NIDDK Encourages Research on Sex/Gender Differences, Sexual and Gender Minority-Related Research and Race/Ethnic Diversity
Notice Number:
NOT-DK-22-003

Key Dates

Release Date:

January 25, 2022

Related Announcements

None

Issued by

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Purpose

Many different factors—biological, social, and environmental--affect human health. It is also increasingly recognized that interactions between these factors play a significant role in prevention, pathophysiology, and management of human disease. Sex/gender differences, being a member of a sexual and/or gender minority group, and race/ethnicity are among those factors with a significant impact on human health and disease. However, consideration of these factors in research projects remains limited.

This Notice informs the applicant community that NIDDK encourages investigators to consider research on differences in health status across biological and social constructs of identity. The potential implications of these concepts should be considered in research across multiple levels, from genes to hormones, to complex biological systems, to social and ecological interactions. Assessing the contributions of these biological and social constructs of identity can assist in understanding variations in health outcomes, especially among diverse and underrepresented populations, across NIDDK research mission areas.

Specifically, NIDDK encourages investigators to consider implications of the following:

  • Biological sex. Sex refers to biological differences between females and males, including chromosomes, sex organs, and endogenous hormonal profiles. Read the NIH Policy on NIH Policy on Sex as a Biological Variable for more information.
  • Sexual and gender minority. Refers to groups of individuals whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of the surrounding society. They include, but are not limited to, individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, queer, and/or intersex.
  • Gender identity. Gender refers to socially constructed and enacted roles and behaviors which occur in a historical and cultural context and vary across societies and over time. Gender identity can be congruent or incongruent with one’s sex assigned at birth.
  • Sexual orientation. A term that refers to the emotional, romantic, and/or sexual desires that one person might have for another person or people.
  • Race/ethnicity. Race and ethnicity are social constructs developed to classify individuals based on physical appearance and ancestral origin. The burden of many NIDDK mission diseases is borne disproportionately by Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and certain Asian subpopulations.
  • Interactions across identities and with other social and biological determinants of health. For example, continuous interaction exists between sex and gender, and thus health is determined by both biology and the expression of gender. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups experience disproportionate rates of poverty in the United States, and thus are exposed to a greater degree to health-impeding social determinants of health.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Christine Maric-Bilkan, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-435-0486
Email: christine.maric-bilkan@nih.gov

Katrina Serrano, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-480-7855
Email: katrina.serrano@nih.gov


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