programs as having worked well to address the needs of special populations, including NCI-sponsored smoking cessation programs.

Recommendations

The respondents made recommendations in several general categories. These are summarized below. Representative comments related to each of the recommendations are presented in Appendix D.

    1.  

    Involve community members and community-based researchers as partners in the research process.

    Many respondents felt strongly that community leaders and grassroots community health organizations offer invaluable expertise in assisting researchers who are planning community-based research. Community members are an underused resource who can assist in the design and implementation of research strategies, but only if they are involved as full partners in the process. NIH should encourage community collaboration, in the view of many respondents.

    2.  

    Improvements should be made in training and grant programs to increase the capacity for scientific research among minority and medically underserved populations.

    Many respondents felt that the quality and quantity of proposals for health research among minority and medically underserved populations will improve only when the numbers of minority scientists are increased. Although most respondents praised NIH's minority scientist training programs, many urged greater attention to the needs of minority scientists at early career stages (i.e., at the postdoctoral and junior faculty stages of their careers). Others advocated for more outreach efforts to inform minority scientists of research funding opportunities and mentoring for successful grant competition.

    3.  

    Scientists from minority and medically underserved communities should be involved in the NIH priority-setting process and in staffing of NIH positions.

    Several respondents pointed to a lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness of the needs of ethnic minority and medically underserved communities on the part of NIH scientific review groups and staff as a key impediment to increasing the number of programs targeted to these populations and funding research targeted to these populations.

    4.  

    Involve community members and community-based researchers as partners in research priority-setting.



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