Comparing cutaneous research funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the US skin disease burden

Erika L. Hagstrom, Shivani Patel, Chante Karimkhani, Lindsay N. Boyers, Hywel C. Williams, Roderick J. Hay, Martin A. Weinstock, April W. Armstrong, Cory A. Dunnick, David J. Margolis, Robert P. Dellavalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Disease burden should be an important component for guiding research funding. Objective We sought to examine the relationship between dermatologic research funded from 2012 to 2013 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and US skin disease burden as measured by disability-adjusted life years in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Methods A cross-sectional analysis was independently performed by 2 researchers who matched projects from the 2012 to 2013 NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools with 15 skin conditions and their respective disability-adjusted life years from Global Burden of Disease 2010. Results The NIH funded 1108 projects spanning the 15 skin conditions. Melanoma received almost half of the total skin condition budget (49.5%). Melanoma, nonmelanoma skin cancer, and leprosy were funded above what would be suggested by their disease burden, whereas dermatitis, acne vulgaris, pruritus, urticaria, decubitus ulcer, fungal skin diseases, alopecia areata, cellulitis, and scabies appeared underfunded. Bacterial skin diseases, viral skin diseases, and psoriasis were well matched with disease burden. Limitations Disease burden is one of many factors that may be used to guide priority-setting decisions. Conclusion Skin disease burden measured by disability-adjusted life year metrics partially correlates with NIH funding prioritization. Comparing US disease burden with NIH funding suggests possible underfunded and overfunded skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391.e1
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • dermatitis
  • disability-adjusted life years
  • disease burden
  • leprosy
  • melanoma
  • National Institutes of Health
  • priority setting
  • skin conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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