Advocacy: Letter from DHHS Director Tommy G.
The Secretary of
Health and Human Services
The Honorable Rodney P.
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-2106
Dear Mr. Frelinghuysen:
Thank you for your letter on Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), in which you asked me to consider allocating $10 million
to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for CFS research and chartering a
Federal Advisory Committee on CFS, on behalf of a group of your constituents
living with CFS.
I share your concern about the serious
health problems of the more than 800,000 Americans with CFS, including a number
of your constituents. CFS is a complex and debilitating disorder for which no
cause or cure is yet known. Nevertheless, while we do not fully understand the
mechanisms which underlie CFS, important advances have been made in the last
decade to better understand aspects of this disorder. Many of these advances
have been supported by this Department.
Regarding your request that $10 million be
allocated to NIH for CFS research using the recommendations developed at the
State of the Science Conference that the Department convened in October 2000,
NIH is currently developing a Program Announcement (PA) based on the
recommendations. That PA will request research proposals that focus on
multisystemic factors and encourage multidisciplinary collaborative CFS research
efforts. The funding level of this PA will be based largely on the quality of
the research proposals submitted in response to the request.
Concerning your suggestion that we charter
a Federal Advisory Committee on CFS, the Department recently carried out a
complete review of its Advisory Committees and determined that we will, in the
near future, transform the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Coordinating Committee,
established in 1996, to a fully structured Advisory Committee in much the same
way other Advisory Committees are structured. We expect to have completed the
requisite process soon.
I appreciate your recommendations and will
take them into consideration as we go forward. Please call me if you have any
further thoughts or questions.
Tommy G. Thompson