NIH organizes major conferences that produce consensus statements on important and controversial topics in medicine and dentistry. Each conference is jointly sponsored and administered by one or more Institutes, Centers or Divisions of NIH and by the Office of Medical Applications of Research (OMAR).
The purpose of a CDC is to evaluate the available scientific information on biomedical technology and to develop a consensus statement that advances understanding of the technology or issue in question and that will be useful to health professionals and the public at large. A panel listens to the scientific data presented by the experts, weighs the information, and then composes a consensus statement that addresses a set of questions previously posed to the panel. This statement is an independent report of the panel; not a policy statement of NIH. The NIH/NIDCR has held numerous CDCs since the program began in 1977, but this conference is the first to use systematic reviews of the literature.