Director’s Message

September 18, 2023

NIMHD Director Remarks on the September 1 Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities

By Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to supporting research to improve the lives and health of people with disabilities, including understanding the health disparities they may experience. NIMHD is the lead institute on monitoring minority health and health disparities research for the NIH. The NIMHD director is responsible for designating a health disparity population in consultation with the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Several organizations have requested a health disparity population designation for people with disabilities. In response, I convened a working group of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NACMHD) to assist the council in examining the state of the science on health disparities research for people with disabilities and the benefits and risks of expanding the NIH-designated Health Disparity population to include this population.

On September 1, 2023, the NACMHD presented recommendations informed by the working group’s efforts. They did not advise a health disparity population designation for people with disabilities at this time, calling instead for additional research to better understand the impact of health disparities on this population. A final report is forthcoming.

Importantly, the council’s recommendations are advisory only and no decision has been made. I will make the final decision in consultation with the AHRQ director based on the working group’s analysis, stakeholder input, and a review of the science and evidence once a final report has been delivered.

I sincerely thank the people with disabilities who shared their experiences along with the invited scientists, leaders, individuals, and groups with expertise in disability issues and health disparities research who provided their input to the working group and continue to provide their input to me, Acting NIH Director Tabak, and Secretary Becerra. I look forward to receiving the final report from the NACMHD in the upcoming weeks and will announce a final decision thereafter.

Page updated Sept. 26, 2023  |  created Sept. 18, 2023