March 21, 2022

Cassidy-Led Bill to Research Minority Health Disparities Signed into Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) released a statement following President Joe Biden signing into law his bipartisan John Lewis National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Research Endowment Revitalization Act. The law will invest in universities conducting critical research into minority health disparities. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) joined Cassidy in cosponsoring the bill. 

“As a doctor who worked in Louisiana’s charity hospital system, providing quality health care to underserved communities is a priority,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This law will expand our research efforts at institutions, like Xavier University, to help close the health gap among minorities.”

On February 10, Cassidy discussed the bill and the lack of diversity in the medical field with Xavier President Dr. Reynold Verret at a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing.

The John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment Revitalization Act was introduced by the late-Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in the 116th Congress. The bill would ensure NIMHD continues to provide grants for critical research into minority health disparities. The Research Endowment Program at NIMHD provides funding to the endowments of academic institutions across the country, such as Xavier University of Louisiana, College of Pharmacy.

The goals of NIMHD’s Research Endowment Program include:

  • Promoting minority health and health disparities research capacity and infrastructure
  • Increasing the diversity and strength of the scientific workforce
  • Enhancing the recruitment and retention of individuals from health disparity populations that are underrepresented in the scientific workforce 

Funding shortfalls combined with an arbitrary limit placed on program participation have threatened to essentially shut down the NIMHD Research Endowment Program. The changes provided in this bill would reinvigorate the NIMHD program to ensure that minority-serving institutions like Xavier continue to benefit.

U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA) introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.