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In 2004-2009, the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to foster interdisciplinary research on interactions between the mind and body in health and disease, with a specific focus on the causes and treatment of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. The five-year, $4.3 million grant established a Gastrointestinal Biopsychosocial Research Program within the Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders.

Funding for mind/body research centers was provided through the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the NIH Office of the Director, as a cooperative effort of about a dozen institutes within NIH. This broad-based initiative evolved from growing evidence that interdisciplinary research which integrates the study of social, behavioral, psychological and biological factors holds particular promise in understanding the causes of disease and in promoting health. NIH funded the first five centers in 1999. An additional five centers were selected for funding in 2004, with funding for the UNC grant being provided through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).