On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) designating $10.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use over fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Of this amount, $7.4 billion will be allocated for the NIH Institutes and Centers, $1 billion will be invested in extramural construction (administered through the National Center for Research Resources), $0.8 billion will be provided to the Office of the NIH Director for extending and developing appropriate programs, and $400 million will be allocated to support Comparative Effectiveness Research. NIH is grateful for the opportunity afforded by the ARRA to provide economic stimulus to the nation while furthering our mission to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone.
The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) will receive approximately $52 million. This is an unparalleled opportunity for the NCMHD to bolster the health disparities research enterprise by engaging a broad range of partners in a variety of scientific efforts aimed at improving the health of individuals experiencing disparities in health status, while boosting the economy in communities around the country.
NCMHD will use a variety of mechanisms to provide two years of funding only, to support proposals that are consistent with the purpose of the ARRA to: a) preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery; b) assist those most impacted by the recession; and c) provide investments to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health.
Funding opportunities will be available through the NCMHD for new and existing grantees to stimulate a number of initiatives in support of our mission. We are seeking to jumpstart initiatives and expand innovative approaches in areas such as prison health, rural health, biological and non-biological determinants of health, telehealth, training of the health workforce, and training of community health workers. Collaborations and partnerships that promote community participation and mobilization are pivotal in advancing our research efforts to address health disparities.
In addition to NCMHD funding, there are a number of opportunities being offered through the other NIH Institutes and Centers and the NIH Office of the Director, which can be accessed through their individual websites. Of particular interest is the NIH Challenge Grant program which has 15 broad challenge areas. The NCMHD has identified a total of 11 specific topics under the challenge areas of bioethics, clinical research, comparative effectiveness research, enabling technologies, and health disparities. Applicants may request up to $500,000 in funding per year not to exceed two years. More information about the program is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/challenge_award/
As Director of the NCMHD, I am pleased about the investment in health that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will allow us to make towards the elimination of health disparities in communities throughout this nation. We will be able to further our work in enhancing scientific knowledge to address diseases and health conditions of major public health importance that affect health disparity populations. It will take all of us working together with transparency and accountability to fulfill the intent of the Recovery Act.