Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Career Development (K01, K02, K08) Grants focused on Health Care Associated Infections in Ambulatory Care Settings

Notice Number: NOT-HS-10-009

Key Dates
Release Date: January 15, 2010

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare for all Americans. AHRQ achieves this mission, in part, by supporting health services research grants.

In Fiscal Year 2010, AHRQ intends to support individual mentored and independent career-development grants (I.e., K01, K02, K08 grants) to doctorally-prepared clinicians and scientists interested in pursuing research careers related to the prevention and more effective management of health care associated infections (HAIs). The objective of individual career development grants is to provide support and protected time for an intensive, mentored or independent research career development experience. Details on the scope, eligibility, deadlines, and application procedures for these grants can be found at one of the following sites: http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/training/trainix.htm#indlg, or http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/.

Applicants must have an interest in developing their careers on research related to infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting including: acute care areas within hospitals, same day surgical centers, dialysis centers, ambulatory outpatient care clinics, and long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. These HAIs are associated with a variety of causes, including, but not limited to: the use of medical devices, complications following a surgical procedure, transmission between patients and healthcare workers, or the result of antibiotic use. The morbidity and mortality associated with HAIs, including those HAIs caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms, exact a significant toll on human life and result in staggering costs.

Research priorities related to this Special Emphasis Notice are the: 1) the development, implementation and demonstration of strategies and interventions the prevent and manage HAIs, along with the determination of the costs of such interventions; 2) determination of the efficacy and effectiveness of preventative interventions; and 3) population-level studies on the patient risk factors, sources, and disease genotypes of antibiotic-resistant organisms that can result in HAIs. The scientific and practical knowledge to be achieved through these research and demonstration efforts will identify the practical and cost-effective approaches to preventing and managing HAIs.

Further guidance:

Priority Populations. HAIs impact all populations in both the inpatient and the ambulatory health care settings, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-ethnic backgrounds. However, underlying health conditions, selective environmental pressures and lifestyle habits can result in differential risk of acquiring a HAI. For instance, Native American communities, select rural areas exhibit strains and age distributions that differ from areas with higher population densities.19,20 In another study, recent residence in a long term care facility, regions whose hospitals are located in rural areas and patients over 65 expressed differential risk.21 These nuanced dynamics are important to appreciate, and AHRQ promotes studies with an emphasis priority populations.

Internal & External Validity/Replicability. The Agency has a preference for supporting research designs that possess sound internal and external validity so that findings can be attributed to the interventions employed and can be generalized beyond a given organization or institution rather than apply solely to the applicant's particular setting. Sufficient information needs to be given about any system or organizational context variables, which may have a bearing on dependent measures, that may limit the ability to draw generalizable inferences or that need to be known for purposes of replication or adoption.

Application Submission. With this notice, AHRQ is providing information about one of the highest research priorities for investigator-initiated applications for fiscal year 2010, beginning with the February receipt date. AHRQ will continue to provide regular updates of research priorities as research budget information becomes available. Applications focused on areas identified in this SEN should be submitted on regular research grant receipt dates and will be reviewed by AHRQ’s standing study sections.

Applicants are encouraged to contact AHRQ staff early in the process of preparing applications in order to clarify questions and discuss potential research projects. The contact for this SEN is:

Kay Anderson, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Phone: 301-427-1555
E-mail: Kay.Anderson@ahrq.hhs.gov