DHHS, NIH News  
National Center on Minority Health
and Health Disparities (NCMHD)

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

George A. Strait

NCMHD Announces HIV/AIDS Expert as New Senior Policy Advisor

Idalia Ramos Sanchez, a longtime fighter for health equity especially as it relates to HIV/AIDS, has been appointed senior policy advisor at the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH). She will serve as the primary legislative liaison within the Division of Scientific Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis (DSSPPA). DSSPPA is the coordination arm for the development of NCMHD's strategic plan and responsible for assessing and highlighting NIH's overall effort to eliminate health disparities.

"The Center is undertaking critically important work in understanding the nature of the health disparities that afflict so many Americans and how to eliminate them," said John Ruffin, Ph.D., NCMHD director. "Ms. Sanchez's extensive policy and legislative experience will help us shape programs to meet congressional intent and provide policy guidance to our grantees."

Sanchez has spent 25 years in public health, most of them fighting HIV/AIDS. She has held policy positions in which she could make sure that scarce resources were spent in the most effective manner to help disproportionately impacted persons — the uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved communities.

"Having played a role in 2000 in the research and writing of the minority health disparities bill which created the center, I have always felt linked to NCMHD and the importance of its mission," said Sanchez. "I look forward to using my policy development and legislative background to help the Center bring fairness and equity in research, care and treatment for all Americans."

Prior to coming to NCMHD, Sanchez was the associate director for policy in the HIV/AIDS Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In all she worked for 10 years at HRSA. Sanchez began her public health career at the Department of Public Health in Hartford, Connecticut. She is widely published and often asked to participate on prestigious review panels concerning HIV/AIDS issues.

Sanchez holds a M.P.H., from Yale University and B.A from Wesleyan University.

The NCMHD is a component of the NIH. The NCMHD promotes minority health and leads, coordinates, supports and assesses the NIH effort to eliminate health disparities. The NCMHD programs focus on expanding the nation's ability to conduct research and to build a diverse culturally-competent research workforce to eliminate health disparities.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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