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NIH Academy Frequently Asked Questions

When will I be notified of my acceptance into the 2012-2013 NIH Academy Program?

All applicants will be notified of their status on Friday, August 31, 2012.

What is the NIH Academy?
The NIH Academy offers NIH postbaccalaureate trainees the opportunity to learn about health disparities, enhance their knowledge of gaps in health outcomes, and investigate what is being done to address health disparity issues. The NIH Academy trains future researchers and health care providers to actively engage in promoting a society in which all people live healthy lives and have equal access to health care. Participants can choose between the NIH Academy Certificate Program and the NIH Academy Fellows Program.

What is the difference between the two program options?
Academy participants have two options: they can choose to earn a NIH Academy Certificate or apply to become an NIH Academy Fellow. The Certificate Program is for trainees who are interested in learning more about health disparities but who may not have previous exposure to or knowledge of the field, while the NIH Academy Fellows Program is a more in-depth experience targeted for fellows who are passionate about a career incorporating health disparities.

What are the 2012 start and end dates for the program?
The NIH Academy will begin September 18th and will end May 7th.

When does the NIH Academy meet?

The NIH Academy meets on Tuesday evenings from 4-6:30 PM.

Who is eligible to participate in the NIH Academy?
All current Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Awardees (Postbac IRTAs), Cancer Research Training Awardees (Postbac CRTAs) and Technical IRTA/CRTAs at the NIH are eligible to participate in the Academy, as are individuals who have accepted a position as an IRTA/CRTA. If you are not currently a Postbac IRTA but want to be a part of the NIH Academy you must first apply to the NIH Postbac IRTA program and be accepted into a research group. When preparing your application, please take advantage of the advice to applicants and FAQs included on the program page. Reading all the information available will greatly increase your success of being offered a position. Once you are accepted into the Postbac IRTA Program, you can apply to the Academy.

How do I apply to the NIH Academy?
After acceptance into the IRTA/CRTA program, you must be able to submit proof of acceptance into an NIH research group. Please complete the online application by clicking on the link in the sidebar, paying special attention to the letter of interest which should address your interest in health disparities. Include any relevant experience you have working with or learning about vulnerable populations.

What is the deadline for applications?
Cover letters will be accepted until 5 PM August 1, 2012. Please note you must have an invitation to join a lab by mid-August with a start date no later than September 15th, 2012.

What is the selection procedure?
Once you have received an offer to work as a Postbac or Technical IRTA/CRTA in an NIH research group and have submitted your online application, an NIH Academy Selection Committee will determine if you are a good fit for the program based on your demonstration of interest and commitment to health disparities.

When will I be notified if I am selected?
You will receive notification of your status by mid to late August.

Does the NIH provide housing?

No. The NIH Academy does not have a residential component. Some suggestions that may help you find a place to live include:

  • The Moving Guide prepared by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education provides housing suggestions along with information on virtually everything you will need to know about moving to Bethesda, Baltimore, or Frederick, MD.
  • The NIH Recreation & Welfare Association housing list contains information on numerous rentals convenient to the main NIH campus in Bethesda.

NOTE: the NIH is on the Red Line of the D.C. Metro at the Medical Center stop. Getting around via Metro is generally a good choice.

Are stipends or salaries provided by the Office of Intramural Training and Education?
No, the Institute where the trainee works pays the stipend.

How can I get information about health disparities research being conducted at NIH?
Each NIH Institute or Center with an intramural research program has its own plan for eliminating health disparities. For more information, see

What information should I include in my letter of interest?

All trainees interested in the NIH Academy should submit a letter of interest for acceptance.  It is best to highlight your interest in health disparities and any experience that you've had or experience that you would like to acquire.  We would also like to hear about how health disparities may fit into your career goals.  You are encouraged to inform us of which program you are interested in and why.  Lastly, please provide information regarding research that you have done in the past and/or are currently working on (this research experience does not have to be related to health disparities).