March 31, 2021

UNITE badgeNIH recently established the UNITE initiative to address structural racism and promote equitable representation and inclusion at NIH and throughout the larger biomedical research enterprise. UNITE will perform a broad, systematic self-evaluation to identify elements that may perpetuate structural racism and lead to a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion within NIH and the larger research community. These efforts are part of an overall effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to respond to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Federal workplace. More information is available here

As part of UNITE, the NIH Common Fund issued two funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) to bolster innovation, solve challenges, address health disparities, and advance health equity: 

  • RFA-RM-21-021. Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed) 
  • RFA-RM-21-022. Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity at Minority Serving Institutions (U01 Clinical Trial Allowed)

The FOAs will support collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose unusually innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact in developing, disseminating, or implementing innovative and effective interventions and/or strategies that prevent, reduce, or eliminate health disparities and inequities. Additionally, RFA-RM-21-022 is expected to increase the competitiveness of investigators and expand the research base dedicated to health disparities research at minority-serving institutions. Research addressing community-prioritized research questions, cross-cutting issues such as social determinants of health across sectors, multilevel systems that contribute to health disparities, and/or priority areas of multiple NIH Institutes and Centers are particularly encouraged.

NIH staff intend to hold a pre-application webinar for interested prospective applicants. The webinar date and other details will be posted on https://commonfund.nih.gov/healthdisparitiestransformation

NIH staff will also be available to answer questions related to these FOAs. Answers to frequently asked questions are available at https://commonfund.nih.gov/healthdisparitiestransformation/faqs.  

All applications are due on May 28, 2021, by 5:00 p.m. (local time of applicant organization). If you have questions about the FOAs, please email CFHealthDisparities@nih.gov.