Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Grants focused on Health Issues of Minority Women

Notice Number: NOT-HS-11-013

Key Dates
Release Date: April 13, 2011

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov


The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to enhance the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health services, and access to such services, through establishing a broad base of scientific research and promoting improvements in clinical and health systems practices, including the prevention of diseases and other health conditions. 

AHRQ's research agenda is designed to be responsive to the needs of consumers, patients, clinicians and other providers, institutions, plans, purchasers, and public policymakers for the evidence-based information they need to improve quality and outcomes, control costs, and assure access to needed services. In addition, the current AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations in Research (NOT-HS-03-010, see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html) requires that women and members of minority groups be included in all AHRQ- supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. 

Priority populations research focused on women and minority individuals has been emphasized in Federal policies, but research lags in its ability to analyze the health services to women and minorities, especially when examining the cross-cutting issue of health issues affecting minority women.  For example, primary outcomes may not be powered for subgroup analyses or recruitment strategies are not designed to focus on and attain sub-population samples that are sufficient for subgroup analysis.  Even if sufficient data are available, priority population analyses for minority women may not be reported unless statistically significant or data may not be shared for potential pooling into meta-analysis.   Administrative data sets may not be enriched with clinical information to allow meaningful analyses.

Individually, women and minorities are priority populations for health care services and research.  As a combined population, minority women represent an important priority population subgroup.  A recently released JAMA commentary gives guidance on priority populations inclusion (see http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/304/24/2738.full).  In addition, the IOM report on Women’s Health Research noted that racial and ethnic minority women have been underrepresented in many studies and as a result, generalizing findings is extremely limited (see http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Womens-Health-Research-Progress-Pitfalls-and-Promise/Report-Brief.aspx).

 Most recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included specific sections for minority health and improving women’s health.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) recognizes minority health and women’s health as priorities by establishing minority health and women’s health offices within individual HHS Operating Divisions, including AHRQ.  In addition, sections 5307, 2952, 601, 5401, among others, establish priority areas for research relating to health disparities.  In accordance with the focus on health disparities research within ACA, AHRQ highlights the importance of subgroup analysis on minority women with the issuance of this Special Emphasis Notice (SEN).

Research Areas of InterestWith this notice, AHRQ encourages grant applications that propose research that focuses on minority women in health services research designed to (1) improve clinical practice; (2) improve the health care system's ability to provide access to and deliver high quality, high-value health care; and (3) provide policymakers with the ability to assess the impact of system changes on outcomes, quality, access to, cost, and use of health care services.

AHRQ Research Portfolios:  The focus of this special emphasis notice can be applied within any research portfolio of AHRQ.  Portfolios include Comparative Effectiveness, Prevention and Care Management, Value, Health Information Technology, Patient Safety and Innovations/Emerging Issues.  Applicants are advised to consult the AHRQ website for the most current information at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/portfolio.htm.

Further guidance

Use of Funding Mechanisms:  AHRQ will use its current R01, R18, and R03 mechanisms for applications in this area of interest.         

Application Submission.  With this notice, AHRQ is providing information about one of the highest research priorities for issues across all research portfolios.  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 R01, R18, and R03 grant application receipt dates.  We encourage applicants to indicate in their applications that they are responding to this notice by including the Special Emphasis Notice title and number.  We also encourage applicants to include a cover letter in their application package stating their interest in this SEN.  Applications will be reviewed by AHRQ’s standing study sections.  Information about the grant application process, including e-grant applications and the funding mechanisms noted above, can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/.


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

Cecilia Rivera Casale, Ph.D.        
Senior Advisor for Minority Health           
Office of Extramural Research, Education,  and Priority Populations (OEREP)    
Agency for Health Care Research and Quality 
540 Gaither Road   
Rockville, MD 20850          
Phone: (301) 427-1547      
Beth A. Collins Sharp, Ph.D., R.N.          
Senior Advisor, Women's Health and Gender Research        
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations (OEREP)     
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality   
540 Gaither Road   
Rockville, MD  20850         
Phone: (301) 427-1503

Padmini Jagadish Rajan, M.P.P. 
Public Health Analyst        
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations (OEREP)     
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality   
540 Gaither Road               
Rockville, MD 20850


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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