Earlier this year, NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable wrote a post for NIH’s About Science, Health, and Public Trust blog. This website aims to share strategies and best practices to help improve public understanding of how biomedical research impacts personal health. In his post, Dr. Pérez-Stable raises awareness about the vital role that race and ethnicity play in clinical research. Read the post in its entirety below.
Until recently, researchers assumed that what they learned about White male participants could be safely applied to anybody, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or other variables. We now know that this isn’t true. When you’re communicating about research results, it’s vital not only to explain how a study was done, but who was being studied.
Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minorities experience more preventable diseases and poorer health outcomes—referred to as “health disparities ”—yet they are not included in research studies as often as White people are. This is true even though researchers who get NIH funding have been required since 1993 to report race, ethnicity, and gender of participants in their biomedical research. African Americans and Latinos make up 30% of the U.S. population but account for less than 10% of participants in genetic studies. Continue reading “Communicating the Value of Race and Ethnicity in Research”
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By Dorothy Castille, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Officer, Community Health and Population Sciences Division
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) celebrates Native American Heritage Month in November and recently published two articles featuring NIMHD-supported research on American Indian health disparities. Both featured studies were led by recipients of NIMHD’s Loan Repayment Program.
The first article of the month highlights the Food Resource Equity and Sustainability for Health (FRESH) study by Valerie Jernigan, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Oklahoma and a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In this study, also recently featured in Nature, Dr. Jernigan discusses her work with the Osage Tribe in improving the food resources and health of tribal families through a community gardening program. Read the full story.
NIMHD’s second featured story this month introduces a Native American researcher of the Lumbee Nation at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing, Jada Brooks, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., RN. Dr. Brooks has focused her studies on understanding why Lumbee women have the highest death rate related to heart disease in Robeson County, North Carolina, and determining if a positive perspective could help counteract the environmental exposures that increase their risk of heart disease. Read the full story.
This is part of a series of guest NIMHD Insights blog posts where NIH Institute and Center Directors highlight initiatives, resources and funding opportunities relevant to minority health and health disparities research, and training at their Institutes. The goal of this guest blog series is to link NIMHD stakeholders to minority health and health disparities-related information and opportunities across NIH.
This post is from the director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. NIA is the primary federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer’s disease research.
By Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Aging
Dr. Richard J. Hodes
Reducing health disparities and increasing diversity in the research workforce are key priorities for the National Institute on Aging (NIA). As Director of the Institute for the past 25 years, I have seen enormous growth in NIA’s health disparities and diversity programs. We’re working to address the complex scientific questions of health disparities in aging-related diseases and conditions on a variety of fronts, including funding research into health disparities and aging and training a new, diverse generation of aging researchers.
Funding Health Disparities Research Related to Aging
In 2015, NIA staff and others, including Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, director of NIMHD and former National Advisory Council on Aging member, collaborated to develop and adopt the “NIA Health Disparities Research Framework” aiming to stimulate the study of environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological factors that influence health disparities related to aging. Since then, our Office of Special Populations has developed a web portal and video to support researchers’ use of the Framework. Using it as a guide, since 2015, NIA has awarded over $100 million in research awards to explore health disparities related to aging. To learn more about NIA funding opportunities in health disparities research related to aging, visit the Framework or check out the opportunities below: Continue reading “Guest Blog Post: Reducing Health Disparities and Enhancing Diversity in Aging Research”
By Sherine El-Toukhy, Ph.D., M.A.
Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator & NIH Distinguished Scholar
Division of Intramural Research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Dr. Sherine El-Toukhy
A basic principle of effective communication is to know the audience.1 This principle is especially important for patient-provider interactions that involve risk and diagnostic information, preventive measures, and instructions on medication regimens. But a message said is not necessarily a message understood. A patient’s understanding requires an ability to deal with written and spoken word and a grasp of basic math skills and concepts.2 It requires a health literate patient.
As a researcher in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), I have been intrigued by how people of all races and ethnicities consume and understand health information and how this affects their health decision making and behaviors. Recently, I published a review of factors that affect the quality of patient-provider interactions among underserved populations.3 My co-author and I found that health literacy was prominent among other patient and clinician related factors. Continue reading “Health Literacy: Why It Matters for Minority Health and Health Disparities”
By Mariana Sanchez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work,
Florida International University
Research Associate, Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse
By Mario De La Rosa, Ph.D.
Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work,
Florida International University
Director, Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse
Dr. Mariana Sanchez
Dr. Mario De La Rosa
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15) provides an opportunity to reflect on how the histories, cultures, and contributions of Latino Americans have enriched our nation and society. As the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, numbering nearly 58 million, Latinos are the principal driver of demographic growth, accounting for half of the national population growth since 2000.1 The U.S. Latino population continues to not only grow but diversify. While Mexicans remain the largest U.S. Latino immigrant group, shifts in immigration patterns over the past decade indicate steep increases in Latino immigrants of Caribbean and Central and South American origin arriving in the U.S.1
Continue reading “Tackling Health Disparities Among Latinos in the United States”
By Kelli Carrington, M.A.
Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Are you looking for health information in languages other than English for your local community or patient population? As the communications director for NIMHD, I’m excited to share the latest health topic release on our Language Access Portal (LAP).
Our expanded content includes dementia, with specific resources from the National Institute on Aging, mental health, with resources from the National Institute on Mental Health, and substance abuse, with information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Resources from the National Library of Medicine are provided as well.
Continue reading “Three New Research Areas Added to NIMHD’s Language Access Portal”
Dr. Richard Palmer
By Richard Palmer, Dr.P.H., J.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) held its annual Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI) from July 23–27, 2018 in Bethesda, Maryland. As with previous years, the selection process was very competitive with nearly 300 applications received from early stage investigators. Fifty scholars from 24 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory were accepted to the Institute. Selected scholars shared one common attribute—a strong commitment and desire to build a research career focused on minority health and health disparities research.
Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2018 Health Disparities Research Institute Scholars”
By Victoria Chau, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
By Lieutenant Commander Kelly Leong
United States Public Health Service
By David J. Robles, B.A.
Graduate Intern, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
From left to right: Dr. Victoria Chau, SAMHSA, LCDR Kelly Leong , United States Public Health Service and Mr. David J. Robles, SAMHSA
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness (NMMHA) Month—a practical time to highlight the importance of mental health for everyone. In a recent NIMHD Insights blog post, Dr. Xinzhi Zhang raised serious concerns about mental health awareness among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth and families. Suicide deaths have catapulted to the top as the leading cause of death for AAPI adolescents 12-19 years old in 2016.1 AAPI youth are the only racial/ethnic group for whom suicide is the leading cause of death, yet this is rarely discussed. The challenge of raising mental health awareness among AAPI communities is multifaceted but includes two key barriers: language issues and lack of culturally sensitive educators.
Continue reading “Healthy Mind Initiative Addresses Mental Health of Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth”
By Roselyn Hicks, M.D.
Visiting Scholar, Division of Scientific Programs National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Everything is abloom—spring has finally arrived. Pollen is everywhere, and for many of us, so is allergen-induced asthma.
Asthma, one of the most common childhood illnesses and a leading cause of work and school absences, continues to cause symptoms for nearly 25 million Americans. As a board-certified allergist and immunologist, my most frequent patients were individuals with this adult and pediatric inflammatory, chronic lung disease of the airways. This inflammation causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. The prevalence of asthma, with marked disparities between various populations, continues to increase within the United States. The greatest rising trend is in adult women, non-Hispanic Black children, and those individuals living in poverty—especially boys.2,5 Medical management has improved in recent years, but asthma is still related to more than 3,000 deaths per year.2 What can we learn from the extensive information available about asthma? Continue reading “Asthma, A Common But Controllable Illness”