NIH Expands Notice of Interest in Diversity

On November 22, 2019, the NIH rescinded its 2018 Notice of Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-18-210) and replaced it with an expanded Notice of Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031). 

In this expanded notice, the NIH issued the following revised diversity statement: “In spite of tremendous advancements in scientific research, information, educational and research opportunities are not equally available to all. NIH encourages institutions to diversify their student and faculty populations to enhance the participation of individuals from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences.”

In addition to the previous list of underrepresented populations (individuals from racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds), the NIH has revised and expanded the “Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds” section to include:

Those who meet two or more of the following criteria:

  1. Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  2. Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families
  3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years
  4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree
  5. Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants
  6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child
  7. Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer, orb) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas. Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.

Lastly, the NIH added that the “literature shows that women from the above underprivileged backgrounds face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields.”

To view this notice and associated definitions in more detail, please visit the issued notice here:

To visit the blog post on this topic, visit:

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