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The NIH Academy on Health Disparities

Health disparities affect all of us from the perspectives of equity, economics, and length and quality of life.  The National Institutes of Health define health disparities as health differences that adversely affect disadvantaged populations. The NIH supports basic, clinical, social science, and behavioral research that relates to health disparities, including their causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.Being a part of the NIH Academy was life changing and inspired me to work with under served communities in my career 

The NIH Academy offers postbacs 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 activities offer participants opportunities to reflect on what remains to be done and untap their own potential to play an active and critical role to help address these disparities. The NIH Academy trains future researchers, physicians, and physician scientists to lead change and promote a society in which all people live healthy lives and have equal access to health care.  


PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY and registration:

All current NIH postbaccalaureate trainees are eligible to participate in the NIH Academy. All NIH postbacs interested in the NIH Academy must submit a letter of interest to participate (no more than 200 words). In your letter of interest highlight why you want to participate in the NIH Academy and address how your involvement in the NIH Academy will benefit you. Also include any prior relevant experience.

2022-2023 registration will open in August.


The NIH Academy consists of a year-long program that includes a series of lectures and seminars, discussions with experts, a diversity course, paper discussions, and career panels. Participants will also have the opportunity to present a health disparities-related project at the end of the year. Although optional, we strongly encourage participants to engage in the community building activities described below. All program activities and requirements for receiving a certificate are summarized in the following table:

ActivityWhen OfferedRequirements to Obtain a Certificate
Intro to HD Lecture Fall and Spring Must attend once
HD Seminars and Meetings with Seminar Speakers Throughout Must attend at least 3 seminars AND discussions
OITE Diversity Course (with Small Group Discussions) 5-part Series Offered Twice: Sept-Jan (I); Jan-May (II) Must complete the entire series (can combine sessions from series I and II)
Health Disparities in Action Panels Throughout Must attend at least 2
Seminal Paper Discussions Throughout Must attend at least 1
HD Final Presentation Spring Must work with group and present once


The Introduction to Health Disparities Lecture will provide an overview of the behavioral, social, and cultural factors related to individual and population health and health disparities throughout life. A prominent health scientist will lead the lecture.

Health Disparities seminars and meetings with seminar speakers

An exciting feature of the NIH Academy is that participants will interact with leaders in health disparities research through seminars, that will be followed by speaker lead discussions in small groups. Through collaboration with various institutes, a variety of topics will be covered. Participants can choose at least three seminars/discussions to attend.

OITE DIVERSITY and inclusion course

This course will discuss how diversity and inclusion issues impact individuals, groups, and communities, as well as the larger society – including the world of science.  This course will be divided in five parts and will be offered two times a year (Series I and II). Participants can combine sessions from series I and II.  

For more information visit

health disparites in action panels

These panels will provide another opportunity for participants to learn how others have incorporated health disparities into their career. The panel discussions will host leaders working directly in health disparities at a research, policy, and community level.

Seminal papers discussions

These discussions will provide an opportunity for the NIH Academy participants to get together and discuss key papers on health disparities and diversity.

Health disparitY-CENTERED PROJECT AND final presentations

Throughout the program, participants will engage with each other to plan and develop a health disparity-centered project, which they will present at the end of the program.

Optional: NIH ACADEMY community building ACTIVITIES

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in community outreach and work side by side with groups impacted by health disparities. NIH Academy participants will also have the opportunity to engage in health disparities discussions with peers and other activities designed to build community.

For any questions, contact the NIH Academy team at