Skip to content

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov
Get the latest research information from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus

Minority Mental Health Research Program

Mental health disparities remain a persistent public health issue in the United States, particularly for underserved populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, individuals from lower socioeconomic strata, or those residing in rural or frontier geographic areas. The NIMH Strategic Plan for Research highlights the reduction of disparities and the promotion of mental health equity as a priority, through emphasis on research that addresses the needs of underserved and underrepresented populations. The 2018 National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Report suggested that while some disparities have gotten smaller, several disparities persist, especially for low socioeconomic and uninsured populations; and that for racial and ethnic minorities, disparities remain worse in key quality measures. A growing evidence base points to opportunities for bringing to scale successful interventions that increase quality and access to mental health care for underserved populations. Questions remain regarding individual-, community-, provider-, and health system-related mechanisms underlying disparities in mental health and mental health service use.

Minority Mental Health Research Program Functions

The primary functions of the NIMH Minority Mental Health Research Program are to:

  • Oversee and coordinate NIMH efforts related to minority mental health research.
  • Identify opportunities and gaps in mental health research activities.
  • Work closely with other NIH Institutes and Centers and other Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) offices and agencies to stimulate minority mental health research.
  • Establish and maintain research partnerships across federal agencies to increase capacity and public health impact of scientific research to reduce mental health disparities.
  • Educate partners and researchers about areas of minority mental health research relevant to their respective mission and/or portfolio.

Program Priorities

The goals of the Minority Mental Health Research Program are to:

  • Foster inclusive research across the NIMH Strategic Objectives through the recruitment and participation of diverse racial and ethnic groups.
  • Increase the understanding of mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic disparities and differences in mental health.
  • Scale up evidence-based interventions to ensure quality and equity in mental health care regardless of race or ethnic background.

The minority mental health research portfolio at NIMH is distributed across the NIMH Divisions and Offices according to their focus in the scientific areas of services and interventions research, translational research, neuroscience and behavioral research, HIV/AIDS research, and on populations of high need.

For More Information

Funding Opportunities

General Information

Program Chief

Crystal L. Barksdale, PhD, MPH
Minority Mental Health Research Program
Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7212
301-443-7034; crystal.barksdale@nih.gov