RELEASE DATE:  September 11, 2003

NOTICE:   NOT-HS-04-025 - 

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (http://www.ahrq.gov) BACKGROUND The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is updating its policy on minority supplement awards. A minority supplement is a type of program expansion supplement in which the program aims are to increase the number of minority health services researchers and to expand research on topics relevant to minority health. AHRQ funded grantees can submit requests for minority supplement funds as described below. This policy update complies with the fundamental principle underlying the distribution of all Federal research grant funding, which is to ensure that competition for grant funds is as open as possible. POLICY The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has recently updated its guidance on two types of supplemental awards to research grants, program expansion supplements and administrative supplements. (See AHRQ new policy guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-04-022.html). Program expansion supplement funds are an add-on to the parent grant to cover costs that expand the level, type, or quality of effort. A minority supplement is a type of program expansion supplement that aims to either increase the number of minority health services researchers or to expand research on topics relevant to minority health. The Principal Investigator or AHRQ may initiate requests for minority supplements. Funding requests for large research grant (e.g., R01, R18) supplements are limited by AHRQ to 20 percent of the approved Federal direct costs for the project period or $250,000, whichever is less. Small research grant (R03) supplement requests are limited by AHRQ to 10 percent of the approved direct costs for the project. For small grants, total cumulative funds awarded by AHRQ may not exceed $100,000. All minority supplement requests will undergo an independent, objective review for merit. Reviewed grants will then compete for available funds. The updated AHRQ policy on minority supplements will take effect with the publication of this notice. Generally, the Agency provides funding each fiscal year to support supplemental awards. The amount of the set-aside is dependent upon the availability of funds. Minority supplements may be for one or more years as justified and appropriate. All minority supplement awards will be made consistent with the Agency's mission and research priority areas. Grantees should not request funds to support activities performed prior to the funding decision nor for activities to be performed beyond the approved project period end date. The Agency will supplement the parent grant to achieve one of two goals: (1) to increase the number of minority health services researchers, and (2) to expand research on topics relevant to minority health. Goal 1- Increase the number of minority health services researchers Health services research studies the quality and safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of health care, as well as access to health care for all Americans and improvements in health care systems. Racial and ethnic minorities are not adequately represented throughout health services research. Their inclusion in prominent and significant roles is critical to a better understanding of the nature and context of problems encountered in delivering and ensuring health care in minority populations, addressing health care disparities associated with race and ethnicity, and translating research into practice. Minority researchers can contribute to the technical expertise in the conduct of research grants and add to the cultural competence, appropriateness, and credibility of such research. Within this context, one of the goals of minority supplement funding is to provide support for the research and career development of minority professionals who are committed to a career of research excellence and who have the potential to develop into independent research scientists. Goal 2 - Increase emphasis on minority health issues Principal investigators may request support to (1) augment work in progress to study aspects that directly affect or are relevant to minority populations; (2) increase substantially the competence and focus of health services research team in order to enhance the effect of their research on the health of minority populations; and, (3) disseminate and translate research findings to minority communities, including the publication of research in minority professional journals. Goal 2 may be achieved without the recruitment or training set forth in Goal 1. However, the Agency encourages investigators to involve minority groups in the proposed design so as to increase the relevance, appropriateness, and translation of research to practice. The Agency encourages grantees to study racial and ethnic disparities in priority populations. Priority populations include low-income groups; inner- city areas and rural groups (including frontier areas); children; women; minority groups; the elderly; and those with special health care needs; including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care. The Agency also seeks to develop and broaden the national infrastructure for conducting health services research on minority health issues in the following priority areas of focus: o Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP): Supplemental requests are encouraged in the conduct of innovative and rigorous research and evaluation projects related to the translation of research findings into measurable improvements in quality, patient safety, healthcare outcomes and cost, use, and access. This includes particular attention to research that can bridge the chasm between promising prototypes and generalizable knowledge that can be applied in multiple settings. o Patient Safety: One of the important elements in the AHRQ mission is to support the development of multidisciplinary research teams in building the knowledge base on the scope and impact of medical errors - particularly for diverse care settings and priority populations, identify the root causes of threats to patient safety and effective system approaches to prevent the occurrence of errors, study the effectiveness of various interventions to capture information on medical errors; and disseminate and evaluate the outcomes of promising interventions in a variety of health care settings and across a variety of health care professionals. o Bioterrorism: AHRQ is interested in research that investigates and evaluates promising practices and strategies being developed and implemented at the State, local, and health system level to promote health system readiness in response to bioterrorism. Also of interest is the application of available methods and tools that can be of assistance in developing systems capacity and enhancing readiness in rural as well as urban areas. Applicants are encouraged to review, Building the Evidence to Promote Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergency Preparedness in Health Care Systems" at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-03-130.html. o Prevention: AHRQ is interested in research related to the Public Health Service's health promotion and disease prevention objectives as outlined in "Healthy People 2010". (http://www.health.gov/healthypeople). Of particular interest would be those research projects investigating the appropriate use of clinical preventive services, such as screening tests, immunizations, and counseling, which are based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF, see http://www.ahcpr.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm) DEFINITION OF MINORITY INVESTIGATOR: Minority investigators are investigators who belong to an ethnic or racial group that is under represented in health services research. Such groups include African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. To participate, minority investigators must be citizens or resident aliens of the United States. REVIEW PROCESS Grantee institutions applying for minority supplement funds should submit the request using the face page, pages 4 and 5 (budget and budget justification) from the Application for Public Health Service Grant (PHS 398, revised May 2001, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html). The request should include appropriate specification of the period in which supplemental funds will be expended. In addition, the application should discuss the following: o how the supplemental funds will be used to build upon the scope of the current project, including details of the expanded study methodology o revised project timeline if applicable (Note: if the timeline is revised, it may not exceed the approved project period end date) o how the supplemental funds will enhance and expand study results and outcomes related to AHRQ's priority populations and minority health issues o significance and importance of the supplemental funds to the project's research goals o how funds will be used to enhance the skills of minority investigators, including career development and research activities designed to contribute to a career in health services research o relevance to AHRQ's research mission and goals The narrative portion of the minority supplement request may not exceed 10 pages in length. The request must be signed by the principal investigator and the authorized institutional official. The scientific and technical review for merit of minority supplement requests will consist of two types of processes, depending on the minority supplement budget request. Requests for minority supplement funds that are less than $50,000 in direct costs will be evaluated internally by AHRQ staff along with the AHRQ Grants Management Officer. Requests for minority supplement funds that are greater than $50,000 in direct costs will undergo external peer review. The AHRQ Grants Management Officer will also evaluate the request. General Review Criteria For all minority supplement requests, the review criteria are as follows: o appropriateness/fit of the supplement request to the original scope of the project; o consistency with the AHRQ mission and research priorities; o alignment to minority supplement program goals; o significance and originality from a scientific or technical viewpoint; o adequacy of the proposed methods; o availability of data or adequacy of the plan to collect required data; o adequacy and appropriateness of plans for organizing and carrying out the project; o qualifications and experience of the investigators; o reasonableness of budget and the time frame relative to the proposed work; o ability of the grantee to complete the additional work within the approved project period; o adequacy of the facilities and resources available; o adequacy of mentorship and career development for minority investigators; o representation of women and AHRQ priority populations (as appropriate); and, o adequacy of the proposed means for protecting human subjects. The project officer for the parent grant will make a recommendation regarding funding based on the results of the review process. APPLICATION SUBMISSION PROCEDURES: Please submit requests to: Ms. Mable Lam Grants Management Officer Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road, Room 4216 Rockville, MD 20850 Telephone: 301-427-1448 E-mail: mlam@ahrq.gov For minority supplement requests, investigators should submit the original and five copies. WHERE TO SEND INQUIRIES: AHRQ welcomes the opportunity to clarify issues or discuss questions from investigators about minority supplement awards. It is strongly recommended that investigators consult with their AHRQ grant project officer prior to submission of any request. General questions about the minority supplement program can be directed to: Kaytura Felix Aaron, M.D Senior Advisor, Minority Health Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road, Room 2214 Rockville, MD 20850 Telephone: (301) 427-1395 E-mail: kfaaron@ahrq.gov General questions about AHRQ extramural grants policies and procedures can be directed to: Debbie Rothstein, Ph.D. Senior Advisor, Extramural Research Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road, Room 2030 Rockville, MD 20850 Telephone: (301) 427-1525 Email: drothste@ahrq.gov Please contact the AHRQ project officer on the parent grant to discuss specific questions related to parent grant. Inquiries regarding fiscal and eligibility matters can be directed to: Ms. Joan Metcalfe Division of Grants Management Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 540 Gaither Road, Room 4214 Rockville, MD 20850 Telephone: (301) 427-1450 E-mail: jmetcalf@ahrq.gov AWARD CRITERIA Requests for grant supplements will compete for available funds with other similar requests for AHRQ support. The following will be considered in making funding decisions: assessment of technical merit, focus of the proposed supplemental work relative to the goals of the minority supplement program, potential significance of the work, fit with AHRQ priorities and overall program balance, contribution to the field of health services research, and the availability of funds.

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