NIH Research Plan on Vulvodyniaby National Institutes of Health
This Research Plan on Vulvodynia, developed by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health
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Vulvodynia is the term used to describe chronic pain or discomfort of the vulva. Clinicians and patients trying to deal with vulvodynia are frustrated by the lack of scientific evidence to help assess causes, possible triggers, prevention, and treatment.
This Research Plan on Vulvodynia, developed by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in collaboration with other federal, private, and non-profit agencies and researchers in the field, is designed to lay out an agenda for the rigorous scientific research needed to answer questions and fill in knowledge gaps about vulvodynia. The agenda not only builds upon ongoing vulvodynia research (supported by the National Institutes of Health [NIH] and other agencies and organizations), but also seeks to advance the field by enhancing capacity for conducting research related to vulvodynia. In addition, the plan aims to apprise the research community of scientific goals for vulvodynia research and to foster collaborations among agencies and organizations interested in the topic. To help develop the plan, the NICHD convened a scientific meeting in July 2011, interviewed leading scientists, assessed the size and scope of the research literature in vulvodynia, and reviewed NIH-supported grants related to vulvodynia.
To move toward better understanding the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of vulvodynia, additional research capacity must be developed and research efforts must be expanded. Such an expansion is more than any one organization can achieve alone and is likely to take many years to accomplish. More scientists must join the existing small core group of researchers to build on current efforts. Scientists will need access to more sophisticated equipment, new models, and larger groups of patients to accelerate progress in basic, clinical, and translational research. Fortunately, a number of organizations, including the NIH, are eager to work together to expand the scientific infrastructure.
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