WASHINGTON – US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) released a statement following President Joe Biden’s signing of the law to revitalize the research funds of the bipartisan John Lewis National Institute for Human Health. Minorities and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The law will invest in universities conducting critical research on minority health disparities. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) joined Cassidy in co-sponsoring the bill.
“As a physician who has worked in Louisiana’s charitable hospital system, providing quality health care to underserved communities is a priority,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation will expand our research efforts at institutions, like Xavier University, to help close the minority health gap.
On Feb. 10, Cassidy discussed the bill and the lack of diversity in the medical field with Xavier’s chairman, Dr. Reynold Verret, during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor Committee. Work and Pensions (HELP).
The John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment Revitalization Act was introduced by the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) at the 116th Congress. The bill would ensure that the NIMHD continues to provide grants for critical research on minority health disparities. The NIMHD Research Endowment Program provides funds for endowments of academic institutions across the country, such as Xavier University of Louisiana, College of Pharmacy.
The objectives of the NIMHD Research Endowment Program include:
- Promote capacity and infrastructure for research on minority health and health disparities
- Increase the diversity and strength of the scientific workforce
- Improve recruitment and retention of individuals from populations with health disparities that are underrepresented in the scientific workforce
Funding shortfalls combined with an arbitrary limit placed on program participation threatened to essentially shut down the NIMHD research endowment program. The changes in this bill would reinvigorate the NIMHD program to ensure minority-serving institutions like Xavier continue to benefit.
U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA) introduced the complementary legislation in the House of Representatives.