Health Disparities

Each summer, NIA’s Intramural Research Program opens its lab doors to students for an 8- to 10-week intensive research experience. The Summer Training in Aging Research (STAR) Program is an opportunity for bright and motivated students to move beyond replicating standard protocols in school labs. It’s much more than just pouring gels and inputting data; it’s an unparalleled experience that can change or solidify your career trajectory. I invite you to join us.

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The big news of 2016 so far is the increase in the NIA budget. We’re very excited about the many opportunities in aging research that will be possible because of these extra funds. As we flesh out new funding opportunities and wait for applications in response to existing announcements, we thought we would reprise a few interesting posts from the last few months in case you missed them. If you missed a few, now is your chance to catch up.

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2016 Butler-Williams Scholars Program now accepting applications

Emerging researchers, including those with limited involvement in research on aging, are invited to apply for the next Butler-Williams Scholars Program, to be held July 25-29, 2016, at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD.

Sponsored by NIA, the 5-day program will explore research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to racial/ethnic minorities and health disparities. The agenda will include:

If you’ve been away from the lab for a while, it can be difficult to find your way back in. However, the NIH tries to make it just a bit easier by offering supplemental funding to support promising investigators as they re-ignite their scientific careers.

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OSP Scholar Spotlight: Dr. S. Duke Han

Dr. S. Duke HanDr. S. Duke Han has found success in his NIA training awards and opportunities.

On July 8, 2015, NIA’s Office of Special Populations released PA-15-293, “Aging Research to Address Health Disparities.“ It seeks to support aging research that addresses disparities in health, including preclinical, clinical, social, and behavioral studies. A few weeks ago, I sat down with Dr. Felipe Sierra, director of the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) to discuss some opportunities for involving basic researchers in health disparities research.

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This year’s Butler-Williams Scholars Program will take place next week on the NIH campus. Recently, NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes described to the Friends of the NIA why it’s so important to encourage new and early-stage investigators’ interests in aging research and explained some of the opportunities that we are providing new investigators.

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If you’re struggling to recruit enough participants for your study, you are not alone. When time, staff, and other recruitment resources are limited, this can be a tough problem. How can you get a diverse group of study participants through your doors? One answer is likely right in your own backyard: connecting with local organizations who are already working with older adults in racially and economically diverse communities. Volunteers may spread information about your study on your behalf. Get involved and explain what you are doing and why. Then ask for their help.

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I am a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) and currently lead the NIA-N Review committee. I’m constantly recruiting grant application reviewers: I mean, All The Time! During the course of each year, I also run a multitude of meetings to review grants responding to Requests for Applications, Program Project Grants (PPG), and Institutional/Individual Training Grant opportunities. It’s a good thing that I don’t take rejection personally, because more than half of the reviewers I try to recruit say, “NO,” and about a quarter of them just don’t answer my emails. One time I asked 89 people to review a PPG and only 14 of them said yes.

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For scientists writing NIH grant applications, the aims are THE THING.

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