DrugFacts: NIDA's Opportunities for Special Populations

Published September 2009


NIDA’s Special Populations Office (SPO) has two goals: (1) to ensure that issues related to health disparities are adequately and appropriately represented in the Institute’ss extramural research programs and (2) to increase the number of underrepresented scientists participating in drug abuse research. SPO’s programs and initiatives for achieving these goals are described below.


Special Populations Research Development Seminar Series
This series provides technical assistance on drug abuse research grants/proposal development to scholars underrepresented in the field of drug abuse and addiction through intensive one-on-one and small group sessions. Additional information about the Special Populations Research Development Seminar Series can be obtained from Flair Lindsey at 301–443–0441 or

Diversity Supplements
Diversity supplements are provided to existing NIH research grants in order to support individuals from groups that are underrepresented in the sciences-specifically, individuals from racial/ethnic minority populations, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from certain disadvantaged backgrounds, who want to pursue a research career. Diversity supplements provide up to 5 years of funding to support the research training experience of promising candidates working with current NIDA investigators. Additional information about Diversity Supplements can be obtained from Pamela Goodlow at 301–443–0441 or

Diversity-Promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP)
This program is designed to increase the drug abuse and addiction research capacity of institutions that historically and/or currently serve students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. Faculty, student, and research development plans are major components of the program. Additional information about DIDARP can be obtained from Lula Beatty at 301–443–0441 or

Summer Research with NIDA
This program, a component of the Diversity Supplement program, introduces high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to drug abuse research through research placements with NIDA grantees. Students work with the grantees for 8-10 weeks during the summer. The experience may include formal courses, participation in meetings, data collection activities, data analysis, laboratory experiments, manuscript preparation, and library research. Applicants must be at least 15 years old, U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently enrolled in high school or college, and in good academic standing. Applicants under 18 years old can be placed only at research sites within daily commuting distance of their home. Additional information about the Summer Research with NIDA program can be obtained from Tamara Willis at 301–443–0441 or

Summer Internship Program at the Intramural Research Program (IRP) Facility
This program, held at NIDA’ss IRP facility in Baltimore, Maryland, provides hands-on research experience, from experimental design to data analysis, interpretation, and presentation. Students gain basic science and/or clinical laboratory experience, attend student seminars, and participate in a summer poster presentation. The program supports students who are 16 years of age or older who are enrolled at least half-time in high school, have finished high school, or are attending an accredited U.S. college or university. To be eligible, candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. NIDA is particularly interested in recruiting students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and from racial/ethnic groups whose participation in science has been traditionally limited. Additional information about the Summer Internship Program can be obtained from Christie Brannock at 443–740–2657 or


NIDA Researchers and Scholars Expert Work Groups
NIDA supports external diversity work groups comprised of experts in the areas of substance abuse and addiction or of health concerns of individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds. The three working groups — African–American, Asian–American/Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaska Native Researchers and Scholars Work Groups — provide recommendations to the NIDA Director and staff on research and research development needs of their particular communities that will lead to effective prevention and treatment approaches.

National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse
This network is dedicated to improving the health of Hispanics by increasing the quality of research on drug abuse and fostering the development of scientists addressing drug abuse research in Hispanic populations. For details on this program, visit

Other Information Sources

For additional information on opportunities for special populations, please visit the NIDA Web site at

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