August 1, 2023
New NIMHD Funding to Help Institutions Build Research Infrastructure and Training Capacity through Research Endowments
Honoring the legacy of former congressional leader and civil rights icon John Lewis, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) has recently awarded grants to six institutions through the John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment Program. Totaling $60 million, these esteemed grants will create institutional endowments that propel the development and expansion of the research capacity and infrastructure within the recipient institutions. Additionally, the institutional endowments will support research education for students from diverse backgrounds, particularly those from underrepresented groups, and encourage faculty members to pursue research in basic biomedical, behavioral, population, and clinical/health services fields.
This is a unique federal program with the potential to significantly fortify the growth and development of research programs in minority health and health disparities at institutions that train a diverse scientific workforce. The awards are made to institutional endowments, and the institutions support programs through the annual income realized from the endowment, creating sustainable programs long after the funding stops. During the five-year grant, the institutions grow their endowment corpus, which must be maintained and not spent for twenty years after the grant’s project period end date, but the annual income generated will continue to support programmatic activity each year. Among the program’s specific objectives are:
- Improving the institutional, physical infrastructure and research equipment acquisition.
- Developing research-enabling technical expertise.
- Expansion of academic programs.
- Recruitment of individuals from groups underrepresented in the scientific workforce as potential candidates for open faculty positions.
Initial awards for this program were made in 2001 under the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000. On March 18, 2022, NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, along with NIH Acting Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and congressional leaders, joined President Joe Biden at the White House to sign the John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment Revitalization Act of 2021. The new law expanded eligibility for the NIMHD Research Endowment Program (REP) to include former in addition to current NIMHD and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Centers of Excellence. Due to his long-standing support for the NIMHD Research Endowment Program, it was renamed in honor of the late Congressman John Lewis.
The institutions that received funding are:
Florida International University
Florida International University-Health Disparities Initiative (FIU-HDI)
Contact PI: Andres G. Gil, Ph.D.
The long-term objective of the Florida International University-Health Disparities Initiative (FIU-HDI) is to enhance and expand FIU’s capacity for health disparities research and training. Through their endowment program, FIU-HDI will expand the support of doctoral and postdoctoral training in health disparities, and a scholarship course to train physicians to address social and cultural determinants of health in patient care. These efforts will have a direct impact on reducing health disparities in communicable and noncommunicable health conditions in vulnerable, underserved communities in South Florida and the Caribbean region.
University of North Texas Health Sciences Center
Texas Minority Health, Education, Research and Outreach (MiHERO)
Contact PI: Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Ph.D.
The long term objective of the Texas Minority Health, Education, Research and Outreach (Texas MiHERO) is to expand the capacity of University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) to enhance research and research training in minority health and health disparities by increasing the number of underrepresented students in health disparity research, providing interdisciplinary research and leadership training to junior faculty, and increasing the number of health professional faculty involved in health disparity research.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Contact PI: William Marcus Lambert, Ph.D.
Translational Program of Health Disparities Research Training (TRANSPORT II) builds on the successful research training programs established at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (Downstate). Downstate is the only health sciences university in Brooklyn, the largest borough in New York City. TRANSPORT II will prioritize the enhancement of the physical infrastructure and space which is critical for accommodating rapidly growing programs; expansion of research training and career development programs for students and faculty who are from underrepresented backgrounds; fostering multisectoral community academic partnerships; and growing a critical mass of established social science, behavioral population health, and implementation science researchers.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Researcher Endowment Program
Contact PI: David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D.
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will establish the Endowment for Learning Health Systems and Learning Health Communities to create a Learning Health Systems and Learning Health Communities (LHSC) Core. This core will exist within CDU’s Urban Health Institute (UHI), which facilitates minority health and health disparities research across all schools and colleges, each of which strives to enhance scientific workforce diversity by training students from marginalized communities or communities of color. The LHSC Core will enhance the capacity to conduct health services and community participatory research on cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiometabolic health, mental health, substance abuse, and health services and policy.
Meharry Medical College
Endowment for Cardiometabolic Health Disparities Research
Contact PI: Contact PI: Anil Shanker, Ph.D.
The long-term objective of the Endowment for Cardiometabolic Health Disparities Research is to expand the capacity of Meharry Medical College (MMC) to enhance research and research training in minority health. The program will address health disparities in cardiometabolic health disproportionately prevalent in the African Americans in Nashville and Davidson County, the catchment areas of MMC. The endowment will support the hire of a senior magnet cardiovascular scientist, and development of a bachelor’s to master’s to Ph.D. pathway program, a research leadership program for postdoctoral fellows, seminar program, and research infrastructure to study health disparities of cardiometabolic disease.
Xavier University of Louisiana
PREDICT (Precision Medicine, Education, Data Informatics and Community Translation) Institute
Contact PI: Kathleen B. Kennedy, Pharm.D.
The Precision Medicine, Education, Data Informatics and Community Translation (PREDICT) Institute, a comprehensive programmatic initiative, will create a holistic and replicable framework for the utilization of electronic health data and community translation to affect the decision-making process to improve health outcomes. The Institute will extend the technical research exchange (TREX) program at Xavier University to include training of current and future underrepresented researchers on health informatics best practices to diversify the research workforce and leverage community-based approaches to enhance clinical research efforts in vulnerable populations.
Page updated August 1, 2023