Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity

Colored blocks around the text: "Ending Structural Racism"While NIH has long supported programs to improve the diversity of the scientific workforce, those efforts have not been sufficient to achieve racial equity across the biomedical research enterprise. Through a new effort called UNITE, NIH has begun to identify short-term and long-term actions to end structural racism and racial inequities throughout the biomedical research enterprise. Part of ending racial inequities in biomedical research will be to ensure NIH-supported research benefits the health of all populations, especially those whose health is negatively impacted by racism. For this reason, conducting new research into health disparities, minority health, and health equity is an important goal of UNITE.  

In America, health disparities remain a persistent issue affecting racial/ethnic minority populations and other groups. These individuals have higher rates of certain diseases and death compared to the general population, despite scientific and technological discoveries that have improved the health of the U.S. population overall. The science of health disparities continues to advance; however, more research is required to improve, reduce, and ultimately, eliminate health disparities and health inequities.  

In coordination with UNITE, the NIH Common Fund developed the Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative to support unusually innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in developing, disseminating, or implementing innovative and effective interventions that prevent, reduce, or eliminate health disparities and health inequities. Additionally, this initiative is expected to increase the competitiveness of investigators and expand the research base dedicated to health disparities research at minority serving institutions (MSIs). In fiscal year 2021, the NIH Common Fund issued two funding opportunities to support new research projects in these areas:

1) RFA-RM-21-021 Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed) 
2) RFA-RM-21-022 Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity at Minority Serving Institutions (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed)

In addition to the Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative, the Common Fund will begin developing a separate effort in health disparities research planned to launch in fiscal year 2023. The strategic planning process will include a careful assessment of the current landscape of health disparities research and engagement with stakeholder communities. This potential program likely will involve multiple initiatives through which awardees work together on collective goals that can be met within 10 years.

If you have questions about the Common Fund’s Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative, please email them to CFHealthDisparities@nih.gov. To receive updates about these efforts, sign up for our listserv: CFHealthDisparitiesResearch-List.

This page last reviewed on September 2, 2021