Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Career Development (K01, K02, K08) Grants focused on Health Care System Redesign

Notice Number: NOT-HS-11-006

Key Dates
Release Date: February 15, 2011

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 career development grants. 

With this Notice, AHRQ announces intent 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 evaluating and comparing health care delivery system designs; developing and evaluating system redesigns; and implementing and disseminating effective, evidence-based design practices.  Applicants must have an interest in developing their careers in research related to improving quality of care by comparing and/or evaluating health care delivery system practice.  The objective of individual career development grants is to provide support and “protected time” for an intensive research career development experience, which may be either mentored or independent.  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/.

Health care delivery systems are complex systems that involve both social and technical aspects.  These systems are characterized by dynamic interchanges with their environments (e.g., markets, payers, regulators, and consumers) and interactions among internal system components. These components include people, physical settings, technologies, care processes, and organization (e.g., rules, structure, information systems, communication, rewards, work flow, culture). Systems design research examines interactions among system components and their possible impact on quality and cost. Redesigns are attempts to change existing designs in ways that enhance value. Value may be enhanced by improving quality while reducing or maintaining cost. Value is also increased when systems reduce waste and inefficiency, while maintaining or improving quality. To foster sustainable value improvements, design initiatives often bundle changes in several mutually reinforcing system components (e.g., information technology, process redesign, and training programs).

Research career priorities related to this Special Emphasis Notice include the development of researchers interested in conducting rigorous demonstrations and evaluations that show which system designs and redesigns are most effective, under what circumstances, and for whom.  Applicants may also focus their research and career development plans on strategies utilized to foster the dissemination and uptake of evidence-based delivery system designs and practices.  Applicants can focus their plans on a wide range of issues within delivery system research, including: the organization and management of health care delivery (e.g., primary care medical home, the development of accountable care organizations, other forms of bundling care); strategies for increasing providers’ compliance with evidence-based guidelines; transition support for patients with complex health care needs, including ways to reduce unnecessary re-hospitalization; care delivery and coordination for chronic care patients; and payment and reporting strategies for improving access, quality, and/or the value and administration of health care and its delivery.  Applicants are encouraged to: ground their proposed projects in theory,  linking designs to expected outcomes; employ longitudinal designs and mixed analytic methods (e.g. quantitative and qualitative) as appropriate to their research questions of interest; and assess and measure the influence of contextual factors in projects focusing on the implementation ofredesign initiatives.

Applications to evaluate practices of particular importance to priority populations are encouraged, as are studies of how to implement and spread these practices within and across safety net institutions.

Further guidance:

Application Submission.  With this notice, AHRQ is providing information about an important research priority area for career development applications.  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. 


The AHRQ staff contact for this SEN is:

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

Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Office of Extramural Research (OER) - Home Page Office of Extramural
Research (OER)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Home Page National Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Home Page Department of Health
and Human Services (HHS)
  USA.gov - Government Made Easy

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