Skip Over Navigation Links
NIH National Institutes of Health, DHHS
NIH Home PageHealth InformationGrants & Funding OpportunitiesNewsResearch Training & Scientific Resources at NIHInstitutes, Centers & OfficesAbout NIH
Building 1
Advanced Search Page
Home > About NIH > NIH Almanac > Organization

NIH Almanac - Organization

About the Almanac
Historical Data
Major NIH Lectures
Nobel Laureates
Past Issues
NCMHD logo   National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Mission | Important Events | Legisltive Chronology | Director


The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports, and assesses the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. The NCMHD works independently and in partnership with the NIH Institutes and Centers and with other Federal agencies and grassroots organizations in minority and in other medically underserved communities to:

  • Conduct and support basic, clinical, social sciences and behavioral health disparities research and research training.
  • Strengthen the infrastructure of qualified research institutions that conduct health disparities research and training.
  • Increase the participation of minorities and other medically underserved populations in clinical research.
  • Promote outreach and the dissemination of health information to medically underserved populations.
  • Develop a culturally sensitive cadre of researchers and clinicians dedicated to eradicating health disparities

Important Events in NCMHD History

1990 – The Office of Research on Minority Health (ORMH) was established, with the encouragement of Congress, by the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH).

1991 – The ORMH convened an advisory Fact-Finding Team (FFT) to conduct three regional conferences with grassroots constituencies. The FFT issued a report with 13 recommendations from the community that guided the initial efforts of the ORMH.

1992 – The Minority Health Initiative (MHI), the centerpiece of the ORMH agenda, was launched and initially funded at $45 million. This multi-year biomedical and behavioral research and research training program co-funds through its partnerships 1) interventions to improve prenatal health and reduce infant mortality; 2) studies of childhood and adolescent lead poisoning; HIV infection and AIDS; and alcohol and drug use; 3) research in adult populations focused on cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders, asthma, visual impairments, and alcohol abuse; and 4) training for faculty and for students at all stages of the educational pipeline – from precollege and undergraduate through graduate and postdoctoral levels.

1992 – The ORMH initiated a study designed to present an overview of NIH extramural research training programs for minority students and to assess the feasibility of conducting a trans-NIH assessment of these programs.

1993 – Public Law 103-43, the Health Revitalization Act of 1993, established the Office of Research on Minority Health in the Office of the Director, NIH.

1994 – The National Conference on Minority Health Research and Research Training was held in Chicago.

1996 – Conferences were held in Honolulu, Hawaii; Miami, Florida; and Puerto Rico to inform ORMH constituencies of the progress made, to solicit feedback on those achievements, and to obtain information on the needs of minority populations.

1997 – The Advisory Committee on Research on Minority Health was established to provide advice to the Director, ORMH, and to the Director, NIH, regarding research and research training with respect to minority health issues.

1998 – The first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health was held.

2000 – The ORMH celebrated its 10th anniversary.

2000 – The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities was established by the passage of the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000, Public Law 106-525, which was signed by the President of the United States on November 22, 2000.

2001 – Dr. John Ruffin was sworn in as the first director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

2001 – Programs mandated by Congress were implemented to expand the infrastructure of Institutions committed to health disparities research and to encourage the recruitment and retention of highly qualified minority and other scientists in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health services research: (1) the Endowment Program, (2) the Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research, and (3) the Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds.

2002 – The Congressionally mandated program, Project EXPORT – Centers of Excellence, was launched.

2002 – The first National Advisory Council of the NCMHD was convened.

2002 – The NCMHD assumed responsibility for the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Program (RIMI).

2003 – The first NIH Strategic Research Plan and Budget to Reduce and Ultimately Eliminate Health Disparities was issued.

2004 – The NCMHD assumed responsibility for the Minority International Research Training Program (MIRT).

NCMHD Legislative History

1993 – P.L. 103-43, the Health Revitalization Act of 1993, established the Office of Research on Minority Health in the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health.

2000 – P.L. 106-525, Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000, established the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Biographical Sketch of NCMHD Director John Ruffin, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruffin was appointed the first director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on January 9, 2001. In this role he leads the NIH effort to address health disparities in racial and ethnic populations and in other medically underserved populations, including the urban and rural poor. The former director of the NIH Office of Research on Minority Health, NIH, Dr. Ruffin developed the largest program in the country promoting biomedical research and research training. A native of New Orleans, Lousiana, Dr. Ruffin received his Baccalaureate degree from Dillard University and a Master’s degree from Atlanta University. He earned a Ph.D. at Kansas State University in systematic and developmental biology and then pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University.

Dr. Ruffin's professional life has been devoted to improving the health status of minority populations in the United States and to developing and supporting education programs for minority researchers and health care practitioners. Prior to joining the NIH, he was Dean of the College of Arts and Science at North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Ruffin's life-long commitment to academic excellence and promotion of numerous partnerships with government, private industry, and academic institutions to support minority health research and research training have earned him much recognition. He has received Samuel L. Kountz Award for his significant contribution to the cause of increasing access and participation in organ and tissue transplantation in minorities, the NIH Director's Award, the National Hispanic Leadership Award, the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society Award, the National Medical Association Award of Appreciation, a Special Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and most recently the Presidential Merit Award.

NCHMD Directors

In Office From
John Ruffin January 2001 present
This page was last reviewed on June 21, 2005 .

[ Q&A About NIH | Jobs at NIH | Visitor Information | FOIA ]
[ Telephone & Service Directory | Employee Information | Información en español ]

[ Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Disclaimers | Accessibility | Site Map | Search ]

N I H logo - link to the National Institutes of Health

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

    H H S logo - link to U. S. Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Health
and Human Services


  Link to USA Gov Web Site - The U.S. government's official web portal