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Health Disparities Research (L60)



Program Announcement

See Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR) guide notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for program and policy guidance.

Past program announcements for the Extramural LRP, including the Privacy Act notice, are available for reference.

Additional Program Information

As of September 1, 2019, NIH participation in the LRP-HDR expanded to include all NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). Previously, all LRP-HDR applications were assigned to and reviewed by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). LRP-HDR applicants have the option of selecting one NIH IC from a drop-down list when applying. Applicants may also select one additional IC for secondary review assignment. Assignments are determined by the Division of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific Review. Although an applicant's selection will be taken under consideration, it is not a guarantee of a desired assignment.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to review each IC Mission and Research Priorities statement and then contact one or more IC scientific LRP liaisons to discuss their research and career interests as it relates to the research and funding priorities of the selected IC. Research and funding priorities can change on a yearly basis, thus it is imperative that applicants contact a liaison to ensure appropriate understanding of IC priorities. A list of NIH IC scientific LRP liaisons is available on the Contact & Engage page.


Health Disparity Populations – Health Disparity Populations are determined by the Director of NIMHD, 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 in the population as compared to the health status of the general population. The following populations have been designated as health disparity populations: Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities.

Health Disparities Research: Basic, clinical, social, or behavioral research on health disparity populations (including individual members and communities of such populations) that relates to health disparities, including the causes of such disparities and methods to prevent, diagnose, and treat such disparities.

Minority Health Disparities Research – Basic, clinical, or behavioral research on minority health conditions, including research to prevent, diagnose, and treat such conditions.

Minority Health Conditions – All diseases, disorders, and other conditions (including mental health and substance abuse) that are unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in members of minority groups (racial or ethnic minority groups), for which the medical risk or types of medical intervention may be different for members of minority groups, or for which it is unknown whether such factors or types are different for such individuals, or research involving such populations as subjects or data on such individuals is insufficient.


Received at least one Extramural LRP award.

See eligibility on the Eligibility & Programs page.

Review Process

LRP Review

DLR reviews each application to ensure it is complete and meets all general eligibility requirements. Applications that are incomplete – including those missing supplemental information, such as recommendations and institutional certification – as of the applicable deadline will not be considered for further review.

NIH Institute or Center Assignment

Applications are forwarded to the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR).

  • CSR will then assign applications to the most appropriate NIH Institute or Center (IC) for review. The IC assignment can be viewed in the LRP Online Application System once CSR makes the assignment, which typically takes place by the end of December. Applicants who wish to have a different IC review their application must submit a request to IC reassignment is not guaranteed.
  • Applications to the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP go to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) for review.

NIH Institute or Center/Peer Review

IC staff review each application for responsiveness. Applications determined to be responsive are assigned for peer review and evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Applicant’s potential to pursue a career in research, including the following:
    • Development toward becoming, or continuing as, an independent investigator;
    • Assessment of Research Accomplishments;
    • Appropriateness of the applicant’s previous training and experience to prepare for a research career;
    • Appropriateness of the proposed research activities during the LRP award and how it will foster a career in research;
    • Commitment to a research career, reflected by things such as the personal statement of long-term career goals and the plan to achieve those goals; and
    • Strength of the letters of recommendations attesting to the applicant’s potential for a successful career in research.
  • Quality of the overall environment to prepare the applicant for a research career, including:
    • Appropriateness and availability of equipment, patient care and services, and location to conduct the proposed research; and
    • Availability of colleagues, or collaborators if needed, to conduct the proposed research.

Financial Review

Select applicants will be notified on a rolling basis by email to provide updated payoff quotes for all loans listed in the LRP Portal. Applicants must submit a screenshot or printout of the account statement to DLR. To complete Financial Review, the document(s) must contain the following information:

  • The awardee's name;
  • Lender information;
  • Loan type (e.g., Stafford, Perkins, etc.);
  • Date the account statement was generated, within 30 days of DLR-email receipt;
  • Current payoff quote (i.e., a quote from the lender detailing the dollar amount necessary to satisfy the full terms of each loan as of today, including all interest associated with the loan); and
  • Date the payoff quote expires (i.e., the date through which the payoff quote is valid).

LRP applicants should carefully review the Loan Detail Page for more information.

Key Dates

Online Application Period
Supporting Documentation
IC & Peer Review Period
Financial Review Period
Notification Period

Application Components

Individuals should determine whether to apply as an independent researcher or a mentored research scientist (e.g., mentored scientists are generally funded by another investigator's grant), which may be different from prior applications/awards. Since the Institutes and Centers (ICs) apply varying criteria to these categories, applicants are encouraged to contact the most appropriate LRP IC Liaison(s) for guidance before beginning the application. The list of LRP IC Liaisons can be found on the Contact & Engage page.

There are many attachments requested during the online application process. The table below lists the required attachments, organized by type of document, who needs to submit it, and researcher type (i.e., mentored research scientist or independent researcher).

In addition, applicants must have:

  • An Institutional Business Official (IBO) to verify eligibility and employment;
  • A minimum of three reference letters, but no more than five will be accepted. For mentored research scientists, one of the reference letters must be from the mentor; and
  • An Assessment of Research Accomplishments (including an assessment of progress toward becoming/continuing as an independent researcher).

For guidance on selecting an IBO and referees/recommenders, please see the Institutional Business Official section as well as the Referees/Recommenders section of our website.

Renewal LRP applications are competitive and submission of a renewal application does not assure the award of loan repayment.

Document or Form Mentored Research Scientist Independent Researcher

NIH Biosketch (Applicant)

Submitted by:

Applicant Applicant
Instructions: Submit a Biosketch in a specified NIH format. It is not necessary to have a well-established career to apply to the LRP, but the Biosketch should include a list of significant honors and grants. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.

NIH Biosketch (Mentor)

Submitted by:

Applicant Not Applicable
Instructions: Submit your Mentor's Biosketch in a specified NIH format. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.

NIH Biosketch (Additional)

Submitted by:

Applicant Not Applicable
Instructions: If another laboratory staff member will be involved in your mentoring, you should also submit this staff member’s Biosketch. The Biosketch must be in a specified NIH format and cannot exceed five (5) pages.  Only one additional Biosketch may be attached to an application.

Personal Statement

Submitted by:

Applicant Applicant
Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe your previous research training experience and short-term academic and research objectives.

Career Development Plan

Submitted by:

Not Applicable Applicant
Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your career development plan and explain how this plan will foster the development of your career in research.  Specify the types of research methods and scientific techniques to be learned, memberships in journal clubs or groups, and conferences and seminars to be attended.

Research Activities

Submitted by:

Applicant, with approval from Mentor Applicant
Instructions: Use eight (8) pages or less to describe the research activities you will pursue over the next two years and your specific role and responsibilities in the research project(s).  Literature citations are included in the character count and should be listed on the last page. Include your name, employer, title of research project, and date in the document header.

Research Environment

Submitted by:

Applicant, with approval from Mentor Applicant
Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe the research to be conducted during the course of the LRP award and the facilities that will be available to execute the project.  The description should include the branch/laboratory/section/department of the applicant and the appropriate scientific colleagues, institutional research, and facilities available.  Include a brief description of the funding source for your research. Also, if this is a mentored application, a brief description of the mentor's research should be included.

Training/Mentoring Plan

Submitted by:

Applicant, with approval from Mentor Not Applicable
Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your research training program and mentoring plan. Specify the types of training interactions, training mechanisms to be used, research methods, and scientific techniques to be learned, involvement in activities such as journal clubs, professional groups, conferences, and seminars. Describe how your mentor will contribute to your training program and his/her prior experience as a mentor of other investigators. Additionally, the nature and extent of supervision should be discussed as they will occur during the award period. If another laboratory staff member will be involved in your mentoring program, provide his/her name and describe his/her degree of involvement.

Research Accomplishments

Submitted by:

Applicant, with approval from Mentor Applicant
Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your research accomplishments that occurred under the first LRP award and subsequent renewal awards (if there are any). For individuals who experienced "breaks" between their LRP awards, the assessment statement should include research progress made during those time breaks.  Include a list research publications in the Biosketch (see biosketch instructions for details).

Certification for Online Application

Submitted by:

Applicant Applicant
Instructions: Read all statements listed in the Certifications for Online Applications section and check the box next to each statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and returning the form to the NIH LRPs.


Submitted by:

Applicant Applicant
Instructions: Read the NIH Loan Repayment Programs Contract in its entirety and check the box next to the statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and mailing in a signed copy of the contract to the NIH LRPs.

Loan Documents

Submitted by:

Applicant Applicant
Instructions: Provide payoff quotes for all loans in the LRP portal to ensure accurate calculations.

Award Calculations


  • Extramural LRP renewal awards can be one- or two-years.
  • The calculations below are approximations and for example purposes only.
  • Renewal award applicants must have eligible educational debt of at least $2,000 at the contract start date to apply for a renewal award.
  • Payments are made on a quarterly basis, starting with the highest priority loan per DLR guidelines. See a full list of the loan priority order.
  • If a loan is paid-in-full before the end of a contract, subsequent quarterly payments will be directed to the loan with the next highest priority.

One-Year Renewal Awards

  • The repayment amount is equal to one-half of the eligible educational debt at the contract start date, up to $50,000 per year.
  • If the eligible educational debt at the contract start date is less than $10,000, then the repayment amount is equal to the full amount of the remaining eligible debt. For example, if the eligible educational debt at the contract start date is $9,999, then the repayment amount is $9,999.

Two-Year Renewal Awards

  • In year one, the repayment amount is equal to one-half of the eligible educational debt at the contract start date, up to $50,000.
  • In year two, the repayment amount is equal to one-half of the year-one repayment, up to $50,000. For example, if the eligible educational debt is $60,000 at the contract start date, then the repayment amount in the first year of renewal is $30,000 and the repayment amount in the second year of renewal is $15,000.
  • If the eligible educational debt at the contract start date is less than $10,000, then the applicant will only be considered for a one-year renewal award.

There is no limit on the number of renewal awards an LRP awardee can receive. Successful renewal award applicants may continue to apply for, and potentially recieve, subsequent competitive renewal awards until the entire balance of their qualified educational debt is repaid.

Use the repayment calculator to estimate the amount of an LRP renewal award.

Repayment Calculator

Loan Eligibility

Qualifying Lenders

Qualified lenders: Any U.S. government (Federal, State, or local) entity, accredited U.S. academic institution, and/or U.S. commercial educational lender that is subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as a lending institution by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business.

Unqualified lenders: Entities that are not U.S. government (Federal, State, or local), U.S. academic, or U.S. commercial educational lenders. Loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals are also not qualified.

Loan Eligibility

Most U.S.-based educational loans made by a qualified lender for educational purposes are eligible for repayment, including U.S.-based educational loans made for the following purposes:

  • Undergraduate, graduate, and health professional school tuition and expenses;
  • Other reasonable educational expenses required by the school(s) attended, including fees, books, supplies, educational equipment and materials, and laboratory expenses;
  • Reasonable living expenses, including the cost of room and board, transportation and commuting costs, and other living expenses as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services.

A consolidated loan is eligible as long as all loans in the consolidation are eligible for repayment.

Existing principal and capitalized interest on eligible loans and related expenses, such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans, from qualifying lenders are also eligible for repayment.

Ineligible Loans

The following loans are not eligible for repayment through the LRPs:

  • Consolidated loans that include at least one of the following loans are not eligible for repayment;
    • Loans obtained from an unqualified lender;
    • Loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or child;
    • Loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or parent;
    • Non-educational loans, such as a home-equity loan;
  • Loans for which eligibility documentation is not provided;
  • Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed a reasonable level as determined by the standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made;
  • Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under a program where an incurred service obligation converts to a loan upon failure to satisfy the service obligation;
  • Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their repayment schedule;
  • Parent PLUS loans;
  • Loans that are paid-in-full;
  • Loans that are obtained after the start date of the initial NIH Loan Repayment Program Contract.

Additionally, late fees, penalty fees, additional interest charges, or collections costs will not be repaid by the LRP.

Register to Start Your Application View Detailed Loan Information

Contractual Obligations

Contract Length

A renewal LRP award is either a one- or two-year contract that starts on July 1 in the year after the application deadline. Awardees are expected to meet the terms and conditions of the LRP award for the entire contract period.

Applicants must conduct qualified research for the duration of an LRP award, and an authorized official (Institutional Business Official; IBO) at the applicant's institution must certify that there will be paid, protected research time for the applicant to devote to these activities during award period. It is helpful for an applicant to contact their IBO directly and discuss the length of the renewal award requested.

The length of award is ultimately determined by the NIH Institute or Center (IC) that funds the renewal award, based on the ICs budget/funding priorities.

Qualified research is not retroactive. Any research performed prior to the start date of an LRP award contract will not count toward the research service obligation required.

Change of Institution

It is the responsibility of award recipients to notify LRP immediately if there is a pending change in employment. LRP awardees must submit a Change of Institution (COI) application to be considered for continuation in the Program. A COI applicant must meet all LRP eligibility criteria, and COI requests are subject to final approval by the NIH Institute or Center that funded the LRP award. Approval of COIs is not guaranteed.

Family Leave

Family leave can include maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption leave. Paid family leave can be taken during an LRP award. Any unpaid leave, even if covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), may result in a reduced quarterly payment. Awardees must make payments to lenders on their own behalf for periods of Leave Without Pay (LWOP).

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