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Vol. LVIII, No. 18
September 8, 2006

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NIAMS at 20 — Health Disparities

Many of the diseases within the mission of NIAMS affect women and minorities disproportionately, both in increased numbers and increased severity. Some examples include lupus, osteoarthritis, scleroderma, fibromyalgia and vitiligo. The institute is particularly focused on reducing health disparities through innovative programs in research, training and education:

  • Genetic and risk-factor studies, research registries and more extensive undertakings like the Osteoarthritis Initiative and the Lupus in Minority Populations: Nature vs. Nurture (LUMINA) study all help to expand our understanding of health disparities.

  • The NIAMS community-based medical research initiative, the Health Partnership Program, aims to better understand the morbidity and mortality associated with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, primarily in the African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities in the metropolitan area.
  • The NIAMS-initiated Collaborative Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Sciences Award supports research collaborations between investigators at institutions with substantial minority enrollment and scientists at research-intensive institutions.

  • Our comprehensive program of information dissemination targets minority populations through a Spanish web site, toll-free information line, non-English and bilingual health information publications and special outreach efforts to African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American and Alaska Native communities.

Health disparities research and education are critical to our mission success. NIAMS will continue to collaborate with the Office of Research on Women's Health and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and to seek new and innovative ways to discover, understand and eliminate health differences affecting America's many populations.

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