Request for Information (RFI): Seeking input to Identify and Explore Experiences Utilizing the Whole Person Perspective and Evidence for its Value in the Care of People with Cancer
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

June 17, 2024

Response Date:
August 18, 2024

Related Announcements


Issued by

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking information about ongoing or planned activities (e.g., research projects, conferences, training opportunities, etc.) regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care for cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) strategic plan defines whole person research as (1) exploring the fundamental science of interconnected systems; (2) investigating multicomponent interventions or therapeutic systems; and (3) examining the impact of these interventions on multisystem or multiorgan outcomes. Whole person care is a comprehensive, multidimensional, integrated approach to health care, involving biopsychosocial aspects of well-being to promote resilience, prevent disease, and restore health through the use of conventional and complementary approaches. It is a patient-centered approach that aligns with a person’s life mission, aspirations, and purpose. NCI requests information regarding perceived opportunities in the area of whole person care with regard to cancer, as well as perceived obstacles in developing this field of research. Building on prior efforts, NCI seeks to identify and explore evidence for the value of the whole person perspective when caring for people with cancer. The information gathered from this Request for Information (RFI) is intended to inform and frame the discussions for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) think tank discussion in fall of 2024. 


The use of terms such as “whole person care” and “whole-person health” in medical literature has increased substantially over the last 20 years. Simultaneously, other related concepts such as whole-patient care, patient-centered care, value-concordant care, team-based medicine, and integrative medicine have emerged and are attracting much attention and stimulating discussion about their relative value in standard medical care. These terms are being incorporated into strategic plans and program descriptions of components of the US government and perhaps to a somewhat more limited degree in medical research grant applications funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. While most of the dialogue on these issues has been in the context of primary care, more limited discussions have involved the field of cancer care.
Various programs and initiatives from NCI include elements relevant to whole person care. Within the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, the Behavioral Research Program is one such program along with the Office of Cancer Survivorship. Within the Division of Cancer Prevention, the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group manages a portfolio of multicenter trials and other clinical projects that involve aspects of whole person care and include patient reported outcomes (PROs) as primary endpoints, and the Symptom Science portfolio includes exploration of biopsychosocial effects from cancer and cancer treatment aiming at improving quality of life. Also, the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis supports a portfolio of projects and manages a grant portfolio that explores the integrated uses of non-standard therapies some of which may include an expanded view of the patient, approaching a whole person perspective.
Understanding how whole person cancer care integrates with personalized medicine and how its application may differ between people from diverse populations, including those from racial and ethnic or sexual orientation and gender minority groups, will illuminate future directions for this area of science. A better understanding of the goals and products of research and clinical activities in the whole person health space, as well as the experiences and opinions of people doing this work, would be valuable to NCI program staff who are evaluating or considering developing activities and programs on this topic.

Information Requested

NCI seeks information and actionable recommendations on:

  • Previous, ongoing, or prospective research projects regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Previous or prospective conferences regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Previous, ongoing, or prospective training opportunities regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Organizations participating in or supporting whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Perceived opportunities regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Perceived challenges regarding whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.
  • Other relevant comments or information on whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.

NCI also seeks to learn about experiences and opinions from people who are knowledgeable about whole person care and/or cancer care regarding:

  • Is “whole person care” a useful term/concept regarding the care of cancer patients?
  • What are the barriers (knowledge gaps, reimbursement, etc.) that inhibit the effective implementation of the whole person care concept in cancer care?
  • What resources are needed to more effectively implement whole person care models in various cancer care settings?
  • What are the health equity issues that must be considered when implementing whole person care and cancer?
  • Other relevant comments or information on whole person research or whole person-based clinical care and cancer.


Responses will be accepted through August 18, 2024
Note: Do not include any proprietary or confidential information.

Submitting a Response

Comments should be submitted electronically on this Web-page. To ensure consideration, responses must be submitted by 11:59 PM (ET) on August 18, 2024. Responses to this RFI are voluntary and may be submitted anonymously. You may voluntarily include your name and contact information with your response. If you choose to provide NIH with this information, NIH will not share your name and contact information outside of NIH unless required by law. Responses from professional organizations are welcome and encouraged.

This RFI is for informational and planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for use of that information.
Responses may be compiled and shared publicly as unedited version in an anonymous manner after the close of the comment period. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. The government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information on public websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future notices of funding opportunities. The NIH may use information gathered by this RFI to inform development of future guidance and policy directions.

We look forward to your input and hope you will share this RFI with your colleagues.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Jeffrey D. White, MD
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD)
National Cancer Institute (NCI) 
Telephone: 240-276-6595

Brennan Parmelee Streck, PhD, RN, MPH
Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP)
National Cancer Institute (NCI) 
Telephone: 301-357-0516

Paige A. Green, PhD, MPH, FABMR, FAPS 
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6899