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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seeks to ensure that every person is born healthy and wanted, that women suffer no harmful effects from reproductive processes, and that all children have the chance to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, and to ensure the health, productivity, independence, and well-being of all people through optimal rehabilitation. Through research, the Institute aims to improve health across the lifespan for children, adults, families, and communities.

Interest in Diversity

NICHD was created to improve the health of diverse and underrepresented populations—specifically individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as pregnant women. Today, the Institute’s interests in diversity are as varied as the diversity concept itself, encompassing race, ethnicity, gender, ability/disability, language proficiency, health literacy, and sexual orientation in its research portfolio and in its workforce.

Given the rapid growth in the diversity of the U.S. population and the expanding concept of diversity, the most effective way to achieve public health goals for women, infants, children, and families is to employ a culturally diverse, representative workforce. Such a workforce is best equipped to generate new knowledge and to translate that knowledge into practices and policies that can effectively address the needs of diverse populations. Within this context, NICHD continues to promote and support culturally competent, multidisciplinary research across the lifespan to understand the unique biological, demographic, developmental, epidemiological, environmental, behavioral, and social characteristics of health and well-being of infants, children, women, and families.

Institute leadership understands that creating a culturally diverse scientific workforce in fields relevant to NICHD’s research portfolio begins by ensuring diversity among those admitted to career development and educational programs. NICHD remains committed to supporting the recruitment and training of students and researchers from diverse backgrounds in order to produce well-trained, culturally competent professionals. Building on their own diversity, this next generation will advance research and understanding of the health needs of infants, children, women, and families in the United States and around the world.

Diversity-Targeted Programs

Catherine Y. Spong, M.D. Catherine Y. Spong, M.D.

Director's Statement

Diversifying the scientific workforce is a priority for NICHD. We are committed to training the best and brightest minds to advance our research mission. By developing a diverse workforce, we bring together people capable of both generating new perspectives on existing research problems as well as identifying new scientific opportunities. I wholeheartedly concur with a sentiment adapted from NICHD’s vision statement: “A diverse workforce helps us to choose research questions, not because they are the easiest to answer, but because they are the most important.”

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