To provide support to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases'(NIAMS) comprehensive program of information dissemination to patients, their health care providers, the research community, and the media through the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse (NIC) and the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases~National Resource Center (NRC) and under the direction of the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL). As a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIAMS supports basic, translational, and clinical research;research training;and information programs on many of the more debilitating diseases affecting the American people. Most of these diseases are chronic and many cause life-long pain, disability, or disfigurement. They affect millions of Americans, cause tremendous human suffering, and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars in health care costs and lost productivity. These diseases include the many different forms of arthritis and numerous disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the skin. The Institute also conducts and supports research on the normal structure and function of bones, joints, muscles, and skin. The NIAMS is committed to a comprehensive program of information dissemination. Research advances are of limited value if they never reach the arena of health care, therefore missing the goal of improving public health for all Americans. The NIC and the NRC help support the NIAMS effort of reaching patients, their health care providers, the research community, and the media with information about medical research advances. In addition, the NIAMS works closely with many voluntary and professional societies to learn their needs and disseminate NIAMS research findings to them. The NIAMS targets much of its information to certain high-need audiences, such as underrepresented and non-English-speaking communities, and it strives to make its information accessible to the vast and diverse populations affected by the diseases within its mandate. The NIAMS contracted with an organization to provide all management, technical, logistical, and administrative services for the continued operation of the NIC, a congressionally authorized national information clearinghouse. This contract included the operations of the NIC and the provision of related information dissemination services to the NIAMS OCPL. The nature of the support services included public inquiry response, materials development, materials management and dissemination, database development, meeting and exhibit support, and communications planning and outreach in support of the NIAMS'mission to disseminate information.

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