WASHINGTON—NIH may lose a program to train researchers in primary medical care because of congressional concern that the money is going to researchers in other fields.

The General Accounting Office has concluded that all 16 of the National Research Service Awards that NIH earmarked for work in primary health care in 1986, totaling $2.1 million, are instead supporting “biomedical research on specific diseases and in specialty areas of medicine rather than primary care.”

Awards to scientists working in such areas as cellular immunology and cytogenetics comply with the amendment, said Doris Merritt, NIH research training and resources officer, because those fields are “unequivocally training grounds for primary care.”

Murray Grant, GAO’s chief medical officer, called this approach “unreasonable.... It makes no distinction between biomedical research and research in primary medical care, a distinction the Congress clearly intended.”

Congress may be asked next year to shift the program to the Health...

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