Avoiding Gender and Minority Barriers to NIH Funding


  • J. Taylor Harden,

    Corresponding author
    1. J. Taylor Harden, RN, PhD, Delta Alpha, Assistant to the Director for Special Populations, National Institute on Aging
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  • Gertrude McFarland

    1. Gertrude McFarland, RN, PhD, FAAN, Scientific Review Administrator, Center for Scientific Review; both at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
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Dr. Harden, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Building 31/Room 5C35, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2292, Bethesda, MD. E-mail: Hardent@exmur.nia.nih.gov


Purpose: To inform investigators of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines for the inclusion of women and minorities as subjects in clinical research and provide tips on avoiding barriers to federal funding.

Methods: Information about gender and minority barriers to funding was obtained by reviewing NIH policies, information submitted by applicants, and comments provided by NIH reviewers.

Organizing Framework: A brief history of the goals of U.S. federal legislation to increase opportunities for obtaining information to help enhance health and disease treatment for all Americans and to detect and account for ethnic and gender differences is described. Examples were derived from NIH Summary Statement comments of initial review groups.

Conclusions: Applications submitted to NIH are being barred from initial funding, even with excellent priority scores, if the plan for inclusion of women and minorities is judged to be scientifically unacceptable by the initial review group. This situation is correctable and avoidable.