National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

Photo of NIMHD building exterior


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.

Many populations in America, whether defined by race, ethnicity, immigrant status, disability, sex, gender, or geography, experience higher rates of certain diseases and more deaths and suffering from them compared with the general population. While the diversity of the American population is one of the nation’s greatest assets, one of its greatest challenges is reducing the profound disparity in health status of its racial and ethnic minority, rural, low-income, and other underserved populations.

The examination of biological factors is fundamental in understanding the development and progression of diseases and has traditionally been the focus of research on minority health and health disparities. NIMHD has been a leader in increasing the scientific community’s focus on non-biological factors such as socioeconomics, politics, discrimination, culture, and environment in relation to health disparities.

NIMHD invests in research and fosters collaborations and partnerships to promote and support evidence-based science to inform practice and policy. Its programs and initiatives provide a leading edge in enhancing the scientific knowledge base and designing interventions to improve health outcomes to reduce and ultimately lead to the elimination of health disparities.

Through NIMHD’s leadership, health disparities has become a recognized scientific field of study, which has evolved from documenting and investigating differences in health status and risk factors among affected populations, to addressing health disparities using traditional and non-traditional research approaches.

Health Disparity Populations

NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations include:

  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Asian Americans
  • Blacks/African Americans
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged pop

Mission and Vision

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
  • 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 Initiative to Reduce Disparities in Multiple Chronic Diseases

NIMHD has awarded funds to 11 research institutions to establish and support regional comprehensive research centers on the prevention, treatment, and management of comorbid chronic diseases that disproportionately affect populations with health disparities. These Multiple Chronic Disease (MCD) Centers received grants, totaling almost $205 million including funds committed over a five-year period, that will facilitate research on chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, stroke, and certain cancers. This program is authorized under Public Law 116-260, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. 

This research network is comprised of:

  • 11 Research Centers (P50s) – Regional comprehensive research centers on the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic diseases associated with health disparities.
  • Research Coordinating Center (U24)The RCC will coordinate activities across all of the chronic disease centers, including data collection; promoting collaboration and communication among investigators and the broader research community; promoting skills development of early stage investigators; coordinating and managing in-person and/or virtual meetings; and facilitating community engagement efforts.