African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native-Americans, Native- Hawaiians, Alaska-Natives, and Pacific-Islanders suffer poorer health than White Americans. Differences in health status across racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. have been described for a wide array of diseases, conditions and outcomes. The aforementioned minority populations experience disproportionately higher infant mortality, lower rates of childhood vaccination, later diagnosis of treatable neoplasm, a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and shorter life spans than the White population. The gap in disease rates has been documented for years, and has persisted. This health disparities picture, generally acknowledged as the basis for the country's low health status ranking among industrial nations, prompted President Clinton in 1998 to launch the Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Initiative, which set a national goal of eliminating these disparities by 2010. In the time period since President Clinton launched the health disparities initiative, each NIH Institute/Center has developed a strategic plan to improve the health and quality of life for underrepresented minority Americans through public education, new training programs to produce minority researchers and new funding for research on diseases impacting health disparities populations within each Institute's statutory mandate. Central to the NIH's overall strategic plan, are initiatives to (1) increase the numbers of underrepresented students entering the biomedical pipeline, and (2) identify, showcase, nurture and train underrepresented minorities already in the biomedical pipeline. ? ? In order to increase the number of scientists addressing the health disparities issue, the Minority Trainee Research Forum (MTRF) was developed as a longitudinal vehicle to identify, showcase, nurture and offer further training opportunities to underrepresented minorities in the biomedical pipeline. This national invitational scientific meeting allows the serious trainees at every level of the pipeline to orally present their research, stand in the poster session, and receive an award for their research achievements. Each year, a national abstract competition generates 72 winners in six categories: 12 high school trainees, 12 college trainees, 12 M.D. trainees, 12 M.D./Ph.D. trainees, 12 Ph.D. trainees and 12 postdoctoral fellows. The grant has permitted the establishment of a national registry of minority trainees in the pipeline which academia, industry and the NIH can draw on to stock initiatives designed to eliminate health disparities. ? ? ?