Legislative History

The evolution of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to become an Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is grounded in legislation that spans almost two decades. Through legislation, the Congress placed emphasis on the important role of biomedical research and the NIH in addressing minority health and ultimately health disparities issues, with the establishment of the NIMHD and its predecessors. Starting in 1993 to 2010, three separate pieces of legislation were enacted that included provisions that would stimulate the enhancement of the NIH's research efforts and activities to address minority health and health disparities.

1993: P.L. 103-43, the Health Revitalization Act of 1993, established the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health. Under this legislation the ORMH did not have grant-funding authority.

2000: P.L. 106-525, Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000, established the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), and designated it as the focal point for coordinating minority health and health disparities research at the NIH. The NCMHD gained the authority to fund grants. The law also called for the development of a NIH comprehensive strategic research plan and budget for health disparities research. It authorized the NCMHD Director and the Director of the Agency for Health care Research Quality (AHRQ) to define health disparity populations. The law also required the NCMHD to maintain communications with all Public Health Service agencies and other Departments of the Federal government to disseminate health disparities research information.

2010: P.L. 111-148, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed on March 23rd, and re-designated the NCMHD to an Institute, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The law gave the NIMHD authority to plan, review, coordinate, and evaluate the minority health and health disparities research and activities conducted and supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers. In addition, it transferred all of the responsibilities of the NCMHD to the NIMHD and expanded the eligibility criteria for the Research Endowment program to include institutions with an active NIMHD Center of Excellence grant.