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Please Share Your Thoughts on the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)

Director’s Page
Helene M. Langevin, M.D.

July 23, 2021

Today, I’d like to tell you about a thrilling new idea and invite you to share your perspectives on it.

We learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that biomedical research can do things that seem impossible—like developing effective vaccines for a brand-new disease in less than a year. What if we had an established framework within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) specifically designed to foster these types of groundbreaking discoveries? What more could the research community accomplish?

This is what ARPA-H—the proposed new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health—is all about. Much like its inspiration, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARPA-H would champion bold, innovative ideas. It would focus on high-risk, high-reward projects that solve practical problems and lead to breakthroughs in health and medicine. It would work to eliminate barriers and accelerate research at levels ranging from the molecular to the societal, and it would strive to get new discoveries to patients and communities with unprecedented speed.

If you find this idea as exciting as I do, you may want to learn more about it. The ARPA-H website is a great place to start. For more details, I recommend the recent commentary in Science by Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH, and other leaders. You might also like this article in Forbes in which Dr. Collins discusses ARPA-H’s vision and goals.

Opportunities for You To Comment

ARPA-H is seeking stakeholder input, and I urge you to share your ideas. If you have a knack for thinking outside the box about complementary and integrative health research, ARPA-H wants to hear from you.

There are two opportunities for you to share your thoughts:

  • You can join a listening session on Tuesday, August 3 from noon to 1:15 p.m. ET. This session will focus on complementary and integrative health as well as several other topics, and all stakeholders are welcome to participate. There are also listening sessions on other topics that may interest you, depending on the focus of your research.
  • You can submit written comments to Some questions that you might want to consider:
    • Which scientific and research opportunities could be catalyzed by a fundamentally different approach to funding and could rapidly change or save lives, and/or reduce health disparities? What opportunities are ripe to be leveraged? What tools, technologies, or processes might be game-changing?
    • What significant systemic gaps in the research and development enterprise are slowing or impeding progress? 
    • What are the challenges in advancing research through to commercialization, implementation, and dissemination?
    • Based on your organization’s experience, are there partnership strategies or collaboration strategies that should be incorporated into the overall ARPA-H design? 
    • What other ideas, suggestions, or concerns could help with the planning of ARPA-H?

I hope that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity. ARPA-H could drive unprecedented innovation, and you have the chance to consider and suggest how complementary and integrative health research may fit into this transformative effort. Please attend the August 3 listening session to learn more:

Listening Session 6: Advocates for Research on Diabetes, Digestive Disorders and Kidney Disease, Child and Maternal Health, and Complementary and Integrative Medicine
August 3, 2021
12:00-1:15 p.m. ET

Helene M. Langevin, M.D.
Helene M. Langevin, M.D.