Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the NIH HEAL Initiative: Preventing Opioid Misuse and other Drug Use by Intervening on Social Determinants (R01 Clinical Trials Optional)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
June 22, 2021
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
September 30, 2021
First Estimated Application Due Date:
January 07, 2022
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
September 01, 2022
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
September 01, 2022
Related Announcements


Issued by

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

All applications to this funding opportunity announcement should fall within the mission of the Institutes/Centers. The following NIH Offices may co-fund applications assigned to those Institutes/Centers.

Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)


NIDA, with other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), NIMHD and NIA , intend to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to seek applications for research on the impact of prevention strategies that actively address social determinants and that intervene at multiple levels of influence to reduce the risk of opioid misuse, polysubstance use, or risky substance use.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in Fall, 2021 with an expected application due date in Winter, 2022.

This FOA will utilize the R01 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

In April 2018, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative or HEAL InitiativeSM, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. As a part of this overall initiative, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in partnership with other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, intends to invite opioid and other drug use prevention research studies designed to modify malleable social determinants of health (SDOH) that are related to substance use outcomes.

SDOH are the conditions in environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes. In the fall of 2020, The NIH HEAL Initiative supported a meeting on the social determinants of opioid and other drug use (recording available at A theme emerging from this meeting was that while interventions to prevent health problems often are directed at individual behavior change, intervening only at the level of the individual may not have the intended effects in the absence of addressing community and structural factors.

The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities developed a Research Framework that defines factors relevant to understanding and reducing health disparities. This framework identifies four levels of influence as the individual, interpersonal, community and societal levels (see NIMHD Research Framework). While multi-level prevention strategies, in theory, may be desirable, the selection of complementary strategies that are effective, efficient, cost effective, and scalable while being acceptable to community members and stakeholders is challenging.


This initiative will support projects that intervene on substance use risks that fall within the SDOH domains (e.g., structural racism, historical trauma, crime and victimization, social isolation, homelessness, neighborhood disadvantage, access to services) and test manipulations of upstream causes of disordered substance use. Studies will include interventions at one or more levels of influence as identified by the NIMHD framework, with an emphasis placed on interventions that move beyond research at the individual level. Each intervention must be theoretically grounded and have strong conceptual and/or empirical support for its potential effects on the outcomes of interest. Interventions must be designed to affect change in risks or risk behaviors related to opioid and other substance misuse. Investigators are expected to provide evidence for the feasibility of the proposed interventions. Furthermore, research on intervention effects and mechanisms must be designed with attention to rigor.

A goal of this initiative is to study approaches to prevention that have the potential for adoption by the relevant systems and settings involved in the research after the studies end. In the interest of long-term sustainability, investigators will be expected to engage stakeholders and end-users as partners in the research. Furthermore, priority will be given to study protocols where intervention costs are supported by public or private entities (i.e., separate from the funding to conduct research).

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into interdisciplinary sciences and multi-level interventions to prevent opioid and other substance disorders to consider applying for this new FOA. In addition, collaborative investigations combining expertise in social determinants of health and health equity-focused research will be encouraged.

Applications for the initiative should include appropriate expertise related to the mechanisms that underlie the impact of social determinants on substance use outcomes, as well as appropriate expertise in translation of mechanistic knowledge into substance use disorder prevention strategies.

Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding

$2.7 million

Expected Number of Awards


Estimated Award Ceiling


Primary Assistance Listing Number(s)


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
State Government
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
County governments
Independent school districts
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
U.S. Territory or Possession
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Regional Organization
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities

Applications are not being solicited at this time. 


Please direct all inquiries to:

Aria Davis Crump, Sc.D.

National Institute on Drug Abuse


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