More research funding is needed to learn about and address health disparities in African Americans in the United States, Tara Schwetz, PhD, National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) acting director, said in an open letter to the research community. In the bold announcement, NINR recognized the unequal treatment of minorities and the need for enhanced dedication to promote equality in nursing research.

Schwetz said that the agency’s leaders have been reflecting on “what we at NINR have and have not done in the past as an organization and as individuals to address these issues, and what we can and will do moving forward.”

NINR acknowledged that although it does focus on health disparities research, the institute can do considerably more in this area. With that goal in mind, NINR will prioritize research funding “aimed at understanding this disparate impact of illness and mitigating these health disparities” through more direct programs for the African American community, such as:

  • Amending the NINR Training Pathways Working Group of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research’s charge to include recommendations on increasing the diversity of trainees and early-stage investigators (ESIs)
  • Reviewing its ESI programs to consider mechanisms to increase opportunities for African American and other underrepresented nurse scientists who are building their research programs
  • Evaluating its technical assistance processes to ensure guidance on the application and grant process is reaching minority-serving institutions, professional societies, and organizations
  • Ensuring that its postreview decision-making process is equitable and inclusive

To hear more from Schwetz, listen to the Oncology Nursing Podcast episode in which she discusses other research focuses amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.