training relevant to ethnic minority and medically underserved populations:

Recommendation 3-2: Research and research funding relevant to cancer among ethnic minority and medically (as per Recommendation 3-3) underserved populations should be more adequately assessed and should be increased.

NCI reports that it allocated more than $124 million for research and training programs relevant to cancer among ethnic minority and medically underserved populations. This figure represents approximately 5.25 percent of the total NCI budget. The committee believes, however, that this is an overrepresentation of the amount of resources allocated to addressing the needs of ethnic minority and medically underserved groups (see Recommendation 3-3 below). When allocations are summed for projects exclusively directed to these populations, the figure is slightly more than $24 million, or approximately 1 percent of the total NCI budget. Other NIH ICs report on their allocations of money to minority health research and training programs, but these figures are small relative to the overall budgets of the respective ICs. The committee finds that these resources are insufficient relative to three criteria:

  • the burden of disease in ethnic minority and medically underserved communities;
  • the changing U.S. demographic picture (which indicates that the growth of many ethnic minority groups, such as Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders, will significantly outpace that of other groups and that no ethnic group will constitute a "majority" by the year 2050); and
  • scientific opportunities inherent in the study of diverse populations.

Recommendation 3-3: NIH should improve the accuracy of its assessment of research that is relevant to ethnic minority and medically underserved groups by replacing the current "percent relevancy" accounting method with one that identifies studies whose purpose is to address a priori research questions uniquely affecting ethnic minority and medically underserved groups.

NIH calculates the amount of money allocated to minority health research on the basis of the percentage of ethnic minority individuals in NIH study populations. Such percent relevancy accounting methods are inappropriate as an indicator of overall expenditures for studies that address minority health needs because they overstate the relevance of research for addressing ethnic minority health issues. Estimates of expenditures on minority-related health research should be determined by



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