Earlier this year, U.S. President Biden requested $6.5 billion to create a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) that would accelerate biomedical innovation and adoption of technologies and approaches to revolutionize healthcare and medicine. ARPA-H would be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is inspired by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program that has “driven breakthrough advances for the Department of Defense for more than 60 years.”
This is an incredible opportunity to transform health in the United States. But to be successful, and to address health equity, we believe ARPA-H must take an integrative approach that looks at the total lived experience and upstream drivers of health — and should not just focus on disease. We’ve been making our voice, as well as our support for ARPA-H, heard.
In August, Nova Institute President and Founder Brian Berman was selected to be one of a few stakeholders to present during NIH’s ARPA-H listening sessions — view the video here (Professor Berman’s remarks begin around the 42 minute mark).
We also responded to an opinion piece about ARPA-H published in Science magazine with our own letter, published on our website and online (authored by Professor Berman as well as Nova Institute Scholars Susan Prescott and Steve Woolf).
We agree wholeheartedly with common themes echoed throughout the ARPA-H listening sessions, such as the need for better, more integrated data, the imperative to reduce or eliminate health inequities, and the potential for novel advances catalyzed by collaboration across scientific disciplines.
To this point, Alan Logan, Nova President Brian Berman, and Scholar Susan Prescott published an article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health asserting the critical importance of including all factors in health, not merely disease detection and treatment, in the proposed ARPA-H.