Director’s Message

September 26, 2023

Announcement of Decision to Designate People with Disabilities as a Population with Health Disparities

Today, I formally designated people with disabilities as a population experiencing health disparities for NIH research. I made this designation in consultation with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Director Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D. The decision was made after careful consideration of the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NACMHD) final report, input from the disability community, and a review of the science and evidence.

People with disabilities often experience a wide and varying range of health conditions that lead to poorer health and shorter lifespan. In addition, discrimination, inequality, and exclusionary structural practices, programs, and policies create barriers to timely and comprehensive health care, which further results in poorer health outcomes. People with disabilities who also belong to one or more other populations with health disparities fare even worse. NIMHD recognizes the importance and need for research to better understand the complexities leading to disparate health outcomes and multilevel interventions.

Our efforts to advance the science of disability research are underway. Today, we released a notice of funding opportunity for research focused on novel and innovative approaches and interventions to address the intersections of disability, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on health care access and health outcomes. NIMHD will support meritorious studies on this topic along with consideration of other criteria.

Finally, I would like to share the final report from the NACMHD working group. This report provides an overview of their scientific landscape analysis and opportunities to advance science to address health disparities for people with disabilities. I am very appreciative of the working group's efforts and thank them for their work in examining the range of issues and their help in setting a path forward to address them.

NIMHD maintains a strong commitment to understanding the impact of health disparities on people with disabilities and supporting research to ultimately improve the lives and health of this population.

Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A.
Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Page updated Oct. 31, 2023  |  created Sept. 28, 2023