AHRQ Announces Interest in Innovative Research in Primary Care

Notice Number: NOT-HS-16-011

Key Dates
Release Date:   April 4, 2016

Related Announcements

March 16, 2022 - AHRQ Announces Interest in Primary Care Research. See Notice NOT-HS-22-011

February 17, 2022 - AHRQ Announces Interest in Health Services Research on Health System and Healthcare Professional Responsiveness to COVID-19. See Notice NOT-HS-22-010

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


Revitalizing the Nation’s primary care system is critical to achieving AHRQ’s mission of improving the quality, safety, accessibility, equity and affordability of health care.  The Agency is dedicated to advancing the field of primary care research and has established a National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research (NCEPCR).  This Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) highlights AHRQ’s ongoing interest in receiving applications related to innovative primary care research.

The IOM defined primary care as “the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.”  For many years,  AHRQ has made significant investments in research projects that have enhanced our understanding of how to improve primary care—including investing in primary care practice-based research networks, improving the delivery of clinical preventive services and care for people with multiple chronic conditions, optimizing primary care team functioning and improving team-based care, integrating behavioral health and primary care, and evaluating the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model and the costs of primary care transformation (see http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/index.html). 

AHRQ remains committed to advancing primary care and primary care research.  We are interested in applications that address:

How different configurations of primary care teams affect the effectiveness and efficiency of care and health outcomes;

How different financing models for primary care affect the delivery of high quality care;

How to integrate primary care into larger health care systems and public health to improve health outcomes;

How different external supports, configurations of teams, delivery or financing models of primary care improve health equity across diverse populations and communities;

How different external supports, configurations of teams, delivery or financing models of primary care improve patient and/or provider satisfaction;

The development of quality measures that are applicable to the primary care setting.  For example, how can concepts of primary care such as “comprehensiveness” or “team-ness” be measured.

Overall, AHRQ is interested in research that provides evidence about how to improve the delivery of primary care, projects that create and test tools and training that support primary care improvement, and studies that advance the development of primary care research methods.  AHRQ is not interested in projects that focus on disease- or condition-specific approaches to the delivery of care, unless the applicant can demonstrate how this work would be a model for larger system changes and/or how this approach could be used across diseases or conditions.  Projects that report outcomes limited to a specific disease or condition would not be of interest to AHRQ.

Further Guidance
AHRQ will use standing program announcements for the R01, R03, and R18 funding mechanisms to support this research.  The funding opportunity announcements for the referenced funding mechanisms can be found at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-291.html; https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-15-147.html; https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-14-290.html.  AHRQ also is interested in supporting the career development of primary care researchers though our standing K-award grant mechanisms which are found at http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/fund-opps/index.html.

Applicants should clearly state in the cover letter, Project Summary (abstract), and Specific Aims sections of the grant application that they are responding to this particular SEN.  Applications responding to this SEN should be submitted on regular application receipt dates and will be reviewed by AHRQ’s standing study sections.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Robert McNellis
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement
Telephone: 301-427-1888
Email: Robert.McNellis@ahrq.hhs.gov