Media Advisory

Friday, December 12, 2008

NIH Summit Explores Science of Health Disparities

What: The National Institutes of Health will host the largest national conference ever on health disparities. This is the first summit of its kind. It involves all of the NIH Institutes and Centers and brings together more than 3000 national and international clinicians, researchers, policy leaders, academicians, and community leaders to highlight recent progress made in addressing health disparities, and to redefine the agenda for the health disparities research.

When: December 16 – 18, 2008 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.

Why: Advances in science, medicine, and technology offer the potential to improve health, but large segments of the population defined by race, ethnicity, geography, gender, or socio-economics are not deriving equal benefits from these advances.

"Health disparities research is key in our quest to improve the health of all Americans," said Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., Acting Director, NIH. "This summit represents the multidisciplinary scientific progress that the NIH has made to understand health disparities, and underscores the significance of partnerships to eliminate this complex issue."

The theme of this Summit is the intersection of science, practice, and policy. "The elimination of health disparities will require a wide spectrum of approaches," said John Ruffin, Ph.D., Director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, which is sponsoring the Summit. “Continual improvement and integration of different paradigms is fundamental in understanding and identifying real solutions to health disparities.”

The Summit will highlight many of the complex biological and non-biological factors that influence health outcomes. Sessions will offer best practice models in research, training, career development, clinical intervention, community outreach, and policy, being applied in communities around the nation and in different countries. "Our strategy cannot be isolated or stagnant, it will take all of us working together to eliminate health disparities." said Dr. Ruffin.

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.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 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. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®