NIH News Release
National Institute
of Nursing Research (NINR)

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Linda Cook, NINR
(301) 496-0209

New Initiative to Reduce Health Disparities Announced by the National Institute of Nursing Research

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is establishing a five-year program that creates eight new Centers to address health disparities research. Each Center involves a partnership between the schools of nursing of two or three universities — those with established research programs that focus on health disparities, and those that are developing research programs in this area and have a significant number of minority nursing students.

The initiative is jointly supported by NINR and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), both part of NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services. A total of approximately $15 million will be committed for the program.

"These Partnership Centers represent an aggressive approach to address the health imbalances in our society," said Patricia A. Grady, Ph.D., Director of the NINR. "Although nursing has long incorporated ethnic and cultural factors in research, the partnership mechanism emphasizes a new way of sharing expertise to increase both the number of health disparities studies and the number of minority nurse researchers. The fact that disparities in minorities' health and healthcare exist in our country is something that must change," she said.

According to Dr. John Ruffin, Director of NCMHD, "These Centers are a crucial step in the NIH effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. Nurses are the healthcare professionals in the forefront of interacting with the public, particularly with our more vulnerable members, on matters pertaining to health." He also indicated that "Our nation needs scientifically-based interventions that work against health disparities throughout our entire society. That's why it is so important that nursing research, including research stimulated by these new Centers, receive strong support from both the Federal government and the private sector."

There is compelling evidence that minority populations have shorter life expectancies and higher rates of birth defects, infant mortality, cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. What is needed is more information about why this is happening and what can be done about it.

The Centers will focus on influential factors that reduce health disparities, such as ways to promote healthy behaviors, reduce risks that contribute to chronic illnesses, stimulate personal, family and community resources to help manage disease, and develop ethnically and culturally sensitive healthcare interventions.

The eight Partnership Centers involve schools of nursing at the institutions listed below:

  1. The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
    North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro
  2. University of California, San Francisco
    University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences, San Juan
  3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
  4. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
    North Carolina Central University, Durham
    Winston-Salem State University
  5. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    Hampton University, Hampton, VA
  6. University of Texas, Austin
    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  7. University of Washington, Seattle
    University of Hawaii, Honolulu
  8. Yale University, New Haven, CT
    Howard University, Washington, D.C.

More information about nursing research is available at the NINR website at