Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research

Notice Number: NOT-MD-05-002

Key Dates
Release Date: November 15, 2004

Issued by
National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), (

Application Period: September 1, 2004, through 5 PM EST, December 15, 2004

This Notice contains the following information:

Purpose Of This Notice

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) announce the 2005 Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (HDR-LRP or Program).

The HDR-LRP provides for the repayment of educational loan debt of up to $35,000 annually for qualified health professionals conducting minority health or other health disparities research for domestic non-profit or government entities. In addition, payments equal to 39 percent of the loan repayments are issued to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the program participants to offset Federal tax liabilities incurred as a result of participating in the program. The Program may also provide reimbursement for state and local tax liabilities.

Through this notice, NIH and NCMHD invite qualified health professionals who contractually agree to engage in minority health or other health disparities research for at least two years, and who agree to engage in this area of research for at least 50 percent of their time, i.e., not less than 20 hours per week, to apply for participation in the Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research.

HDR-LRP applications will be accepted from September 1 through December 15, 2004. Applications must be submitted via the NIH Loan Repayment website,

Where To Obtain Additional Information:

For questions on the HDR-LRP program, please see the LRP website at , send an email to, call the LRP helpline at (866) 849-4047 or contact the NCMHD Loan Repayment Coordinator, Kenya McRae, at (301) 402-1366 or via email:

Program Objectives

The objective of the HDR-LRP is the recruitment and retention of highly qualified health professionals to research careers that focus on minority health or other health disparity issues.

The Program serves as an avenue for NIH and the NCMHD to engage and promote the development of research programs that reflect the variety of issues and problems associated with disparities in health status. In addition, the Director, NCMHD, is statutorily required to ensure that not fewer than 50 percent of the contracts are awarded to qualified health professionals that are members of health disparities populations. This highlights the need for the involvement of a cadre of culturally competent health professionals in minority health and other health disparities research.

“Health disparity populations” are determined by the Director of NCMHD, after consultation with the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and are defined as populations where there is significant disparity in the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates as compared to the health status of the general population. For purposes of this announcement, the following populations have been determined to be health disparities populations: Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans,

Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and the medically underserved, such as individuals from the Appalachian region.

“Health disparities research” is defined as basic, clinical, or behavioral research on a health disparities population (including individual members and communities of such populations) including the causes of such health disparities and methods to prevent, diagnose and treat such disparities.

“ Medically underserved” refers to individuals that lack access to primary and specialty care either because they are socioeconomically disadvantaged and may or may not live in areas with high poverty rates or because they reside in rural areas. The term also refers to individuals that reside in geographic areas where the Index of Medical Underservice (IMU) is 62 or less. The Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) criteria designate a service area with an IMU of 62 or less as a “medically underserved area (MUA)”. The IMU is a weighted score derived from four variables: the ratio of primary medical care physicians per 1,000 population, infant mortality rate, percentage of population below the federal poverty level, and percentage of the population age 65 years or over.

“Minority health conditions” refers to all diseases, disorders, and other conditions (including mental health and substance abuse) that are unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in racial and ethnic minorities, for which the medical risk factors or types of medical interventions may be different, or research involving such populations as subjects or data on such individuals is insufficient.

“Minority health disparities research” is defined as basic, clinical, or behavioral research on minority health conditions, including research to prevent, diagnose, and treat such conditions.

Funds Available

The NCMHD intends to commit $6.68 million in fiscal year 2005 to fund approximately 170 HDR-LRP participants.

Award Criteria

Applications for the HDR-LRP are evaluated against the following components as they relate to the likelihood that the applicant will continue in a research career focused on minority health or other health disparities:

a. Potential of the applicant to pursue a career in minority health or other health disparities research:

b. Quality of the overall environment to prepare the applicant for a research career in health disparities:

Renewal applications are competitive and are evaluated using the same criteria as new applications plus two additional criteria – an assessment of research accomplishments and the development of the applicant as an independent investigator since the commencement of the initial LRP contract.

Eligible Applicants

Specific eligibility criteria for the HDR-LRP include the following:

The following individuals are ineligible for participation in the HDR-LRP:

Receipt, Peer Review, and Review Schedule

Upon receipt, applications for both initial and renewal awards will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be considered. Applications that are complete and eligible will be forwarded for peer review.

Application Receipt Date: December 15, 2004, 5 P.M. EST
Peer Review Date: March-May, 2005
Anticipated Award Date: June-August, 2005
Application Materials (New and Renewal Applicants)

The following information is furnished by applicants or others on behalf of applicants (forms are completed electronically at the LRP website at, and must be submitted from September 1, 2004, through December 15, 2004 at 5 P.M. EST.

Applicants electronically transmit the following to the NIH Office of Loan Repayment:

Recommenders electronically transmit recommendation forms to the NIH Office of Loan Repayment.

Institutional contacts electronically transmit a certification to the NIH Office of Loan Repayment that:

Renewal Applications

Loan Repayment recipients who wish to extend their HDR loan repayment should reapply during the 2005 application cycle if the term of their current LRP contract or previous contract has ended or will end in 2005.

LRP renewal contracts are available for one- and two-year periods and are based upon the same criteria as the initial application plus two additional criteria – an assessment of research accomplishments and development of an individual as an independent investigator. An explanation of research accomplishments during the initial award period is required. Progress toward development as an independent investigator is a major factor in awarding renewal of loan repayment support. Renewal LRP awards are competitive and submission of a renewal application does not assure the award of loan repayment.

Program Administration and Details

Under the HDR-LRP, the NIH will repay a portion of the extant qualified educational loan debt incurred to pay for the researcher's undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professional school educational expenses.

The NIH will repay lenders for the extant principal, interest, and related expenses (such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans) of educational loans from a U.S. government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution, such as banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, and other financial or credit institutions which are subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as lending institutions by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business, obtained by participants for the following:

Repayments are made directly to lenders, following receipt of (1) the Principal Investigator, Program Director, or Research Supervisor's verification of completion of the prior period of research, and (2) lender verification of the crediting of prior loan repayments, including the resulting account balances and current account status. The NIH will repay loans in the following order, unless the Secretary determines that significant savings would result from a different order of priority:

The following loans are NOT repayable under the HDR-LRP:

Before the commencement of loan repayment, or d uring lapses in loan repayments, due to NIH administrative complications, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), or a break in service, LRP participants are wholly responsible for making payments or other arrangements that maintain loans current, such that increases in either principal or interest do not occur. The LRP contract period will not be modified or extended as a result of Leave Without Pay (LWOP) or a break in service. Penalties assessed participants as a result of NIH administrative complications to maintain a current payment status may not be considered for reimbursement.

LRP payments are NOT retroactive. Loan repayment for fiscal year 2005 will commence after a loan repayment contract has been executed, which is expected to be no earlier than July 2005 .

Citations of Federal Authority

Awards are made pursuant to the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-525) that added Section 485G of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 287c-33). The Federal Debt Collections Procedures Act of 1990, contained in Public Law 101-647, requires that an individual that has a judgment lien against his/her property for a debt to the United States shall not be eligible to receive funds directly from the Federal government in any program, except funds to which the debtor is entitled as a beneficiary, until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied (28 U.S.C. 3201).

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the Health Disparities Research LRP is 93.307.

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