The AAMC July 13 submitted a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to help guide the development of a 10-year scientific vision for health disparities research. The request for information was published on April 17, 2015.
In its letter, the AAMC supports NIMHD’s efforts to develop a transformational agenda that ensures the NIMHD and NIH remain global leaders in addressing health disparities. The AAMC offered comments across three domains: the causes of health and healthcare inequities; methods and metrics to strengthen the science of health equity research; and the identification and dissemination of interventions successful at minimizing inequities.
In the letter, the AAMC stresses the importance of community engagement and urges the NIMHD to actively engage all communities that suffer from disproportionate morbidity and mortality in the development of the 10-year plan.
The AAMC commends the NIMHD for taking steps to begin a cross-Institute and Center (IC) vision for health disparities research and suggests that in order to facilitate a more unified approach, NIH should develop common definitions for terms such as health disparity/inequity and health disparities research. This unified approach will aid in the identification of gaps in the current and historical NIH health equity research portfolio.
While the development of common foundational concepts are key to the vision, the AAMC also recommends the NIMHD continue to promote community engagement throughout the research process, to align data across systems, and to incentivize cross-site research collaborations as methods to strengthen the science of health equity.
Lastly, the AAMC recommends NIHMD work with other ICs as well as other federal agencies to provide funding for health equity research focused on implementation and evaluation of potential solutions to health inequities. In order to maximize the impact of these efforts, NIHMD is encouraged to engage with various stakeholders about how to communicate and broadly disseminate results of solution-focused health equity research to all audiences.