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Message from the NIH Director: National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear NIH Family,

The National Institutes of Health joins the nation in celebrating and commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 through October 15. This annual observance, initially recognized in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, is set aside to honor the cultures and contributions of American citizens whose roots are in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

This year’s national theme, Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope, allows us to reflect on the contributions that both Hispanic and Latino Americans have made in the past and will continue to make in the future. Moreover, it reminds us that aspiring to a better tomorrow will continue to sustain and reinforce our resilience in the toughest of times. In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, I encourage each of you to recognize how the collective efforts of a diverse and inclusive workforce have brought so much hope to our country and world. Our work has not been limited to efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; together, we have tackled numerous biomedical research challenges over the years that have helped build a better and healthier future for all.

As the country recognizes the contributions of individuals from Hispanic and Latino backgrounds, we seek to do the same here at NIH. I am thankful that this community has contributed to the great work being done by NIH and am disappointed that our workforce data suggests a lack of representation of individuals who identify as Hispanic or Latino. This issue of underrepresentation has not gone unnoticed, and I can assure you it is on my mind and in my conversations with our agency’s leaders.

This is why I fully support the President’s Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics signed on September 13, confirming that our nation and, more specifically, NIH, has a commitment to reach our ambitious goals of ensuring equal access to educational and economic opportunity for all.

Over the next few weeks, I invite you to visit the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s (EDI) website and explore the online campaign celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition, if you are interested in learning how you can support the NIH Hispanics Portfolio and the work we are doing to highlight and promote diversity and inclusion at NIH, please contact Gerard Roman, EDI’s Hispanics Portfolio Strategist, at 301-827-4677 or

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
NIH Director

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