Full Text LM-96-002
 
MEDICAL INFORMATICS RESEARCH TRAINING PROGRAMS
 
NIH GUIDE, Volume 25, Number 12, April 19, 1996
 
RFA:  LM-96-002
 
P.T. 44

Keywords: 
  0710078 

 
National Library of Medicine
 
Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  June 3, 1996
Application Receipt Date:  June 19, 1996
 
PURPOSE
 
The National Library of Medicine invites grant applications in a
single competition for support of predoctoral and postdoctoral
training programs in medical informatics research.  Applications may
be for the creation of new training centers or for the renewal of
existing NLM-supported training programs.  Applications may be for
the creation of new training centers or for the renewal of existing
NLM-supported training programs.  Such training will help meet a
growing need for qualified, talented investigators, well prepared to
address information problems in health care, health profession's
education, biomedical research, health services research, and public
health.  These investigators will contribute to the growth of science
by their studies of knowledge management and by advancing the
frontiers of the computer sciences for acquiring, organizing,
retrieving, and utilizing health knowledge.  The expectation is that
trainees will become able, cross-disciplinary informatics
specialists.
 
HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000
 
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"
a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This Request
for Applications (RFA), Medical Informatics Research Training, is
related to the priority area of surveillance and data systems.
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000" (Full
Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No.
017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).
 
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
 
Domestic, public and private, non-profit institutions engaged in
health sciences' administration, education, research, and/or clinical
care are eligible to apply.  "Health sciences" is defined as
medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health, pharmacy, veterinary
medicine, and other sciences related to health.  Racial/ethnic
minority individuals, women, and those with disabilities are
encouraged to apply.
 
Groups (or cooperatives) of health-related institutions are also
eligible to apply.  A single, lead institution must apply on behalf
of the group; letters of agreement defining mutual responsibilities
must be provided in the application and signed by authorized
officials of each participating institution.
 
MECHANISM OF SUPPORT
 
This RFA will use the continuing education training grant (T15)
mechanism.  These awards are authorized by the Medical Library
Assistance Act and are not a part of the National Research Service
Awards Program of the Public Health Service.  However, the policies
and requirements of the NLM program are similar to Public Health
Service National Research Service Awards.
 
Trainees must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United
States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the
time of appointment.  Individuals on temporary or student visas are
not eligible.
 
Predoctoral students who have been accepted as candidates for the
doctor of philosophy of science or equivalent degree at their
institutions may be appointed as predoctoral trainees for a period
not to exceed three years.  Individuals who wish to interrupt their
medical, veterinary, dental, or other professional school studies for
a year or more to engage in full-time research training before
completing their professional degrees are eligible.
 
The current stipend level for predoctoral individuals at all levels
of experience is $10,008 per annum.
 
Postdoctoral individuals must have received, as of the beginning date
of appointment, a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.V.M., O.D., D.P.M.,
Sc.D., Eng.D., Dr.P.H., D.N.Sc., or equivalent degree from an
accredited domestic or foreign institution.  Certification by an
authorized official of the degree-granting institution that all
degree requirements have been met is acceptable.
 
The postdoctoral stipend for the first year of support is determined
by the number of years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the
time of appointment.  Relevant experience may include research
experience (including industrial), teaching, internship, residency,
or other time spent in full-time studies in a health-related field
beyond that of the qualifying doctoral degree.  The stipend for each
additional year of support is the next level on the stipend
structure. Current postdoctoral stipends are as follows:
 
Years of Relevant Experience       Stipend
 
           0                        $19,608
           1                        $20,700
           2                        $25,600
           3                        $26,900
           4                        $28,200
           5                        $29,500
           6                        $30,800
           7 or more                $32,300
 
Stipends may be supplemented by an institution from non-Federal
funds.  No Federal funds may be used for stipend supplementation
unless specifically authorized under the terms of the program from
which funds are derived.  Under no circumstances may the conditions
of stipend supplementation detract from or prolong the training.
 
Tuition, fees, and self-only health insurance are allowable trainee
costs if such charges are required of all persons in a similar
training status at the institution, without regard to their source of
support.  These costs will be fully reimbursed up to $2,000 plus 60
percent of such costs above $2,000.  Tuition at the postdoctoral
level is limited to that required for specific courses in support of
the approved training program.  Costs of trainee travel, including
attendance at scientific meetings which the institution determines to
be necessary to the individual's training, may be requested.
 
Institutional costs of up to $1,500 per year per predoctoral trainee
and up to $2,500 per year per postdoctoral trainee may be requested
to defray the costs of training-related expenses such as staff
salaries, consultant costs, equipment, research supplies, staff
travel, and other expenses.  The availability of funds may modify the
maximum levels of institutional costs awarded.  An indirect cost
allowance based on eight percent of total allowable direct costs or
actual, whichever is less, may be requested.
 
In their proposed budgets, applicants should request trainee travel
funds for a two-day meeting each year, to be held at the National
Library of Medicine in Bethesda or at one of the training sites.  The
purpose of these meetings will be to exchange information among
trainees, program directors, NLM program staff, and other selected
participants.
 
Short-term traineeships are available for students in medical or
other professional schools of the health sciences.  Such training is
intended to give a limited number of selected students summer or
"off-quarter" opportunities for involvement in research so that they
might consider medical informatics as a career option.  Students
selected should be encouraged to have two or more short-term training
appointments during the period of their professional school years,
thus giving an individual student multiple periods of exposure to
research training.  Senior students would not normally be eligible
for a first appointment to a short-term traineeship; exceptions may
be requested from NLM.  The stipend level for such short-term
traineeships is prorated at a $10,008 annual rate.
 
Recognizing that training programs of this nature require reasonably
long-term continuity, NLM is prepared to approve awards for five-year
periods.  At an appropriate time, the availability of renewal support
for these training program grants will be announced.
 
FUNDS AVAILABLE
 
NLM plans to make available approximately $4,000,000 for this program
in FY 1997.  It is expected that about ten training grants will be
awarded; however, an actual award of grants pursuant to this RFA is
necessarily contingent upon receipt of funds appropriated for this
purpose.  The specific number will also depend upon the merit and
scope of applications received.
 
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
 
Background
 
Medical informatics goes beyond the use of the computer as a
computational tool and extends into the process of knowledge
representation, acquisition, storage, retrieval, and manipulation
largely to support reasoning and decision-making.  Although
postdoctoral candidates for training should be clearly destined for
health research careers in this field, their doctorates may have been
earned in any appropriate field of endeavor, such as medicine,
dentistry, nursing, computer science, engineering or any of the
biological sciences.  Sites should be academic medical centers;
however, consortium training arrangements with other graduate schools
and institutions are encouraged.
 
Objectives and scope
 
Acceptable applications must clearly indicate that the primary intent
of the program preparation is for a career in medical informatics
research.  Applications must describe the process by which trainees
will become familiar with the many relevant disciplines.  To prepare
trainees for careers in a demanding research environment, the
sponsorship of a research-oriented, academic health sciences
institution is critical.  It is expected that the core of training
will emphasize the synthesis, organization, retrieval, and effective
management of knowledge.  The curricula should be interdisciplinary -
- involving medicine and other health related professions, the
biological sciences, the cognitive sciences, information science, and
computer science.  Training sites must offer an excellent setting for
instruction, involvement in important health-related computer
research, and opportunities for meaningful trainee involvement in
such research.
 
In addition to the general goal of assisting in the education of
persons who can take academic positions to conduct research and teach
medical informatics, several more specialized additions will be
available to enhance the research training programs.  Some potential
enhancement areas (described in the following paragraphs) are high
performance computing and communication, biotechnology, health
services research and public health, cancer, dental, and nursing
information systems.  Additional training slots may become available
to those who provide training in these special areas.  Applicants are
encouraged to indicate their experience in any of these enhancement
areas, and to indicate those areas (if any) in which they may plan to
offer training experience, or in which they could in the future
accept candidates for training.
 
High performance computers and high speed computer networks are key
technologies for modern science.  These activities include creation
and transmission of digital electronic images, linking of academic
health centers via the future high performance communication
networks, and development of advanced methods of retrieving
biomedical information (as well as molecular biology computing, and
training in informatics).
 
The establishment within NLM of the National Center for Biotechnology
Information intensifies the Library's interest and responsibilities
in this special area of informatics.  The appearance of new
experimental methods has greatly increased the rate at which data are
accumulating about the molecular control of life processes.  Because
of their enormous size and complexity, the vast data accumulations
can only be analyzed and compared by sophisticated computer
methodologies.  Applicants are urged to include training in
biotechnology informatics in their proposed curriculum, if such
training is feasible and appropriate for the institution.
 
The establishment within NLM of the National Information Center for
Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)
underscores NLM's commitment to improving information support for
health services research.  The development of computer-based patient
record systems should allow automatic generation of some health
services research data and public health data as a by-product of
individual patient care.  There are many complex and important
informatics issues related to the anonymization, transmission,
aggregation, and analysis of large amounts of patient data for health
services research and public health surveillance.  Applicants are
urged to include training in health services research and public
health informatics, if such training is feasible and appropriate for
the institution.
 
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) plans to make available up to
$120,000 through this RFA.  These funds would support trainees whose
projects deal with the application of medical informatics approaches
to the problems of cancer diagnosis and therapy.  For support under
this special training track, applicants should request consideration
for funding by NCI and should describe how their projects will be of
benefit to the field of cancer.  The sponsoring institution must
indicate its awareness of and commitment to the application of
medical informatics to oncologic research that is relevant to the
diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  The purpose of this special
training track is to stimulate qualified candidates to apply for
postdoctoral Medical informatics training in areas that deal directly
with cancer-related topics. When possible, the curricula should be
interdisciplinary --involving an oncology discipline, cognitive
sciences, information sciences and/or computer science.
 
The National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) plans to support
through this RFA up to three trainees at a total cost of no more than
$90,000.  The training positions will be distributed among one or
more sites depending on the relevance and assessment of proposed
programs.  The objective of this effort is to develop highly
qualified investigators committed to a research career in oral health
informatics, which integrates and applies the computer, information,
and cognitive sciences to oral health and disease.  Trainees can be
individuals with a D.D.S., D.M.D., M.D., or equivalent degree, or
pre- and post-Ph.D.  It is essential that research training
activities specifically apply informatics to areas pursued by the
NIDR.  These include:  (1) the etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis,
prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental caries, periodontal and
oral soft tissue diseases, oral cancer, oral manifestations of AIDS
and HIV infection, salivary gland conditions, craniofacial anomalies,
orofacial pain, and temporomandibular disorders; (2) the molecular
and cellular study of the development, structure and function of
teeth, jaws, oral mucosa, bone, connective tissue, and salivary
glands; (3) behavioral, social, cultural, economic, and health care
delivery issues related to oral health and disease; (4) biomaterials,
dental implants, biomimetics, and tissue engineering; (5) fluoride
and nutrition; and (6) oral conditions prevalent among older
Americans, a particular gender, minorities, people with particular
systemic diseases, and other individuals and groups at high risk for
oral  health problems.
 
The preparation of competent scientists remains the primary goal of
the training program.  However, NLM recognizes that informatics
specialists are often called upon for assistance in addressing
information needs of a health center, and strongly encourages program
directors to provide trainees with some exposure to the problems of
managing and integrating health enterprise information systems.  Such
training may be of particular interest to students whose traditional
terminal degree is not a doctorate, but who desire a relevant
doctoral degree.
 
Training grant applications which include sponsors/preceptors who are
requesting support in one or more of these enhancement areas will be
subjected to the same peer review process as all other applications
submitted in response to this RFA, and grants selected for an award
will be administered by the NLM.  Prospective applicants who have an
interest in these special training tracks should declare their
interest and focus that part of the application on areas that support
relevant problem-solving topics.
 
Support of training slots by other agencies will be based on the
Initial Review Group's recommendation and priority score, relevance
of the proposed project, program interests and the availability of
funds.
 
Institutions wishing to include the research experience gained by a
trainee toward the research requirements of Board certification may
do so at their discretion.  Applications designed as preparation for
certification in toto in medical specialties will not be acceptable.
 
LETTER OF INTENT
 
Prospective applicants are asked to submit by June 3, 1996, a letter
of intent that includes a descriptive title of the proposed training,
the name, address, telephone number and email address of the Training
Director, the identities of other key personnel and participating
institutions and the number and title of the RFA in response to which
the application may be submitted.  The letter of intent is requested
in order to provide an indication of the number and scope of
applications to be reviewed.  The letter of intent is not binding,
nor is it a requirement for submission of an application.  The letter
of intent is to be sent to:
 
Roger W. Dahlen, Ph.D.
Biomedical Information Support Branch
National Library of Medicine
Building 38A, Room 5S522
Bethesda, MD  20894
Telephone:  (301) 496-4221
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Email:  dahlen@lhc.nlm.nih.gov
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURES
 
Applications are to be submitted on research grant application PHS
398 (rev. 5/95).  Beginning on page V-1 are instructions specific for
institutional training grant applications.  Applications kits are
available at most institutional offices of sponsored research and may
be obtained from the Grants Information Office, Office of Extramural
Outreach and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health,
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone
301/435-0714, email:  ASKNIH@odrockm1.od.nih.gov.
 
In line 2 of the face page, applicants must clearly identify the
application as a response to this RFA by entering the title, "Medical
Informatics Research Training," and the RFA number.  Attach the RFA
label or a facsimile to the bottom of the face page of the original
application.
 
Send or deliver the completed application and five signed, exact
photocopies to:
 
DIVISION OF RESEARCH GRANTS
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE,  ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)
 
Applications must be received by June 19, 1996.  The initial review
group will meet in August, and the Board of Regents of the National
Library of Medicine will conduct a final review in September.  NLM
will notify successful applicants about an intention to award shortly
after the Board meeting.  Although notification of intent to award
cannot assure an award, only those so notified will be considered for
funding.  It is intended to issue awards with a July 1, 1997 begin
date.  In the administration of awards, the policies and requirements
of the grant programs of the Public Health Service apply.
 
REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS
 
Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the
NIH Division of Research Grants (DRG) and for responsiveness by NLM.
Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without
further consideration. Applications that are complete and responsive
to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an
appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with the
standard NIH peer review procedures. As part of the initial merit
review, all applications will receive a written critique and undergo
a process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest
scientific merit, generally the top half of applications under
review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a
second level review by the appropriate national advisory council or
board.
 
Review Criteria
 
o past research training record for both the program and the
designated preceptors in terms of the rate which former trainees
establish independent and productive research careers
 
o past research training record in terms of the success of former
trainees in obtaining individual awards such as fellowships, career
awards, FIRST awards, and research grants
 
o objectives, design, and direction of the research training program
 
o caliber of preceptors as researchers including successful
competition for research support
 
o training environment including the institutional commitment, the
quality of the facilities, and the availability of research support
 
o recruitment and selection plans for appointees and the availability
of high quality candidates
 
o the record of the research training program in retaining health-
professional postdoctoral trainees for at least two years in research
training or other research activities
 
o the applicant's specific plans for the recruitment of individuals
from under represented minorities and women.
 
o  the applicant's past record in selecting representatives from
under represented groups and in training them for research programs.
 
o  a description of the formal or informal activities related to
instruction about the responsible conduct of research that will be
incorporated into the proposed research training program.
 
AWARD CRITERIA
 
Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved
applications assigned to that IC.  The following will be considered
in making funding decisions:
Quality of the proposed project as determined by peer review,
availability of funds, and program priority.
 
INQUIRIES
 
Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to
clarify any issues or questions from potential applicants is welcome.
 
Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:
 
Roger W. Dahlen, Ph.D.
Biomedical Information Support Branch
Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Building 38A, Room 5S522
Bethesda, MD 20894
Telephone:  301-496-4221
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Email:  dahlen@lhc.nlm.nih.gov
 
Direct inquiries regarding grants management and fiscal matters to:
 
Ms Ruth Bortz
Extramural Programs
National Library of Medicine
Building 38A, Room 5N515
Bethesda, MD  20894
Telephone:  (301) 496-4253
FAX:  (301) 402-0421
Email:  bortz@nes.nlm.nih.gov
 
AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS
 
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic
Assistance, Medical Library Assistance, 13.879. Grants will be
awarded under the authority of the Public Health  Service Act,
Section 472 (42 USC 286b-3) and administered under PHS grant policies
and Federal Regulations, most specifically at 42 CFR Part 52 and 45
CFR Part 74.  This program is not subject to review by a Health
Systems Agency nor to the requirements of OMB Circular A-95.
 
The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to
provide a smoke-free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco
products.  In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of
1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any
portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education,
library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS
mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the
American people.
 
.

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