The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's premiere medical research agency. NIMHD's work touches the lives of millions of Americans burdened by disparities in health status and health care delivery, including racial and ethnic minority groups, rural populations, populations with low socioeconomic status, and other population groups.
NIMHD's mission is to lead scientific research to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. To accomplish this, NIMHD
- Plans, coordinates, reviews, and evaluates NIH minority health and health disparities research and activities;
- Conducts and supports research in minority health and health disparities;
- Promotes and supports the training of a diverse research workforce;
- Translates and disseminates research information; and
- Fosters innovative collaborations and partnerships.
NIMHD envisions an America in which all populations will have an equal opportunity to live long, healthy, and productive lives. To accomplish this, NIMHD raises national awareness about the prevalence and impact of health disparities and disseminates effective individual-, community-, and population-level interventions to reduce and encourage elimination of health disparities.
NIMHD was first established as the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities in 2000 and redesignated as an Institute in 2010, as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148). The Institute's full history dates back to the creation of the Office of Minority Programs in the NIH Office of the Director in 1990. Then in 1993, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Office of Research on Minority Health, which developed a research agenda for minority health at NIH.
The National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities advises the HHS Secretary, the NIH Director, and the NIMHD Director on matters related to NIMHD's mission. Council members include individuals with demonstrated expertise regarding minority health disparity and other health disparity issues, representatives of communities affected by minority and other health disparities, and a diversity of health professionals.
The Extramural Research Program supports the study of many aspects of minority health and health disparities— from genetic, molecular, and biologic science to clinical, behavioral, and translational research, as well as research on health systems, workforce development, and environmental justice. At more than 200 sites around the country and the globe, NIMHD extramural research focuses on the full continuum of causes of health disparities and the interrelation of these causes.
NIMHD supports intramural research on minority health and health disparities within NIH as well as extramural research at institutions nationwide. The Intramural Research Program supports integrative and multidisciplinary research at NIH focused on the basic, clinical/translational, and social/ behavioral sciences, addressing a wide array of health problems that disproportionately affect health disparity populations. Current efforts focus on three disease areas that have significant health disparities: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Education, Training, and Outreach Programs
NIMHD works to expand the knowledge base of research on minority health and health disparities through education, training, and outreach programs, including the following:
- The Translational Health Disparities Course: Integrating Principles of Science, Practice, and Policy in Health Disparities Research—a 2-week intensive course for health care and public health professionals, researchers, scientists, and members of community- and faith-based organizations
- The NIH Health Disparities Seminar Series—a forum for experts at NIH and other federal agency partners to address advances, gaps, and current issues in health disparities research
- The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summits—held in 2008 and 2012, which showcased the progress and challenges in minority health and health disparities research within HHS, the federal government, the nation, and the world
NIMHD collaborates with non-federal organizations and co-leads the Federal Collaboration on Health Disparities Research (FCHDR), which fosters cross-agency research partnerships that target health improvement in populations disproportionately affected by disease, injury, and/or disability. Research developed through FCHDR can generate new and enhanced programs, policies, and practices to reduce and eliminate health disparities.