About the NIH

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation’s premier medical research agency—making important discoveries that improve health and save lives around the world. The NIH conducts scientific investigation about the nature and behavior of living systems, and applies that knowledge to improve human health and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Individuals who take part in NIH studies play a vital role in advancing medical discoveries and improving the health of people all over the world.

Why Our Families Choose the NIH

Families travel to the NIH from all over the world because conventional treatments have failed to have sufficient impact on their children’s illnesses—life-threatening and debilitating diseases such as heart, lung, blood, bone, and growth disorders, mental illness, rare genetic conditions, many forms of cancer, and undiagnosed diseases. In many instances, coming to the NIH is a last, best hope for successful treatment or a cure.

Children staying at The Inn are treated at 15 of the 27 research institutes and centers at the NIH.

The NIH Clinical Center

The NIH Clinical Center is where our families take their children to receive care and treatment. The Clinical Center is both a hospital and a research center. This is where the NIH conducts its intramural (onsite) clinical research that requires a hospital setting. Volunteer patient/participants receive not only leading-edge experimental treatments but also the best in hospital care.

How The Children’s Inn Plays a Part

The NIH takes care of the children’s medical needs while The Children’s Inn tends to their social and emotional needs. At the end of long days of treatments and procedures, they leave behind the needles and doctors and return to The Inn. The Inn is a safe haven between treatments and hospitalizations, “a place like home” where families can stay together and find mutual support from other families going through similar circumstances. If The Inn did not exist, some families may not be able to have their children participate in studies at the NIH because the cost of staying in a hotel for the duration of the treatment could be prohibitive.

NIH Visitor Information

Travel information, campus maps and information about the Institutes.

The main campus of the NIH is located in Bethesda, Maryland. For more information, visit: www.nih.gov

Airport Shuttles:

All shuttles pick-up and drop off at the NIH Clinical Center (building 10). Please note that there are NO SATURDAY SHUTTLES TO THE AIRPORT. If you are traveling on a Saturday, please contact your medical team for assistance with alternative accommodations.

Airport Shuttles Schedules:


Parking on the NIH campus is very limited. The Children’s Inn has its own parking lot that is free for residents, volunteers, staff and Inn visitors. When you check-in at the welcome desk, you will receive a parking pass for your vehicle.

Driving/Metro directions to the NIH.