Special Emphasis Notice: AHRQ Announces Interest in Health Services Research to Advance Health and Healthcare Equity
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

May 8, 2023

Related Announcements

  • April 29, 2021- Special Emphasis Notice (SEN): AHRQ Announces Interest in Health Services Research to Advance Health and Healthcare Equity. See NOT-HS-21-014.

Issued by



The purpose of this Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) is to inform the research community of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) strong and continued interest in receiving applications that advance the goal of achieving equity in healthcare delivery in the United States.

AHRQ is committed to supporting healthcare delivery systems and health professionals in their efforts to transform care to be more equitable by producing evidence and supporting the development and testing of measures, interventions, and tools to ensure every person has the opportunity to attain their full potential for health and well-being.

Inequities in health outcomes are deeply rooted in historic injustices that exist across all aspects of society, including the delivery of healthcare. COVID-19 has underscored the link between social determinants and inequities in healthcare and moreover highlighted the central issue of addressing structural and systemic inequities that continue to contribute to avoidable disparities in health outcomes and health care delivery.

This SEN conveys AHRQ’s continued interest in supporting health services research to fill important gaps in scientific evidence through innovative study designs and use of collaborative methods. Applications should demonstrate meaningful engagement with diverse stakeholders and representatives from target communities, ensuring that target patient population voices are heard throughout the research process, and co-creation and co-learning is prioritized.

Inclusion of a conceptual framework is encouraged to demonstrate how research objectives center health equity and focus on addressing health disparities as a foundational element across the application. AHRQ is also interested in applications that propose to use the latest dissemination and implementation science to evaluate evidence-based interventions aimed at advancing health and healthcare equity.

AHRQ encourages applications that:

  • Use novel study designs and methodologies to fill gaps in scientific evidence that maximize meaningful inclusion of diverse populations, contexts, and settings, while also balancing aspects of scientific rigor to support actionable findings
  • Develop and test measures, interventions, and tools to advance equity in specific healthcare settings as well as across healthcare delivery systems by using real-time evaluation, where appropriate, to assess both implementation and impact
  • Leverage the dissemination and implementation science to examine adaptations, scalability, and application of existing evidence-based interventions that can advance health equity at a wider scale, or in new settings in healthcare delivery systems

Applicants may propose projects addressing any healthcare delivery-related topic with demonstrated health inequities including:

  • Maternal Healthcare Delivery
  • Primary Care Delivery (including pediatric/adolescent and adult populations)
  • Prevention of Diagnostic Errors
  • Care Delivery for Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditions
  • Healthy/Active Aging and Health System Transformation
  • Digital Healthcare Delivery and Methods/Tools (including telehealth, clinical decision support, interoperability, and AI)
  • Integration of SDOH and Social Needs Care within Healthcare Delivery
  • Long COVID Care Delivery
  • Nursing Home Care Delivery
  • Behavior and Mental Healthcare Delivery (including substance abuse)
  • Healthcare System Program/Policies (including health insurance coverage, access to care, and payment)

The Agency encourages research teams to submit applications in response to this SEN using AHRQ’s current research grant announcements – See: https://www.ahrq.gov/funding/fund-opps/index.html.

Applicants should explicitly state in their cover letter and project summary of their grant application that their application is responsive to this SEN by including the title and number of this SEN NOT-HS-23-013. Applications responding to this SEN should be submitted in accordance with regular application receipt dates identified in the respective funding announcement and will be reviewed by AHRQ standing study sections. This SEN supersedes the NOT-HS-21-014.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Email: Grant_Queries@ahrq.hhs.gov