The National Institutes of Health announces the transition of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The transition gives the institute a more defined role in the NIH's research agenda against health disparities, which it defines as differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups. (Read the full announcement)
Two decades of work to bring attention to the unequal burden of illness and death experienced by racial and ethnic minorities, rural and poor populations in this country has culminated in the creation of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH. The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities was re-designated to an Institute in March 2010.
NIMHD's History in Review
1990 — The Office of Minority Programs (OMP) was established in the NIH Office of the Director, at the request of then Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Louis Sullivan. Dr. John Ruffin was appointed Associate Director of Minority Programs to direct the OMP.
1991 — The OMP convened an advisory Fact-Finding Team (FFT) to conduct three regional conferences with grassroots constituencies. The FFT issued a report with 13 recommendations from the community that guided the initial efforts of the OMP.
1992 — The Minority Health Initiative (MHI), the centerpiece of the OMP agenda, was launched in response to the FFT's recommendations, and initially funded at $45 million. This multi-year biomedical and behavioral research and research training program is a partnership with the NIH Institutes and Centers. The OMP co-funded various projects including: 1) interventions to improve prenatal health and reduce infant mortality; 2) studies of childhood and adolescent lead poisoning; 3) HIV infection and AIDS; 4) alcohol and drug use studies; 5) research in adult populations focused on cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, asthma, visual impairments, and alcohol abuse; and 6) training for faculty and for students at all stages of the educational pipeline—from precollege and undergraduate through graduate and postdoctoral levels.
1992 — The OMP initiated a study with the National Academy of Sciences designed to present an overview of NIH extramural research training programs for minority students and to assess the feasibility of conducting a trans-NIH assessment of these programs.
1993 — Public Law 103-43, the Health Revitalization Act of 1993, established the Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) in the Office of the Director, NIH. Dr. John Ruffin was appointed as the Associate Director for Research on Minority Health.
1994 — The National Conference on Minority Health Research and Research Training was held in Chicago.
1996 — Conferences were held in Honolulu, Hawaii; Miami, Florida; and Puerto Rico to inform ORMH constituencies of the progress made, to solicit feedback on those achievements, and to obtain information on the needs of minority populations.
1997 — The Advisory Committee on Research on Minority Health was established to provide advice to the Director, ORMH, and to the Director, NIH, regarding research and research training with respect to minority health issues.
1998 — The first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health was held.
2000 — The ORMH celebrated its 10th anniversary with a conference entitled Closing the Minority Health Gap: 10 Years of Progress and Challenge in Eliminating Health Disparities.
2000 — The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) was established by the passage of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000, Public Law 106-525, which was signed by the President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, on November 22, 2000. The bill was introduced into the Congress by Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.
2001 — Dr. John Ruffin was sworn in as the first director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
2001 — Programs mandated by Congress were implemented to expand the infrastructure of Institutions committed to health disparities research and to encourage the recruitment and retention of highly qualified minority and other scientists in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health services research: 1) the Endowment Program, 2) the Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research, and 3) the Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds.
2002 — The Congressionally mandated program, Centers of Excellence program was launched, referred to as Project EXPORT—Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training.
2002 — The first meeting of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NACMHD) was convened.
2002 — The NCMHD assumed responsibility for the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Program (RIMI), which was established by its predecessor ORMH, in partnership with the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).
2003 — The first NIH Strategic Research Plan and Budget to Reduce and Ultimately Eliminate Health Disparities was issued.
2005 — The NCMHD assumed responsibility for the Minority International Research Training Program (MIRT) which was established by its predecessor ORMH in partnership with Fogarty International Center (FIC). The program was renamed to be more consistent with the mission of the NCMHD to the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRT).
2005 — The NCMHD Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) program was established. This program supports community-based participatory research intervention studies to reduce health disparities caused by diseases or conditions affecting minority and other health disparity communities.
2005 — The National Research Council of the National Academies released the report, Assessment of NIH Minority Research and Training Programs: Phase 3. The report was the culmination of a series of assessments and analyses of the NIH minority research and training programs initiated by the ORMH, the predecessor to the NCMHD. This report examined the effectiveness of the programs and provided recommendations for improvement.
2006 — The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies issued the report, Examining the Health Disparities Research Plan of the National Institutes of Health: Unfinished Business. The NCMHD requested this report to assess the adequacy of the NIH Health Disparities Strategic Plan in achieving the goals and objectives, to evaluate the adequacy of coordination among the NIH Institutes and Centers in developing the strategic plan, and to obtain recommendations to help NIH achieve the objectives of the strategic plan.
2007 — The NCMHD Centers of Excellence in Partnerships for Community Outreach, Research on Health Disparities and Training (Project EXPORT), was re-competed for the first time. The program was also renamed the NCMHD Centers of Excellence program.
2008 — The NCMHD hosted the first NIH Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit from December 16-18, 2008. The summit attracted more than 4,000 participants including scientists, healthcare practitioners, policymakers, community leaders, and students who work or have an interest in eliminating health disparities. Acclaimed poet Maya Angelou spoke at the opening ceremony.
2008 — NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni approved an Intramural Research Program (IRP) for the NCMHD. Acting NIH Director Dr. Raynard Kington announced the creation of the NCMHD IRP at the NIH Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit.
2009 — The NCMHD launched its Health Disparities Research on Minority and Underserved Populations program. This Research Project Grant (R01) funds original and innovative research addressing elements that support the advancement of research to eliminate health disparities.
2009 — The NCMHD launched the NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series in July 2009. The monthly lecture series brings national and international health disparities experts, including NIH and federal agency partners, to the NIH to share information about advances, gaps, and current issues related to health disparities research.
2009 — The NCMHD Disparities Research and Education Advancing our Mission (DREAM) program was launched as a component of the NCMHD Intramural Research Program.
2009 — The Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Program (RIMI) was renamed the Building Research Infrastructure and Capacity (BRIC) program to be more consistent with the mission of NCMHD.
2009 — The NCMHD partnered with the NIH Office of Intramural Research to sponsor the 2009 NIH J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture as part of the NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Maya Angelou.
2009 — The NCMHD, in partnership with the HHS Office of Minority Health and the U.S. Department of Education, formalized the Federal Collaboration on Health Disparities Research (FCHDR) comprised of 14 federal executive departments. FCHDR promotes enhanced coordination of efforts to improve the health of health disparity populations. NCMHD co-leads FCHDR.
2010 — The NCMHD was re-designated as the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) with the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In addition, the Research Endowment program was expanded to include NIMHD Centers of Excellence as eligible institutions.
2010 — The NIMHD launched a two-week intensive Translational Health Disparities Course: Integrating Principles of Science, Practice, and Policy in Health Disparities Research.
2010 — The NIMHD launched a Faith-based Initiative on Health Disparities and a Social Determinants of Health Initiative.
2011 — The NIMHD established the Scientific Education Initiative, which supports educational, mentoring, and career development programs for individuals from health disparity populations that are underrepresented in the research sciences.
2011 — The NIMHD launched the Resource-Related Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Initiative to support minority health and health disparities research activities using a cooperative agreement which requires substantial federal scientific or programmatic involvement.
2011 — The NIMHD appointed Dr. William G. Coleman, Jr., as the NIMHD's first permanent scientific director and the first African-American scientific director in the history of the NIH Intramural Research Program.
2011 — The NIMHD assumed responsibility for the Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) program formerly administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR).
2012 — The NIMHD organized the first-ever "NIH Minority Health Promotion Day" on April 19, 2012, in honor of National Minority Health Month, working with the other NIH ICs and other federal agencies.
2012 — The NIMHD established its Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research Program to support transdisciplinary coalitions of academic institutions, community organizations, service providers and systems, government agencies, and other stakeholders focused on select topics related to health disparities.
2012 — The NIMHD hosted the 2012 Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit from December 17-19, 2012, a partnership with the NIH Institutes and Centers, the HHS agencies, and 14 of the 15 federal executive departments. Rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the summit attracted thousands of participants. Major highlights included a portrait unveiling of former Congressman Louis Stokes and dedication of the Summit to the late Senator Arlen Specter.
2013 — The NIMHD held its third Translational Health Disparities Course with 90 scholars, its largest number of participants to date, from a pool of 450 applicants. The scholars came from academia, the federal government, community-based organizations, local and state government agencies, and other public and private entities.