Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán’s bipartisan bill, the John Lewis National Institutes on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Endowment Revitalization Act, passed the House of Representatives on voice vote on April 14.
The Research Endowment Program at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) provides funding to the endowments of academic institutions across the country. This bill will once again allow for current and former NIMHD or Health Resources and Services Administration Centers of Excellence to receive research endowment funding, money that is critical in the fight to reduce minority health disparities.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted and brought increased public awareness to the enormous scope and scale of public health disparities in our country,” said Congresswoman Barragán. “It’s fitting that this bill comes before us during National Minority Health Month, because this legislation is a necessary step towards ending the public health disparities facing communities of color. We need to understand why people in minority communities, like those in my district, are more likely to get certain illnesses. It’s a tragic reality in minority communities across the country, but solutions are out there. The increased funding will directly benefit schools like Charles Drew University in Willowbrook, a leading historically Black medical institution in my district. This legislation is critical to communities throughout my district because it will fund the research that will help us find solutions and save lives.”
“It’s fitting that this bill comes before us during National Minority Health Month, because this legislation is a necessary step towards ending the public health disparities facing communities of color.”
Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán
The legislation would increase investments in schools conducting critical research into minority health disparities. The program’s goals are to promote minority health and health disparities research capacity and infrastructure, increase the diversity and strength of the scientific workforce, and enhance the recruitment and retention of individuals from health disparity populations that are underrepresented in the scientific workforce.
In supporting the critical role this legislation will play in researching disparities, Charles Drew University in California’s 44th Congressional District provided the following statement:
“Restoring eligibility would allow the University to continue its historic focus on research to close the gap between the burden of illness and premature mortality experienced more commonly by communities of color, as well as other medically underserved populations, as compared to the nation as a whole. It would also help to grow and enhance the University’s capacity and infrastructure for health disparities research within the Urban Health Institute.”
The full text of the bill is here.
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