(As of 2005)
The National Institutes of Health was created on January 26, 1996 by the UP Board of Regents as an institutional home of a network of various research and extension units specializing in health and socio-biomedical concerns. This thrust is consistent with the country's vision of "Health for All".
Established on February 13, 1998 through the Health Research and Development Act (RA 8503), the National Institutes of Health envisions itself to be the country's recognized authority on health research and development and be the key source of critical health information for national development in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The mission to be a major resource center for health research and capacity building is pursued using the framework of "Partnership for Better Health" (cited from National Institutes of Health Brochure, 1999), and more specifically through the following:
- Influence policy makers in the enactment of health laws, policies and guidelines which improve delivery of quality health programs
- Provide health organizations relevant health research and development and improve their health service delivery
- Contribute to the enhancement of medical knowledge and improve the practices of health care professionals
- Develop the capabilities of health researchers and health research institutions
- Promote the health awareness and improve the health-seeking behaviour of the Filipino people
- Spearhead the research on essential national health issues and concerns
- Lead in the formulation of national health research agenda
- Become a recognized authority in health research and development
The NIH, while considered a unit of the University of the Philippines Manila, has its own Board of Advisers that recommends the general direction, determines priorities and thrusts of the organization, and generates resources in support of the programs and component units.
The Board of Advisers is composed of the Department of Health Secretary, Chancellor of UP Manila, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), the Executive Director of NIH, and 2 other recognized scholars appointed by the UP Board of Regents.
Currently, NIH has various research institutes and active study groups that continue to develop and produce outputs that serve as vital guideposts in shaping national programs and policies.
Table 1. List of NIH Institutes and Active Study Groups
The institutes and study groups identify health research and knowledge translation priorities based on:
- a growing understanding of the multi-factorial nature of health problems and opportunities for health enhancement;
- the involvement and recognition of, and respect for the contributions of health researchers from all research disciplines and of researchers from outside traditional health research areas;
- the involvement and coordination of a wide range of partners from all relevant sectors and other countries;
- the development, attraction and retention of the best possible health researchers;
- the creation of knowledge based on health research that meets the highest international standards of excellence and ethics; and
- the application of that knowledge to the development and implementation of innovative policy and practice.
The NIH also created active committees that complement the activities of the institutes and study groups. These committees provide specialized assistance and offer recommendations to the NIH Executive Director on areas such as institutional animal care and use, institutional promotion, research capacity building/strengthening, management of facilities and staff development.
Table 2. List of NIH Committees and UPM-NIH Committees
The organization also works closely and in partnership with the following UP Manila committees in the conduct of its research activities:
The Committee is tasked to provide recommendations for safety in matters pertaining to the control of hazards associated with the use of microbial agents, their vectors and potentially hazardous human material. Its functions are to:
- Provide technical advice, assistance and recommend policies regarding biological safety;
- Recommend procedures for approving operations involving microbiological agents and their vectors that require appropriate containment for biological safety;
- Recommend procedures for approving operations involving the use of human blood, blood components, blood products, human body fluids, human tissues, human cells and human organs;
- Review report on accidents and incidents resulting in personnel exposures to potentially hazardous microorganisms or potentially hazardous materials, reports of non-compliance with established International Regulations, Guidelines and Policies regarding the safe conduct of research involving the use of the aforementioned items;
- Review and comment on Biological Safety and Human Materials protocol;
- Coordinate with NIH Committees in the evaluation of biological hazards.
Intellectual Property Rights Committee:
The Committee is tasked to oversee:
- Compliance with UP policies pertaining to intellectual property rights, including those related to research and technology transfer and the commercialization of technologies and ideas arising in the course of university research;
- Negotiations of intellectual property agreements with industry;
- Protecting the rights of the individual, university, community, the nation and humanity.
Ethics Review Board:
The Board is tasked to:
- Set policies and guidelines pertaining to ethical review of research proposals;
- Act on appeals within a prescribed time;
- Serve as a consultative body;
- Form college-institute cluster-based ethics review committees;
- Conduct training on ethics in research;
- Coordinate with the National Ethics Committee and other higher bodies; and,
- Set criteria for ethical review and approval of research proposals.
Technical Review Board:
The Board is tasked to:
- Evaluate all research proposals and technical reports submitted to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research;
- Coordinate with existing college technical review committees in facilitating the conduct of research within the UP Manila;
- Recommend awarding of research grants to worthy proposals;
- Monitor and evaluate all approved researches;
- Facilitate institutional endorsement of research proposals and reports to other institutions; and
- Provide technical advise to the Vice Chancellor for Research and the Executive Director of NIH on research directions and special initiatives of UP Manila.
Health Research Information Committee:
The Committee is responsible for advocating, creating, and maintaining comprehensive high quality public health information systems that integrate vital records registration, public health statistics, and other health information. The Committee is also tasked to:
- Gather available research grants (local and international);
- Gather fellowships, information and trainings;
- Review and update the NIH Research Proposal Format; and,
- Review and edit yearly the NIH Annual Reports.
Research Dissemination and Utilization Committee:
The Committee is tasked to:
- Be in charge of coordinating and integrating research activities within the University;
- Manage and review how research outputs can be utilized and disseminated in a timely, high quality fashion and ensuring maximum impact;
- Oversee and implement the monthly research forum; and
- Coordinate with the Institutional Promotion Committee to disseminate information through various media channels.
Resource Generation and External Linkages for Research Committee:
The Committee is tasked to:
- Promote NIH vision and activities to the public in general and organizations in particular for funding purposes;
- Come up with ways on how to encourage organizations/ individuals to be "Partners of NIH"; and,
- Come up with fund-raising activities.
UP Manila Research Executive Committee:
- The Research Executive Committee is a University committee, which aims to:
- Promote and coordinate health-related and other research activities;
- Develop and strengthen links with other units and institutions within the University
- Determines the needs of the faculty and other researchers;
- Analyzes services, policies, and procedures that affect research; and
- Makes recommendations which, in its view, will facilitate the research process and research productivity at the University.
The National Institutes of Health of the University of the Philippines Manila is composed of the following Institutes:
- Institute on Aging
- Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
- Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- Institute of Clinical Epidemiology
- Institute of Health Policy and Development Studies
- Institute of Herbal Medicine
- Institute of Human Genetics
- Institute of Opthalmology
- Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Philippine National Ear Institute
The resources of the National Institutes of Health include its various institutes dealing with molecular and biological analysis (IBMB and IHG), epidemiology and policy (ICE and IHPDS), and special fields of interest (ICE, IO, IPS, NTC and PNEI).
There are also various research study groups that are dealing with special fields of interest, such as Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Medical Bioengineering, Medical Informatics, Infectious Diseases, Aging and Geriatric Health, Nutrition and others.
Nearly all of these institutes and study groups are dependent on external funding for most of their major projects, with some assistance from the university in the form of research grants, and administrative support. These groups have their own research agenda that would vary across disciplines and in terms of priority. It is difficult to focus on just one particular field of study, considering the varied interests of the people in the university.
One important role of the university in research is its capacity to carry our many of the researches of the various government agencies and private sectors through its linkages. The Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, and the Commission on Higher Education are in partnership with many of the faculty and institutions in the university for commissioned or collaborative research.
The private sector, mainly the pharmaceutical industry, come to the university for the conduct or analysis of its research needs. There is a need to improve some aspects of health management in the university and its component units (such as the Philippine General Hospital), including institutional and ethical review, facilitating laboratory services and fund management.
Strengths of the Institutes
- Skilled faculty doing the research
- Research training availability
- Research agenda formulated
- Recognition as Center of Excellence/Influence/Policy
- Multidisciplinary nature and approach
- Access to patients
- Community-based/oriented programs
- Research management available
- Research as a requirement in degree programs
- Committee on research implementation and development/Ethics boards
- Recognition for outstanding researches
- Regular funding present
- Internet connectivity
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