Overview

Many populations in America, whether defined by race, ethnicity, immigrant status, disability, sex, gender, or geography, experience higher rates of certain diseases and more deaths and suffering from them compared with the general population. While the diversity of the American population is one of the Nation’s greatest assets, one of its greatest challenges is reducing the profound disparity in health status of its racial and ethnic minority, rural, low-income, and other underserved populations.

The NIMHD leads scientific research to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities.

  • NIMHD conducts and supports research, training of a diverse workforce, research capacity and infrastructure development, public education and information dissemination programs.
  • NIMHD is the leader at the NIH for planning, reviewing, coordinating, and evaluating minority health and health disparities research activities conducted by the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC).
  • Working with the NIH ICs, NIMHD leads the development of the agency’s research priorities for health disparities as outlined in the NIH Health Disparities Strategic Plan and Budget.
  • NIMHD builds far-reaching and diverse collaborations and partnerships around health disparities.

The examination of biological factors is fundamental in understanding the development and progression of diseases and has traditionally been the focus of research on minority health and health disparities. The NIMHD has been a leader in increasing the scientific community’s focus on non-biological factors such as socioeconomics, politics, discrimination, culture, and environment in relation to health disparities. NIMHD invests in research and fosters collaborations and partnerships to promote and support evidence-based science to inform practice and policy. Its programs and initiatives provide a leading edge in enhancing the scientific knowledge base and designing interventions to improve health outcomes to reduce and ultimately lead to the elimination of health disparities. Through the NIMHD’s leadership, over the past decade, health disparities has become a recognized scientific field of study, which has evolved from documenting and investigating differences in health status and risk factors among affected populations, to addressing health disparities using traditional and non-traditional research approaches.