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Summary of programs


Natural History of Disparities in Health Outcomes

Disparities in health outcomes are believed to result from the interaction of a plethora of interactive factors such as environmental exposures and genetic traits, and/or the accrual over time of stable phenotypic traits and lifestyle behaviors that contribute to but are insufficient individually to cause the onset of disease or illness. The etiology of disparities in health outcomes with particular emphasis on identifying and deconstructing the array of interactive risk factors—environmental, socioeconomic, stereotyping, bias, clinical uncertainty, and gene-related factors—that contribute to escalations in the susceptibility to disease and illness and may contribute to health disparities. Examples include, but are not limited to:

1. Multidisciplinary basic research approaches that lead to biological probes and starting points for therapeutic interventions;

2. Innovative high throughput screening approaches to identify compounds that are active in target- and phenotype assays and to use these approaches to develop bioactive probes for application in vitro and potentially in vivo studies;

3. Methodological and technological innovation that will integrate behavioral and social science with biomedical research, including gene related and environmental components.

4. Differential pharmacologic drug metabolism; and

5. Impact of dietary decision making in diverse populations and effect on health disparity outcomes.

Health Promotion and Prevention Research in the Health Disparities Communities

High priority is given to activities designed to empower health disparity communities to achieve health equity through health education, disease prevention, and partnering in community-based hypothesis, outcomes- and problem-driven research. Examples of such activities include, but are not limited to:

6. Efficacy of therapies in local populations;

7. Motivating positive behavioral changes in diverse populations;

8. Health outcomes related to health seeking, lifestyle, risk taking, protective behaviors and/or socioeconomic status;

9. Incorporating research into health promotion and disease prevention initiatives, applying new knowledge in a culturally appropriate manner in intervention/disease prevention initiatives; and

10. Distribution of health structures and adverse health effects, and the sufficiency of healthcare frameworks in accommodating diverse social, cultural, political and economic factors.

Innovations in Health Disparities Research

Studies that promote and advance evidence-based transformation in medical decision-making and health policy; demonstration projects that implement evidence-based, culturally sensitive intervention/disease prevention therapies and diagnostics; and activities designed to build capacity for health disparities research are of high priority. Examples of such studies include, but are not limited to:

11. Development of health disparity group-specific methodologies and diagnostics;

12. Development of technologies targeted for health disparity groups (i.e., gene chips, other novel assay systems, animal models, specialized instruments, etc.); and

13. Demonstration projects that build capacity for health disparities research (e.g., regional hospital-based registries for disease areas of emphasis, etc.) or implement the translation/application of research results in a culturally sensitive manner.

For additional information about the areas of interest to the NIMHD, please visit our home page at

Broad Area of Research that NIMHD Supports

Studies on the biological and biobehavioral risk factors for disparities in health and health outcomes; cultural, environmental, and societal dimensions of disparities in health status, including the impact of health processes; development and refinement of research tools, survey instruments, and databases that are culturally sensitive and specifically for racial and ethnic minority populations and other health disparity populations, in particular the medically underserved which includes the rural and urban poor.

For additional information on research topics, contact:

Mr. Vincent A. Thomas, Jr., MSW, MPA

Program Manager

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, NIH

6707 Democracy Blvd.

Suite 800, MSC 5465

Bethesda, MD 20892-5465

301-402-2516, Fax: 301-480-4049


For administrative and business management questions, contract:

Ms. Priscilla Grant, J.D., C.R.A.

Grants Management Officer

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, NIH

6707 Democracy Blvd.

Suite 800, MSC 5465

Bethesda, MD 20892-5465

301-594-8412, Fax: 301-480-4049


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