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Initiatives and Resources for Minority and Special Populations

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

Genomics and Health Disparities Meetings

Genomics and Health Disparities Lecture Series
A series of lectures, inaugurated in May 2015, to enhance opportunities for dialogue about how innovations in genomics research and technology can impact health disparities. Topics range from basic science to translational research.

Inclusion and Engagement of Underrepresented Populations in Genomics
A roundtable discussion held September 16, 2015 to discuss the current status of the engagement and inclusion of underrepresented populations in genomics research.

Activities and Opportunities

  • Minority Action Plan (MAP) Portal
    An entry portal for students interested in research careers in genome science and the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genome research. It is also designed to facilitate meaningful exchange between program coordinators and Principal Investigators (PI).
  • Collaborative Research
    Because some diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and prostate cancer disproportionately affect minority populations, NHGRI recognizes the importance of including minorities in studies of such diseases and their impact on minority communities. NHGRI has initiated several research collaborations designed to increase the involvement of minorities as both research participants and scientific investigators.
  • Community Outreach and Public Education
    The participation of minorities in genomic research is crucial for both the quality and value of the science. NHGRI has developed and organized several different approaches to helping the general public and minority communities in particular understand both the science and implications of genomic research.
  • Funding Opportunities
    Research, career-development, training and education grants for researchers, faculty and students. NHGRI encourages members of minority and special populations to apply for all of these available funding opportunities.
  • FAQs for Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity, and for Policies Related to Parental Leave and Child Care

Conferences, Meetings and Reports


Vence L. Bonham, Jr., J.D.
Senior Advisor to the NHGRI Director on Genomics and Health Disparities
Office of the Director
E-mail: bonhamv@mail.nih.gov

Bettie Graham, Ph.D.
Program Director, Genome Research Training and Career Development
Division of Extramural Operations
E-mail: bettie_graham@nih.gov

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Last Updated: March 31, 2016