The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) wants to ensure that all populations are knowledgeable about the science underpinning the Human Genome Project and genomics research, and have the opportunity to participate in various ways, such as becoming research scientists, research participants and policy makers.

Overview

The Human Genome Project, perhaps the greatest scientific endeavor of the 21st century, has changed the way medicine is practiced and how research is conducted in the future. It is important for everyone to be informed about continuing genomic research and to understand the ethical, legal and social implications resulting from genetics and genomics research.

In May 2001, the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research approved the Action Plan which outlines clear goals for the inclusion of underrepresented minority groups in research training, research collaborations, and education and outreach activities supported by all components of the institute. This document serves as the blueprint for NHGRI's implementation plan.

In April 2002, the NHGRI convened a meeting to explore new and innovative ideas and models to increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing research careers in genomics and related sciences. The Minority Action Plan was approved by NHGRI's National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research in May 2002; its name was subsequently changed to the Diversity Action Plan (DAP). The goal has been to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented minority (URM) groups that are trained to pursue research in the fields of genomics and/or ELSI research. Certain NHGRI large grant classes were mandated to have DAP training activities (Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS), large-scale sequencing centers and databases). T32 training programs were encouraged to have training activities for URM undergraduate and graduate students. Tracking of individuals who participated in the program in order to measure progress was a requirement of the initiative, and a Data Analysis and Coordinating Center was funded in 2008.

In 2014, NHGRI restructured the DAP program in several ways, and removed the mandatory requirement, making DAP participation for certain NHGRI grant classes optional. In 2016, the DAP program shifted from closed competition to open-competition with the re-issue of the DAP Funding Opportunity Announcement, thus expanding the number and types of grants that could apply for DAP support. While no longer limited to association with certain NHGRI programs, proposals must fit within the scientific mission of NHGRI. Applicants should provide evidence that during the duration of the grant the institution will have a significant number of NIH peer-reviewed research projects in one or more of the following areas: genome sciences, genomic medicine and genomics and society, in order to provide participants with a variety of experiences. The research and educational experiences should focus on these genomic areas and not focus on particular disease(s) or health conditions.

A Research Training Advisory Committee provides guidance to the overall training program and includes one or more members of NHGRI Council.

Collaborative Research

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) recognizes the importance of including minorities in genetic disease research. NHGRI has several examples of ongoing research collaborations that focus on training minority scientists and on understanding the genetic basis of diseases that disproportionately affect minorities. Opportunities exist to establish new research collaborations to build on the successes of this effort.

In addition to the direct scientific benefits these collaborations will offer, they also will contribute to NHGRI's goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities participating in genomic and Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) research.

NHGRI research studies and collaborations focused on diseases and conditions affecting minority populations

Community Outreach and Public Education

The participation of underrepresented minorities in genomic research is crucial for both the quality and value of the science. NHGRI has developed and organized several different approaches to help minority communities and the general public understand both the science and the implications of genomic research. Educational activities, programs and materials help minority communities and the general public understand the implications of genome-related research.

Research Training and Career Development

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer both intraumural and extramural programs designed to encourage the recruitment of underrepresented minorities into genome-related research. Opportunities are available at all career levels from high school to faculty.

Research Training Opportunities at the NIH Campus

T32 Institutional Training Grants

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) supports a series of Institutional Training Grants that provide support for both pre- and post-doctoral students in the genomic sciences with the objective of enabling researchers to take full advantage of available genomic data and resources to solve biomedical problems.

Below is a list of universities currently receiving funding for institutional training grants. Usually, a prospective applicant will have already been admitted to the corresponding university graduate program and applies for a training grant slot early in their graduate education. This resource, however, should by no means be limited to already enrolled students and/or post docs. The decision on where to apply for graduate school is multifaceted and this table can provide a means for exploring available opportunities at participating universities. If you are considering applying to graduate school in the research sciences you are strongly urged to contact the appropriate person and ask questions.

NOT-OD-09-074: Enhancing Peer Review: The NIH Announces Consolidation of Review Criteria for Institutional Research Training Grant Applications (T32) Submitted for FY 2010 Funding

Training Opportunities in NHGRI-Supported Research Laboratories

Beside the regular training mechanisms, such as individual pre-doctoral and post-doctoral, and career development awards, the NHGRI provides additional opportunities for research training through our funded training grants, Centers of Excellence in Genomic Science, sequence production and database centers. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact the program director or principal investigators. The contact information is provided below.

Sequence Production Centers

Richard Gibbs, Baylor College of Medicine
E-mail: agibbs@bcm.tmc.edu

Robert Waterston, Ph.D., Washington University
E-mail: bwaterst@watson.wustl.edu

Eric Lander, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute
E-mail: lander@genome.wi.mit.edu

Databases

Paul Sternberg, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
E-mail: pws@caltech.edu

William Gelbart, Ph.D., Harvard University
E-mail: gelbart@morgan.harvard.edu

Janan Eppig, Ph.D., Jackson Laboratory
E-mail: jte@jax.org

Michael Cherry, Ph.D., Stanford University
E-mail: cherry@stanford.edu

David Haussler, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz
E-mail: haussler@cse.ucsc.edu

Meetings and Reports

NHGRI leads and contributes to a variety of workshops, lectures, and other meetings to help increase the number of individuals from underrepresented minority groups who understand and participate in genomics research.

Contacts

Bettie Graham, Ph.D.
Bettie J. Graham, Ph.D.
  • Director
  • Division of Extramural Operations
Vence L. Bonham, Jr., J.D.
Vence L. Bonham Jr, J.D.
  • Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities
  • Office of the Director

Last updated: February 3, 2017