The Society Begins Dialogue with Health Disparities Institute

As part of its comprehensive advocacy program, The Endocrine Society regularly meets with the leadership of relevant institutes and centers in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These high-level meetings serve to raise the profile of endocrinology among NIH research portfolios and to advance the Society’s initiatives and goals that are in common with those of the NIH. Society leaders use these meetings to identify priority research areas and to discuss potential collaborative efforts. Over the years, the Society has met with the leadership of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Institute on Aging.

On September 12, 2012, Society leadership and staff met with senior leaders of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to discuss the Society’s and the Institute’s objectives and potential areas of collaboration. This was the first meeting between the Society’s leadership and that of NIMHD. Given the Society’s continued focus on health disparities, Society leaders anticipate ongoing discussion and cooperation with the Institute. During this inaugural meeting, participants discussed the Society’s programs and initiatives in support of its commitment to reducing or eliminating health disparities in endocrine disorders and the Institute’s programs and offerings in support of its mission to lead scientific research to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities.

Immediate Past President Janet Hall, M.D., led the Society delegation and described her presidential initiative to focus and enhance the Society’s disparities initiatives to provide a high-profile framework in which these programs can grow and expand. Dr. Hall highlighted the Society’s 2007 white paper, “Increasing Minority Participation in Clinical Research,” and its 2012 Scientific Statement, “Health Disparities in Endocrine Disorders: Biological, Clinical, and Nonclinical Factors.” She also described the Society’s Minority Access Program (MAP) and Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program. Finally, Dr. Hall invited NIMHD officials to participate in the Society’s planned March 2013 summit on health disparities and in ENDO 2013.

NIMHD officials provided an overview of the Institute and highlighted some of its grant mechanisms that Society members might be interested in. These include a Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research U54, a CommunityBased Participatory Research R24, and two separate R01 opportunities for health disparities—one for Social, Behavioral, Health Services, and Policy Research and the other for Basic and Applied Biomedical Research. They also provided some details about the Institute’s conference, “The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities,” which is scheduled for December 17-19, 2012 at the Gaylord National Center. Outcomes from NIH’s evaluation of disparities in success of grant applicants and opportunities for the Society to comment on the draft NIH disparities strategic plan were also discussed.

In addition to Dr. Hall, Society participants were Janet Kreizman, Deputy Executive Director & Chief Policy Officer; Wanda Johnson, Senior Director, Meetings and Education; and Loretta Doan, Ph.D., Director, Science Policy. NIMHD participants were Joyce Hunter, Ph.D., deputy director, Extramural Research; M. Roy Wilson, M.D., M.S., deputy director, Strategic Scientific Planning and Program Coordination; Nathaniel Stinson, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., acting director, Office of Scientific Programs; and Francisco Sy, M.D., Dr.P.H., director, Office of Extramural Research Administration. The Society is excited about this new step forward in its commitment to alleviating health disparities. NIMHD is a critical partner in this goal, and the Society looks forward to continuing to build its relationship with the Institute to further enhance the objectives of both organizations.

With this meeting, the Society and NIMHD have begun a formal dialogue to explore areas of common interest and to identify collaborative opportunities. Society members are encouraged to consider the complex issue of disparities as they design and implement their research programs and to explore grant opportunities from the Institute.

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