Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Health Services Research to Advance Health Equity
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 29, 2021

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PA-22-255 - AHRQ Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01)

RFA-HS-22-010 - AHRQ National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32)

RFA-HS-22-001 - Reducing Racial and Ethnic Healthcare Disparities in Chronic Conditions by Dissemination and Implementation of Patient Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Evidence (R18).

RFA-HS-22-007 - Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) VI (U18)

PA-22-051 - AHRQ Mentored Career Enhancement Awards for Established Investigators in Patient-Centered Outcome Research (K18)

PA-22-050 - AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Mentored Clinical Scientist Career Development Award (K08)

PA-22-049 - AHRQ Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01)

PA-17-232 - AHRQ Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08)
PA-18-765 - Funding Opportunity Title AHRQ Health Services Research Dissertation Program (R36)
PA-18-793 -AHRQ Health Services Research Demonstration and Dissemination Grants (R18)
PA-18-794 - AHRQ Small Research Grant Program (R03)
PA-18-795 - AHRQ Health Services Research Projects (R01)
PA-20-067 - AHRQ Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01)
PA-22-168 - AHRQ Administrative Supplements for Grants in Health Services Research

Issued by

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


The purpose of this Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) is to inform the research community of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) interest in receiving health services research grant applications that propose innovative and evidence-based interventions that advance the nation’s goal of achieving equity in the delivery of healthcare services including reducing disparities in quality of care, patient safety, healthcare utilization and access, and ultimately, health outcomes.

AHRQ is committed to supporting healthcare delivery systems and professionals in their efforts to achieve equity[i] through our work in health services research, practice improvement, and data and analytics. Inequities in health outcomes are rooted in historic and present-day injustices that exist across all aspects of society, including healthcare delivery. These differences have been made even more apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic and the stark disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and other minority communities. Advancing health and healthcare equity will require addressing structural and systemic inequities that contribute to avoidable disparities as well as the distribution of social determinants of health (SDOH) that do not benefit all populations equally.

This SEN conveys AHRQ’s interest in supporting health services research to develop, disseminate and implement evidence-based interventions to address documented healthcare inequities. Proposed study designs and methods should demonstrate innovation, high-level of potential impact, and meaningful collaboration and inclusion of diverse partners and communities.

AHRQ encourages applications that:

  • Develop and implement novel and innovative evidence-based interventions to advance equity within healthcare delivery systems including real-time evaluation (RTE) of both implementation and impact
  • Test, adapt and implement existing evidence-based interventions to advance equity within healthcare delivery systems including the integration of a RTE of both implementation and impact
  • Evaluate the scalability and sustainability of evidence-based healthcare delivery system interventions to advance equity including the integration of a RTE of implementation and impact with metrics associated with scale-up and sustainability objectives

Applicants may propose projects addressing any healthcare delivery-related topic with demonstrated health inequities, including but not limited to:

  • Maternal Healthcare Delivery
  • Primary Care Delivery
  • Prevention of Diagnostic Errors
  • Care Delivery for Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions
  • Digital Healthcare Tools /Methods
  • Integration of SDOH and Social Needs Care within Healthcare Delivery
  • Nursing Home Care Delivery
  • Behavior and Mental Healthcare Delivery (including substance abuse)
  • Healthcare Policies (including changes in health insurance access, coverage and payment)

The Agency encourages research teams to submit applications in response to this emphasis using AHRQ’s standing R18, R03, and R01 funding mechanisms (PA-18-793, PA-18-794, PA-18-795). AHRQ also is interested in receiving career development awards (PA-20-067 and PA-17-232) that propose developing generalizable health service research skills through projects related to the addressing healthcare equity. Additionally, AHRQ has interest in receiving dissertation award grant proposals that relate addressing healthcare equity (PA-18-765).

Applicants should clearly state in their cover letter and project summary of their grant application that they are responding to this SEN by including the title and number of this SEN NOT-HS-21-014. Applications responding to this SEN should be submitted on regular application receipt dates identified in the respective Funding Opportunity Announcement and will be reviewed by AHRQ standing study sections. Applicants should consider this SEN active until April 27, 2023.


Please direct all inquiries to:

William Freeman, DrPH, MPH
Senior Research Advisor for Minority Health
Division of Priority Populations
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

[i] Equity is the consistent, systematic, fair, and just treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latinx, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or social inequality. (Equity Executive Order 13985)

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