of life of individuals, families, and communities.

APNA offers the following comments for consideration:

  • The NINR goal of achieving wellness by understanding the physical, behavioral, and environmental causes of illness requires that mental health be considered as an element of whole-person health. Fully realizing the NINR definition of wellness requires an infusion of mental health and addictions science;
  • NINR is committed to discovering new strategies to reduce chronic, comorbid conditions. Combined mental and physical health threats constitute the most common comorbid conditions; 68 percent of adults with a mental disorder report at least one co-morbid physical health condition and 29 percent of adults with a medical disorder have a comorbid mental illness. Expanding the NINR portfolio to include proposals where mental health and addiction disorders are primary conditions adds scientific and clinical behavioral health expertise that has been virtually untapped by NINR;
  • The training of nurse scientists is especially critical to the care of person with mental illnesses and addictions. The support of NINR is needed to maintain a strong workforce of psychiatric-mental health and addictions nurse scientists.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment.

Be Safe,

Nicholas Croce Jr., MS
Executive Director

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.