March 15, 2021

Senate Passes Cassidy Bill to Fund Research of Minority Health Disparities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the John Lewis National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Endowment Revitalization Act. Introduced by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) in February, the legislation would increase investments in schools conducting critical research into minority health disparities.

“The legislation increases investment in schools conducting critical research into health disparities among minorities. This is the data we need to move forward with solutions we know will work to improve health outcomes in underserved communities,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Universities like Xavier in Louisiana are doing great research in this area. This legislation supports their efforts.”  

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 the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (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.