Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) Research on Rehabilitation Needs Associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

September 29, 2020

First Available Due Date:
February 05, 2021
Expiration Date:
May 08, 2023

Related Announcements

PA-20-185- NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-18-480- NICHD Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)

PA-20-200 - NIH Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

PA-20-194 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Required)

Issued by

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)


The purpose of this Notice of Special Interest is to encourage applications in three areas related to the intersection of COVID-19, the associated mitigation actions, and rehabilitation:

  1. Encourage research to address the rehabilitation needs of survivors of COVID-19
  2. Understand the impact of disruptions to rehabilitation services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation actions
  3. Understand the social, behavioral, economic, and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated mitigation actions on people with physical disabilities

Research applications addressing these topics are considered responsive; not all topics are expected within the same application. Applications will be directed to the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) at NICHD.


About 15- 20% of people who contract SARS CoV-2 will develop a severe case of COVID-19. Ever improving developments in medical care means that a substantial majority of those people will survive. Early reports suggest that rehabilitation is required to restore pre-COVID-19 function.In particular, rehabilitation has been suggested for pulmonary and cardiac sequalae, post ICU syndrome, deconditioning and muscle wasting, dysphagia, neurological symptoms, and other sequalae from severe COVID-19 disease. While treatments are being informed by previous coronavirus outbreaks resulting in acute respiratory distress syndrome, rehabilitation from sepsis or other similar diseases, the particular needs of COVID-19 survivors and the efficacy of rehabilitation on these patients has not been studied; nor has the extent to which these rehabilitation services have been offered or utilized by survivors been reported.

People with physical disabilities are at particular risk for contracting SARS-CoV2 because mitigation strategies such as social distancing and increased hand washing may not be possible due to caregiving needs. Outbreaks of the virus in group homes and skilled nursing facilities suggest special attention is required to keep vulnerable populations from contracting or spreading the virus.Moreover, major disruptions in routine rehabilitation services have been reported as part of the mitigation strategies during the pandemic. Understanding the current rehabilitation landscape is necessary to inform future interventions.

Research Objectives

This NOSI invites research applications on the rehabilitation needs of COVID-19 survivors. At present, the best acute rehabilitation plan for people who have recovered from severe cases of COVID- 19 is unknown. Similarly, the long-term rehabilitation needs and sequalae of people who recover from COVID-19 are not well understood. Furthermore, the interplay of existing physical disabilities and recovery from COVID-19 is also unknown.

Research applications are also sought to understand the impact of disruptions to rehabilitation services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated mitigation actions. Applications that measure the impact of delayed treatment for common disabling conditions, such as stroke, are also sought.

Finally, research applications investigating the social, behavioral, and economic impact of COVID-19 on people with physical disabilities and their caregivers are requested.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • New clinical trials of acute, chronic, home, and community-based rehabilitation interventions (types, dosing, timing, and intensity) for survivors of severe COVID-19 (e.g. with lung involvement, neurological symptoms, or muscle wasting)
  • EHR analysis of rehabilitation services associated with COVID-19 treatment
  • Physical, social, economic, and health outcomes for patients who receive COVID-19 rehabilitation
  • Studies of how pandemic containment and mitigation actions, such as social distancing requirements, affect the care and well-being of people with disabilities and their caregivers
  • Studies focused on addressing the unique needs of formal and informal caregivers in assisting/supporting survivors of COVID-19 use new methods of rehabilitation delivery during the pandemic
  • Studies of how social distancing guidelines and requirements are implemented and impact people with disabilities in institutions, group settings, and other non-traditional settings
  • Studies examining the impact of healthcare-related stigma, discrimination, harassment, and/or refusal of care on seeking COVID-related healthcare for people with disabilities
  • Development and testing of new methods for delivery of rehabilitation in the home. Target patient groups include both people requiring rehabilitation following COVID-19 as well as typical rehabilitation patients
  • Development and testing of novel metrics of function for use in the home environment with emphasis on the use of mobile or digital devices

Application and Submission Information

This notice applies to due dates on or after February 5, 2021 and subsequent receipt dates through May 8, 2023.

Submit applications for this initiative using one of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) or any reissues of these announcement through the expiration date of this notice.

  • PA-20-185?- NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-18-480?- NICHD Research Project Grant (Parent R01 Clinical Trial Required)
  • PA-20-200 - NIH Small Research Grant Program (Parent R03 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
  • PA-20-194- NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21 Clinical Trial Required

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and the funding opportunity announcement used for submission must be followed, with the following additions:

  • For funding consideration, applicants must include NOT-HD-20-031 (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. Applications without this information in box 4B will not be considered for this initiative.

Applicants planning to submit an application in response to this NOSI are strongly encouraged to contact the NICHD scientific/programmatic contact(s) listed on this NOSI in advance of the application due date

Applications nonresponsive to terms of this NOSI will not be considered for the NOSI initiative.


Please direct all inquiries to the contacts in Section VII of the listed funding opportunity announcements with the following additions/substitutions:

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Theresa Cruz, PhD.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver?National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Telephone: 301-496-9233

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