Exploring race, ethnicity and NIH research awards

Lead author on NIH study to discuss strategies for inclusion in NIH funding

September 21, 2013

A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Science revealed that there are significant gaps in NIH funding for black researchers. The study was launched to determine if researchers of different races and ethnicities with similar research records and affiliations had similar likelihoods of being awarded a new NIH research project grant. In a commentary that accompanied publication of the research, senior leaders at NIH called the findings unacceptable and committed to immediate action.

“NIH commissioned this study because we want to learn more about the challenges facing the scientific community and address them head on. The results of this study are disturbing and disheartening, and we are committed to taking action,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD.

Donna K. Ginther, PhD, professor of economics at the University of Kansas and lead author on the study, will be at UMass Medical School on Friday, Sept. 28, to talk about the study findings and to discuss the strategies that NIH is implementing to address the disparities.

“In order to improve the health outcomes of all Americans, it’s important for the biomedical workforce to reflect the diversity of the population,” said Dr. Ginther in the commentary published with the study. “As the population becomes increasingly diverse, we will continue to get further from that goal unless the community intervenes.”

“Biomedical research is rapidly evolving into areas that require extensive team science, translation of basic science to clinical application and population studies, as well as utilization of innovative approaches from other disciplines and technologies. Therefore, this study has particular significance at UMMS as we work to recruit, retain and advance underrepresented minorities and women in biomedical research,” said Jean King, PhD, vice chair and professor of psychiatry.

Co-sponsored by the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Office, Center for Health Equity Intervention Research, Office of Research, Department of Psychiatry and Office of Faculty Affairs, the talk NIH Funding: Expanding Participation in Biomedical Research will take place in the Faculty Conference Room in the Medical School building from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for lunch. RSVP to Fernanda.Gama@umassmed.edu. This event is part of the Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series.

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