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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Research Partnerships Support Minority-Serving Institutions

Dr. James E.K. Hildreth speaking at the podium.

Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College, at the recent workshop

Here’s one way for NIH institutes and centers to support research growth at minority-serving institutions and promote scientific collaborations.

At a recent workshop at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, staff from NIAID, NHLBI, NIGMS and NIMHD offered their expertise and research-funding guidance.

The workshop included participants from the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance. Active since 1999, this partnership between Meharry and Vanderbilt University Medical Center supports collaborative initiatives and fosters community engagement.

Inspired by this example, Diane Adger-Johnson, workshop organizer and NIAID health science program officer, explained, “Using the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance as a model, we plan to encourage similar partnerships between organizations. A research-intensive institution and a minority-serving institution (MSI) in the same city or state could share expertise and resources.”

As an initial step, NIAID will invite interested research-intensive and MSI organizations to forge new partnerships. To help with this process, Adger-Johnson summarized, “We will bring the workshop, resources, tools and experts to the MSI. That is similar to what we already do for regional seminars, but here we add the strong focus on forging alliances through collaborative spaces. We also plan to invite Vanderbilt staff to help explain how a strong partnership can work.”

Adger-Johnson predicts workshops for other regions in 2019 and 2020 to promote research partnerships. She encourages other NIH institutes and centers to join NIAID in this activity and consider this approach with their research-intensive and MSI communities.

For more information, contact her at

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