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NIH Academy Frequently Asked Questions

When does the 2020-2021 NIH Academy application open? 

The NIH Academy application will open in June 2020.

When will I be notified of my acceptance into the 2020-2021 NIH Academy Program?

All applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, September 25th, 2020.

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 track 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 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 track is a more in-depth experience targeted for fellows who are passionate about a career incorporating health disparities.

What are the 2020 start and end dates for the program?
The NIH Academy will begin September 30, 2020 and will end May 12, 2021.

When does the NIH Academy meet?
The NIH Academy generally meets on Wednesday evenings from 4-6:00 PM (participants will be notified of exceptions in the syllabus).  All meetings will be virtual until further notice.

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 participate in the NIH Academy you should apply to both the NIH Postbac IRTA program and the NIH Academy. Please note that although you may apply to the program before you secure a postbac position, to participate you must have been offered and accepted a position by the start date of the program.

Please note that you MUST have permission from your principal investigator to participate in the program.  

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. 

How do I apply to the NIH Academy?
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 from June 5th to August 5th 2020.  Please note you must have an invitation to join a lab by September 16th with a start date no later than September 30, 2020.

What is the selection procedure?
Once you 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 September 25, 2020.

Does the NIH provide housing?
The NIH is unable to provide housing for NIH Academy participants. We can offer some information that may help you in finding a place to live. However, any information we provide is just that; it does not constitute advice, nor are we endorsing or approving any companies or services.

  • 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.
  • Rocky Mountain Laboratories has created A Guide to Help You Move to Hamilton, MT.
  • Club-PCR Google group External Link is for young scientists in the Bethesda area; to join send an email to  You can use this listserv to find housing, sell items, arrange carpooling, or gather information. This Listserv is not associated with the NIH, and you should use an email address other than your NIH email address to subscribe.  Please state your name and reason for joining the group when you request membership.

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).