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The US National Institutes of Health approach to inclusive excellence

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science and medicine, through changes in our funding and recruitment processes. These actions provide a blueprint for the global research community.

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Fig. 1: The challenge of biomedical research is akin to the examination of an elephant while lacking sight.
Fig. 2: Racial and ethnic representation among NIH R01-eq grantees, STEM doctoral workforce, and US population (2017, 2019 and 2020).
Fig. 3: The NIH UNITE initiative is committed to identifying and implementing targeted actions that address structural racism in the NIH scientific and non-scientific workforce; in the external biomedical workforce funded by NIH grants; and in the research that addresses health disparities, minority health and health equity.


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We are grateful for the assistance provided by ICF Next in producing this manuscript, and to V. Rucker, the UNITE program manager, for her careful review and input regarding the final version of the manuscript.

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Lead author duties were performed by M.A.B., with all authors contributing equally to the review and finalization of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Marie A. Bernard.

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Bernard, M.A., Johnson, A.C., Hopkins-Laboy, T. et al. The US National Institutes of Health approach to inclusive excellence. Nat Med 27, 1861–1864 (2021).

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