RELEASE DATE:  September 26, 2003

NOTICE:  NOT-OD-03-066

National Institutes of Health (NIH)


This Notice provides updated policy regarding the inclusion of women, 
minorities, and persons with disabilities in conference grants supported by 
the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It also provides updated Institute 
and Center (IC) contact information.  The previous guidelines were issued in 
the NIH GUIDE on April 28, 1995, at  These 
guidelines apply to both intramural and extramural programs.


The NIH recognizes the value of supporting scientific meetings, conferences, 
and workshops that are relevant to its scientific mission and to public 
health.  In addition, NIH affirms that the value of scientific meetings is 
enhanced by including participants from all segments of the scientific 
population and, when appropriate, members of the lay community, in both the 
planning and conduct of such meetings.

The NIH Revitalization Act (P.L. 103-43, Section 206), which adds section 
402(b) to the Public Health Service Act, requires that NIH, "in conducting 
and supporting programs for research, research training, recruitment, and 
other activities, provide for an increase in the number of women and 
individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds  (including racial and ethnic 
minorities) in the fields of biomedical and behavioral research."  In 
addition, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans 
with Disabilities Act of 1990 require reasonable accommodations to be 
provided to individuals with disabilities.


It is NIH policy that organizers of scientific meetings should make a 
concerted effort to achieve appropriate representation of women, 
racial/ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities, and other 
individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in science, in all 
NIH sponsored and/or supported scientific meetings.  The plans to seek 
appropriate representation should be specified during selection of organizing 
committees, speakers, and other invited participants, such as session chairs 
and panel discussants.  In addition, efforts should be made to encourage 
attendance by women, minorities, and persons with disabilities at all NIH 
sponsored and/or supported scientific meetings as a means of increasing their 
participation in the particular scientific field.  The quality of the 
proposed plans to seek appropriate representation will be an evaluation 
criterion used during the scientific and technical merit review of requests 
for funding to support scientific meetings.  A "scientific meeting" is 
defined as a gathering, symposium, seminar, workshop, or any other organized, 
formal conference where persons assemble to coordinate, exchange, and 
disseminate information or to explore or clarify a defined subject, problem, 
or area of knowledge.  "Appropriate representation" means representation 
based on the availability of scientists from these groups known to be working 
in a particular field of biomedical or behavioral research.  

This policy shall apply to all domestic or international scientific meetings 
sponsored by and/or receiving support from the NIH.  The policy includes 
meetings initiated by the NIH's extramural and intramural programs, as well 
as those funded through contracts, or investigator-initiated grants or 
cooperative agreements.  Reasonable efforts must be made, as well, to fulfill 
the goals of this policy for single seminars sponsored by NIH laboratories or 
extramural programs.

NIH staff will work with applicants as necessary to assist them in complying 
with this policy.  It is the responsibility of the IC Directors to assure 
compliance with this policy.  The NIH Director will assure that all 
extramural and intramural programs comply with this policy.

All NIH sponsored and/or supported conferences must be held at accessible 
sites, as outlined by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and, as 
applicable, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Conference 
registration materials should provide a questionnaire that will allow 
participants with disabilities to voluntarily identify any special needs, so 
that conference organizers can make plans to accommodate these needs.

NIH uses the Office of Management and Budget definitions provided in 
Directive Number 15, as revised on October 30, 1997, for racial and ethnic 
categories for the purposes of this policy,  (For additional 
information, refer to the NIH link,  The 
categories in this classification are social-political constructs and should 
not be interpreted as anthropological in nature.  This directive defines the 
minimum standards for maintaining, collecting, and presenting data on race 
and ethnicity for all Federal reporting.  NIH is required to use these 
definitions to allow comparisons to other federal databases, especially the 
census and national health databases.  There are two ethnic categories -- 
Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino – and five racial categories -- 
American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native 
Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and White.  Whites are defined as the 
majority group; the remaining categories comprise the racial/ethnic 
minorities.  The classification of an individual is by self-identification.  
A person with a disability means any person who (a) has a physical or mental 
impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life 
activities; (b) has a record of such an impairment; or (c) is regarded as 
having such an impairment, as described under section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Conference Grants should not be coded for human subjects as conferees are not 
"human subjects" and conferences are not "research" as defined by the 


For additional information about these guidelines as they relate to 
extramural programs, consult the NIH Conference Grant Website, at, to contact the 
appropriate NIH staff person.

For additional information about these guidelines as they relate to 
intramural programs, consult 

Olive P. Childers 
Management Liaison Director 
Office of Intramural Research, OD, NIH 
1 Center Drive, MSC 0140
Bethesda, MD 20892 
phone: 301-496-0079
fax:  301-480-4825  

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

H H S Department of Health
and Human Services

  N I H National Institutes of Health (NIH)
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