To address and achieve equity in health care, in fall 2022 the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) began offering new funding opportunities for research studies aligned with the scientific framework outlined in the institute’s 2022–2026 strategic plan. The grants are available cyclically with three application periods per year.
“Ensuring that every person has a fair and just opportunity to attain their full health potential requires research that looks upstream and generates evidence-based solutions to removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences,” Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, NINR director, said. “That includes lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care. The magnitude of health inequities in the United States is both alarming and tragic. Although research highlighting the stark health inequities that exist is vast, efforts aimed at eliminating them are limited.”
In its strategic plan, NNIR defined its perspective on health equity as “a state in which every person has a fair and just opportunity to attain their full health potential. Inequities are rooted in systemic and structural factors, including historical and contemporary laws and policies, systems, values, and institutions, that limit access to power, opportunities, and resources for socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Structural and systemic factors, including structural racism, create obstacles to health and can lead to persistent health inequities.”
“At NINR, we strongly believe that nurses and nursing scientists need to be at the forefront in discovering solutions for our nation’s deeply rooted systemic and structural inequities,” Zenk said. “That’s why health equity is central to our new mission and strategic plan.”
Lack of or inadequate access to quality care adversely affects health and cancer care on multiple levels. Oncology nurse scientists and other nurse researchers are building the evidence base to address disparities and break down barriers to achieve equal access for all.