NIH to fund Centers of Excellence on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Twelve specialized research centers designed to conduct multidisciplinary research, research training and community engagement activities focused on improving minority health and reducing health disparities will launch. The centers, to be funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the NIH, will share approximately $82 million over five years, pending the availability of funds.
Health disparity populations experience a disproportionate burden of preventable diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, along with exposure to substance abuse, violence, and trauma. These populations include racial and ethnic minority groups, underserved rural populations, people of less privileged socioeconomic status, along with groups subject to discrimination who have poorer health outcomes often attributed to being socially disadvantaged.
The Centers of Excellence (COE)’s program fosters collaborative research in minority health and health disparities that will identify critical biological, behavioral, environmental, sociocultural and health systems factors to aid in developing optimal interventions that will reduce targeted health disparities.
“We need strong collaborations and research based upon asking the right questions in specific areas. The Centers of Excellence are poised to emphasize scientific inquiry that will promote health equity,” said NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable.
The Centers of Excellence (COEs) program will help:
- Support innovative multi- and transdisciplinary research to promote minority health and reduce health disparities
- Strengthen exemplary research training and education activities to support the development of well-trained researchers, including those from minority and health disparity populations
- Increase the number of individuals from minority and other health disparity populations participating in research activities
- Provide support for engaging minority and other health disparity communities in effective and sustainable activities aimed at improving the health of their communities
Each NIMHD COE will have a specific unifying focus that will directly and demonstrably impact minority health and health disparities in that topic area. The focus of each COE will revolve around at least one of the NIH-designated health disparity populations or a subpopulation within a health disparity population. Additionally, the COEs may include specific disease areas that disproportionately affect disparity populations and contribute substantially to health outcomes, and/or prevention topics that cut across health conditions and populations.
The NIMHD COEs program, established by the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-525), has played a vital role in realizing NIMHD’s mission to support research in minority health and health disparities, promote the training of a diverse research workforce, disseminate research findings, and foster innovative collaborations and partnerships. Each center includes community organizations, academic institutions, clinicians, and health care systems, as well as state and local public health agencies. The research programs translate community needs into practice at local clinics, churches, and community centers.