Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-118
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Application Period: Annually from September 1 through November 15, at 8:00 PM EST
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
This Notice replaces NOT-OD-15-123 and provides program specific information for Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR). The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. Additional detailed information about each LRP is provided at www.lrp.nih.gov/about_the_programs/index.aspx and www.lrp.nih.gov/apply.
The NIH invites qualified health professionals who contractually agree to engage in NIH mission-relevant research for at least two years initially, and who agree to engage in such research for an average of at least 20 hours per week based on a 40-hour work week, to apply for an award in the Extramural LRPs. The Extramural LRPs repay up to $35,000 annually of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research at a domestic, nonprofit, or government entity. Research funding from NIH is not required to participate in the Extramural LRPs. LRP awards are based on an applicant's potential to build and sustain a research career.
Extramural LRP applications are accepted annually from September 1 through November 15, 8:00 p.m. EST. All LRP applications must be submitted electronically using the NIH LRP Website, www.lrp.nih.gov.
The objective of the LRP-HDR is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into research careers that focus on minority health disparities or other health disparities.
The Program serves as an avenue for NIH and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to engage and promote the development of research and research programs that reflect the variety of issues and problems associated with disparities in health status. This requirement highlights the need for the involvement of a cadre of culturally competent health professionals in minority health disparities and other health disparities research. Research focused on diseases or conditions more prevalent or associated with greater morbidity/mortality in one or more minority health disparity or other health disparity population, without the proposed work itself being focused on improving minority health disparities or other health disparities, is not considered health disparities research.
Health Disparity Populations are determined by the Director of NIMHD, after consultation with the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and are defined as populations where there is significant disparity in the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population. The following populations have been designated as health disparity populations: Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and rural populations.
Health Disparities Research means basic, clinical, social, or behavioral research on health disparity populations (including individual members and communities of such populations) that relates to health disparities, including the causes of such disparities and methods to prevent, diagnose, and treat such disparities.
Minority Health Disparities Research is defined as basic, clinical, or behavioral research on minority health conditions, including research to prevent, diagnose, and treat such conditions.
Minority Health Conditions means all diseases, disorders, and other conditions (including mental health and substance abuse) that are unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in members of minority groups (racial or ethnic minority groups), for which the medical risk or types of medical intervention may be different for members of minority groups, or for which it is unknown whether such factors or types are different for such individuals, or research involving such populations as subjects or data on such individuals is insufficient.
Changes in LRP Application
The following items are new for the application period that begins on September 1, 2016.
No applicant will be excluded from consideration on the basis of age, race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other non-merit factors.
Eligibility criteria to participate in the Extramural LRPs include the following:
The following individuals are ineligible for participation in the Extramural LRPs:
The NIH intends to commit approximately $6.7 million annually to fund LRP-HDR awards.
Where to Obtain Additional Information: Please visit the LRP website at www.lrp.nih.gov, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Division of Loan Repayment Information Center toll free at (866) 849-4047. Applicants are strongly encouraged to pay attention to Institute or Center (IC) specific funding priorities, and also to discuss their career interests with an IC scientific liaison: www.lrp.nih.gov/contact-engage#ContactEngageContactListsTile.
Annual Receipt, Peer Review, and Review Schedule: Upon receipt, applications for both new and renewal awards will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be considered. Applications that are complete and eligible will be forwarded for peer review.
Applicants electronically transmit the following to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment:
Research supervisors or mentors electronically transmit the following to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment:
Referees/Recommenders electronically transmit reference letters to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment.
Information is obtained from individuals, including the applicants' research supervisor or most recent mentor, who can comment on the research skills and the abilities of the applicant. Reference letters are expected to include the following information about the applicant:
Institutional Business Officials electronically transmit a certification to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment that:
Renewal Award Applications
Loan repayment awardees who wish to extend their loan repayment should apply for a renewal award no earlier than the year before their current award ends. LRP renewal awards are available for one- or two-year periods and are based upon the same criteria applied to an application for a new award plus two additional criteria – an assessment of research accomplishments and development of the applicant as an independent investigator. An explanation of research accomplishments during the most recent award period is required. Progress toward development as an independent investigator is a major factor in granting a renewal award. NIH policy allows a thirty-seven month period (starting the day after the last day of the most recent LRP award) for a renewal award application. After thirty-seven months, NIH views a submission of any application as an application for a new award, regardless of whether an unsuccessful application was submitted during the thirty-seven month period. Renewal awards are competitive and submission of an application for a renewal award does not assure the applicant of a renewal award.
Applications for the Extramural LRP are evaluated against the following criteria as related to the likelihood that the applicant will continue in a career focused on research in one of the following program areas:
Applicant's potential to pursue a career in research, including:
Quality of the overall environment to prepare the applicant for a research career, including:
For renewal award applications, progress under the previous project period is an additional evaluation criterion:
Program Administration Details
Under the LRP, the NIH will repay a portion of the extant qualified educational loan debt incurred to pay for the researcher's undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professional school educational expenses. Failure to fulfill the terms of the LRP contract will result in termination of the LRP award and could be considered a breach of contract. The penalty for a breach of contract is $7,500 for every month of unfulfilled service or $31,000, whichever is higher.
LRP service obligation and NRSA service payback cannot overlap, and permission to defer NRSA payback must be obtained prior to receipt of LRP funding.
The NIH will repay lenders for the extant principal, interest, and related expenses (such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans) of educational loans from a U.S. government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution, such as banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, and other financial or credit institutions which are subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as lending institutions by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business, obtained by applicants for the following:
Repayments are made directly to lenders, following receipt of (1) the Principal Investigator, Program Director, or Research Supervisor's verification of completion of the prior period of research, and (2) lender verification of the crediting of prior loan repayments, including the resulting account balances and current account status. The NIH will repay loans in the following order, unless the Secretary determines that significant savings would result from a different order of priority:
1. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
2. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education:
3. Loans made or guaranteed by a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States
4. Loans made by academic institutions
5. Private (Alternative) Educational Loans:
The following loans are NOT repayable under this program:
1. Loans not obtained from a U.S. or other government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution such as loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals, and non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loans).
2. Loans for which eligibility documentation (current account statement, and promissory note or lender disclosure statement) is not provided.
3. Consolidation loans that include a loan not eligible for repayment, such as: loans obtained from an unqualified lender, loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or child), loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or parent), or non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loan).
4. Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed a reasonable level as determined by the standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made.
5. Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under a program where an incurred service obligation converts to a loan upon failure to satisfy the service obligation.
6. Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their payment schedule.
7. Parent PLUS loans.
8. Loans that are paid-in-full.
9. Loans obtained after the start date of the first NIH Loan Repayment Program award (e.g., promissory note signed after the start date of an LRP award). This provision does not apply to qualifying loan consolidations.
Before the commencement of loan repayment, or during lapses in loan repayments, due to administrative complications, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), or a break in service, LRP awardees are wholly responsible for making payments or other arrangements that maintain loans current, such that increases in either principal or interest do not occur. Penalties and/or fees assessed to awardees failing to maintain current payment status may not be considered for reimbursement.
LRP payments are NOT retroactive. Loan repayment will commence after a loan repayment award begins, expected to be no earlier than July through September annually.
Required Federal Citations
Awards are made pursuant to the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-525), which added Section 464z-5 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 285t-2).
Additional detailed information about the NIH Loan Repayment Programs is provided at www.lrp.nih.gov/about_the_programs/index.aspx. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with the NIMHD scientific liaison, whose contact information is provided on this web page: www.lrp.nih.gov/contact-engage#ContactEngageContactListsTile.