Background: Despite recognition of the need to increase the pool of racial/ethnic minority investigators, racial/ethnic minority representation among National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigators remains low. Racial/ethnic minority investigators bring unique perspectives and experiences that enhance the potential for understanding factors that underlie racial/ethnic variation in health and health status. Identification of barriers to successful minority competition for NIH funding and suggestions for strategies to overcome them were obtained from a concept mapping project and a meeting of minority investigators and investigators at minority-serving institutions. Methods: Concept mapping, a mixed-methods planning approach that integrates common data collection processes with multivariate statistical analyses, was used in this exploratory project. The concept mapping approach generated a series of related "concept maps" that were used for data interpretation and meeting discussions. Results: Barriers to minority investigator competition for NIH funding identified by concept mapping participants include: 1) inadequate research infrastructure, training and development; 2) barriers to development as independent researchers; 3) inadequate mentoring; 4) insensitivity, misperceptions and miscommunication about the specific needs of investigators involved in research with minority communities; 5) institutional bias in NIH policies; 6) unfair competitive environment; 7) lack of institutional support; 8) lack of support for research topics/methods relevant to research with minority communities; and 9) social, cultural and environmental barriers. Discussion: Data from both the concept mapping and the meeting discussions suggest the need to use a multilevel approach to increase minority representation among funded NIH investigators. Specifically, the NIH should use strategies that overcome barriers at the home institution, within NIH and at the investigator level.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of the National Medical Association|
|State||Published - Aug 1 2005|
- Minority underrepresentation
- Research funding
ASJC Scopus subject areas