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The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is one of 27 Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency. NINR believes that nursing research is the key to unlocking the power and potential of nursing by leveraging nursing’s strengths and unique knowledge and perspectives inherent to the discipline to the benefit of all people.   

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Federal involvement in nursing research can be traced back to 1946, with the establishment of the Division of Nursing within the Office of the Surgeon General, Public Health Service. However, the impetus for establishing NINR came years later, from the findings of two Federal studies. A 1983 report by the Institute of Medicine recommended that nursing research be included in the mainstream of biomedical and behavioral science, and a 1984 NIH Task Force study found nursing research activities to be relevant to the NIH mission. In 1986, Public Law 99-158, the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, created the National Center for Nursing Research (NCNR) at NIH. In 1993, NCNR was elevated to an NIH institute (NINR) with the signing of the NIH Revitalization Act.

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Meet Our Leadership Team

Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN joined NINR as Director in September 2020. Prior to her arrival, Dr. Zenk was a Collegiate Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing. Her research interests include health disparities, urban food environments, community health solutions, and veterans’ health. Learn more about Dr. Zenk and other members of NINR's Leadership Team.

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Learn more about NINR’s organizational structure, the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (NACNR), and NINR staff. 

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National Advisory Council for Nursing Research (NACNR)

NACNR advises on which grant applications should be approved and considered for funding, reviews the Institute's extramural programs and makes recommendations about its intramural research activities.


Organizational Structure

NINR is organized into four main areas that report to the Office of the Director. 

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Staff Directory

A listing of NINR offices and staff.