The House on September 27 approved, by voice vote, a bill (H.R. 1795) to establish a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sponsored by Reps. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) is the sponsor of companion legislation (S. 1110).
During a subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1795 two weeks ago, proponents of the legislation said it was necessary because of the current organizational structure at the NIH—only institutes can allocate resources to specific fields of research (see The Source, 9/15/00, p. 7).
“The lack of dedicated research effort in our country has forced the greatest country in the world really to be relying on other countries for breakthroughs in medical imaging and bioengineering. And that really is the basis and the intent of the bill to change this,” stated Rep. Eshoo.
Rep. Burr agreed, saying, “When we talk about the issue of biomedical imaging, we need to look at ways to detect at an earlier stage breast cancer and many other terminal and chronic illnesses.”