AHRQ Announces Interest in Primary Care Research
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

March 17, 2022

Related Announcements

NOT-HS-24-010 - Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Research to Advance the Science of Primary Care (R01).

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-21-202 - AHRQ/PCORI Learning Health System Small Grant Pilot Program

NOT-HS-16-011 - Innovative Research in Primary Care

NOT-HS-16-013 - Optimizing Care for People Living with Multiple Chronic Conditions through the Development of Enhanced Care Planning

Issued by

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


This Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) informs the research community that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is interested in receiving health services research grant applications to advance the science of primary care. We will use our standing R01, R18, and R03 mechanism to fund primary care focused health services research.

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.

For many years, AHRQ has made significant investments in research to understand how to improve primary care including investing in primary care training and practice-based research networks, integrating behavioral health and primary care, and evaluating the patient-centered medical home and the costs of primary care transformation (see http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/primary-care/index.html). AHRQ’s continued dedication to advancing the field of primary care research includes the expansion of the capacity of the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research (NCEPCR) to promote primary care research.

In this SEN AHRQ is interested in applications that will address salient questions related to primary care health services research. Robust primary care (including the elements of access, coordination, comprehensiveness, and continuity) is particularly important for patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCC), a burgeoning problem with an expanding older population, whose higher risks for severe disease compound the existing burdens of their underlying conditions. Similarly, primary care is critically important for socially disadvantaged populations for whom primary care delivery holds great promise in addressing health inequities. AHRQ is interested applications that develop, implement, and evaluate interventions and models of care, including those targeting the specific needs and challenges of disadvantaged populations and people living with MCC, that improve access, quality, and outcomes of care. Proposed studies may focus on the patient, clinician, practice, or system level interventions. Multilevel interventions are encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to partner with practices using innovative approaches to study design including co-production of the intervention design and evaluation, evidence generation from practice-based data, rapid cycle evaluation and adaptive designs. AHRQ also encourages projects that produce and disseminate timely insights that can be used to improve patient care and inform healthcare delivery.

Sample Primary Care research domains relevant to this notice include:

  • Coordination of care across settings and providers, with attention to healthcare disparities, health inequities and patients with multiple chronic conditions.
  • Patient-centered, whole-person healthcare delivery that address the needs of people with multiple chronic conditions and socially disadvantaged populations
  • Strategies to foster community-based and public health partnerships interventions to improve health outcomes including population health and advance health equity.
  • External supports, composition, and configurations of primary care teams and their affect on the effectiveness, efficiency and experience of care and health outcomes including the use of community health workers.
  • The impact of financing models for primary care on the delivery of high-quality care.
  • Primary care integration within larger health care systems and public health, and its impact on outcomes.
  • Studies conducted by practice-based research networks (PBRN) including rapid cycle and pragmatic research to advance our understanding of primary care’s role in response to pandemics and other national health emergencies. AHRQ defines a PBRN as a group of ambulatory practices devoted principally to the primary care of patients, and affiliated in their mission to investigate questions related to primary care.
  • Meaningful quality measures applicable to the primary care setting.
  • Measurement of key aspects of primary care, such as comprehensiveness or team performance .

We are particularly interested in applications that leverage primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs) infrastructure, expertise, and relationships.

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 or how this approach could be used across diseases or conditions.

Further Guidance

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 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 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-22-011 and enter this SEN number in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF424 R&R form. 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 February 21, 2025.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Aimee R. Eden, PhD, MPH

Acting Director, National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research

Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality