Genomics research is shaping the future of medicine. For these advances of this research to benefit everyone more equally and improve health equity, it is important that the diversity of the study participants reflect the diversity of the population. It is also necessary to understand ethical, legal and social issues including utilization of genomic information, access to genomic services, and how genomics is perceived by different communities.
How Does Genomics Relate to Health Disparities?
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) wants to ensure that all populations benefit from the advances of genomics research, and have the opportunity to participate in various ways, such as becoming research scientists, research participants and policy makers. It is important for everyone to be informed about genomics research and to understand the ethical, legal and social implications resulting from genetics and genomics research.
NHGRI is committed to improving health disparities through new and ongoing efforts across the Institute. There are multiple efforts at the intramural, extramural, and policy levels aimed at ensuring genomics benefits everyone.
For example, the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) program is an effort of NHGRI's Division of Genomic Medicine and Division of Genomics and Society, in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute, to support research into the adoption and application of genomic sequencing in clinical care. The program focuses on the development and dissemination of best practices, as well as the ethical, legal, and psychosocial implications of bringing genomic data into clinical decision-making.
CSER recently issued a continuation of the program (CSER2) including a U01 research project focused on Clinical Sites with Enhanced Diversity. The program aims to recruit a minimum of 60 percent of patients who come from racial or ethnic minority populations, underserved populations, or populations who experience poorer medical outcomes.
Meetings and Activities
Genomics and Health Disparities Lecture Series
A series of lectures to enhance opportunities for dialogue about how innovations in genomics research and technology can help address health disparities. Topics range from basic science to translational research.
Genomics and Health Disparities Interest Group
The Genomics and Health Disparities Interest Group provides a forum to connect individuals from different scientific disciplines across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and researchers in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area engaged in genomics and health disparities research, as well as provide opportunities for professional development, networking and community engagement.
Workshop on the Use of Race and Ethnicity in Genomics and Biomedical Research
On October 24-25, 2016, NHGRI and NIMHD co-sponsored a workshop that examined the complex relationships between individual identity, genetics and health, including how these descriptors influence minority health and health disparities 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.
Training and Career Development
NHGRI and NIH offer both intramural and extramural programsdesigned to encourage the recruitment of underrepresented minorities into genomics-related research. Opportunities are available at all career levels from high school to faculty.
Diversity Action Plan
NHGRI is committed to enhancing the pool of individuals from diverse backgrounds who have the training to pursue careers in genome sciences, genomic medicine, and genomics and society research. Genome sciences and genomic medicine research offer tremendous opportunities for improving human health, and genomics and society research offers the chance to not only improve human health, but also to explore some of the most profound ethical, legal and social issues of our time.
To help accomplish this goal, on June 27, 2016, NHGRI released a Funding Opportunity Announcement entitled Initiative to Maximize Research Education in Genomics: Diversity Action Plan (R25). Letters of Intent are due 30 days before application due date.
Training Opportunities at the NIH Campus
The NIH Academy offers trainees the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues. The NIH Academy trains future researchers and physician scientists to actively engage in promoting a society in which all people live healthy lives and have equal access to health care. Postbacs can choose between two different NIH Academy Programs 1) The NIH Academy Certificate Program and 2) The NIH Academy Fellows Program.
Other Opportunities at the NIH Campus
- Graduate Partnerships Program
- Summer Internship Program
- Undergraduate Scholarship Program [training.nih.gov]
- Postdoctoral Programs at the NIH [training.nih.gov] (T32)
- NHGRI Postdoctoral Training Programs in Genomic Medicine Research
- Institutional Training Grants (T32) - Genomic Science
- NHGRI Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08):
Extramural Research Training Opportunities
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.
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.
Last updated: August 4, 2022