Release Date:  January 15, 2001

RFA:  RFA-DA-01-008

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  March 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       April 16, 2001



This RFA is a part of the National Institutes of Health-wide initiative to 
eliminate health disparities in racial and ethnic minority populations.  It 
builds on the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) efforts over the past 
several years to understand better and address drug abuse and addiction among 
and across racial and ethnic minority populations.  It is designed to 
stimulate epidemiological, prevention, treatment, and services research that 
addresses issues relating to the differential drug use patterns and/or their 
associated behavioral, social, medical, and mental health consequences within 
and across racial and ethnic minority populations.  For purposes of this 
announcement, health disparities research is defined as research that 
addresses differential incidence and prevalence rates of drug use and its 
adverse behavioral, social, and health consequences among and across racial 
and ethnic minority populations.  This RFA encourages multidisciplinary 
research that expands scientific understanding of the etiology of drug use 
and progression to addiction in racial and ethnic minority populations and 
the relationship between drug use and its adverse behavioral, social, and 
health consequences.  The overall intent of this announcement is four-fold: 
1) to build a theoretical framework to further understand the phenomenon of 
disparities in drug use and its associated adverse behavioral, social, and 
health outcomes within and across racial and ethnic minority populations, 2) 
to develop an understanding of within and across group drug related health 
disparities, 3) to develop and evaluate prevention and intervention 
strategies aimed at reducing and eliminating drug-related health disparities 
across and within racial and ethnic populations; and 4) to understand how the 
management of resources and organization of community, public and private 
health systems impacts upon the access to and utilization and retention of 
racial and ethnic minority populations in drug abuse prevention treatment 


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health 
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-
led national activity for setting priority areas.  This RFA, "Health 
Disparities: Differential Drug Use and Its Adverse Behavioral, Social, and 
Health Consequences," is related to one or more of the priority areas.  
Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at


Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, laboratories, units of State and local governments, and eligible 
agencies of the Federal government. Racial/ethnic minority individuals, 
women, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal 


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project 
(R01), small grant (R03), and exploratory/developmental (R21) award 
mechanisms.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and execution of the 
proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  This RFA is a one-
time solicitation.  Future unsolicited competing continuation applications 
will compete with all investigator-initiated applications and be reviewed 
according to the customary peer review procedures.  The anticipated award 
date is September 30, 2001.

The small grant (R03) is limited to 2 years, the exploratory/developmental 
grant (R21) is limited to 3 years, and the R01 is limited to 5 years.  The 
R03 and R21 are non-renewable and limited in direct cost amount per year 
(R03, $50,000; R21, $100,000).  The R03 mechanism gives funding priority to 
newer, less experienced investigators, or investigators at institutions 
without well-developed research traditions and resources, or experienced 
investigators wishing to change research directions or test new methods or 
techniques.  The R21 mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory research 
projects with sound methodology and strong rationales in underdeveloped 
research areas of drug abuse, such as the areas covered in this RFA.  
Investigators may also choose to include methods development as one component 
within any of the other mechanisms.  Specific information on individual 
research mechanisms can be obtained from the NIDA home page at


NIDA intends to commit approximately $2,000,000 in FY 2001 to fund 7-9 new 
and/or competitive continuation awards in response to this RFA.  Because the 
nature and scope of the research proposed under this announcement may vary, 
it is anticipated that the size of each award will also vary.  Awards made 
under this RFA are dependent upon the availability of funds.  Only 
applications of high scientific and technical merit will be considered for 



Drug addiction poses unique challenges to researchers, scientists, health 
practitioners, and public health officials in search of effective 
intervention strategies.  Addiction is a stigmatized disease, which 
disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority populations and makes 
it difficult to access preventive and treatment services.  Studies indicate, 
for example, that despite reports of lower drug use rates, racial and ethnic 
minority groups tend to be over-represented among those who suffer from 
adverse health, behavioral, and social consequences related to drug use 
(e.g., HIV/AIDS, premature births, low birth-weight, intentional and 
unintentional injuries, violence, crime, arrest, incarceration, educational 
attainment, premature death, and other co-morbid conditions [includes co-
morbidity associated with mental health conditions and physical 
illnesses/conditions]).  African Americans and Hispanics continue to be 
heavily affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  In 1999, more than three fourth 
(i.e., 79%) of the new drug-related AIDS cases reported to the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention were from members of minority ethnic groups.  
Moreover, African American and Hispanic women comprised more than two thirds 
(i.e., (67%) of the reported cumulative drug-related AIDS cases among women 
through 1999. 

Drug-related behavioral adverse outcomes have also been found to be 
disproportionately distributed across racial and ethnic minority groups.  For 
example, youth violence continues to be a major public health concern.  While 
homicide rates among 15-19 year olds have been declining since their record 
levels in the early 1990s, they remain unacceptably high.  Homicide is the 
leading cause of death among African American youth between the ages of 15-24 
and the second cause of death among Hispanics in this age group.  Achieving a 
better understanding of the causal mechanisms underlying the violence-drug 
nexus among and across racial and ethnic minority youth presents a great 
challenge for scientists.    

There are disparities in risks for chronic disease and injury among racial 
and ethnic minorities.  These risks include access to health care, health 
status, health risk behaviors, and use of clinical preventive services among 
others.  Racial differences have been reported in patterns of clinical 
psychiatric diagnoses as well as the distribution of mental health services 
resources.  For example, African American patients were more likely to be 
diagnosed with schizophrenia and substance abuse than similar White patients, 
and were significantly more likely to be hospitalized, particularly at a 
public hospital.  A recent volume of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly 
Report indicate that African American and Hispanics have a higher prevalence 
of hepatitis C (HCV) infections than do Whites.  There are disparities in 
cigarette smoking among racial and ethnic minority groups, yet they do not 
mirror the observed racial and ethnic disparities in mortality related to 
cigarette smoking.  The role of tobacco use in the etiology of diseases that 
are disproportionately prevalent among minorities needs to be examined.

Social adverse outcomes such as poverty, income inequity, and neighborhood 
crime rates have been demonstrated to be associated with drug use as well as 
higher rates of morbidity and mortality.  Although the poor have always 
suffered higher rates of premature mortality and morbidity, the socioeconomic 
status/health relationship occurs as a gradient across all social classes.  
Furthermore, racial differences often persist even at equivalent levels of 
socioeconomic status.  What is not well understood is the extent to which 
drug use mediates or moderates these relationships.  For this reason, this 
announcement will support research that examines the interrelationships among 
socioeconomic status, educational attainment, environmental influences, 
cultural factors (religiosity, attitudes, knowledge about disease, etc.) and 
other behavioral and lifestyle factors to clarify the role of drug abuse in 
the manifestation of disparate health outcomes across racial and ethnic 
minority populations.  Because subpopulations within racial and ethnic 
minority populations are not equally affected by the drug epidemic, studies 
of disparities within racial and ethnic minority groups are also encouraged.  
Scientists are, therefore, encouraged to investigate the variability in drug 
use and its effects within and across different racial and ethnic minority 

Also encouraged is research on effective preventive interventions that focus 
on improving outcomes among racial and ethnic minority populations.  For 
example, research on school-based interventions has identified differences in 
the circumstances within which drugs are offered for different racial/ethnic 
populations.  This would suggest different types of intervention approaches 
might be needed to address those different circumstances.  Cultural 
differences in family structure and relationships need to be examined in 
terms of developing and testing family-based preventive interventions.  
Moreover, to decrease barriers to access, research is needed on the 
organization and financing of prevention and treatment services as well as on 
the utilization of drug treatment and other health services.

Areas of Research Focus:

Illustrative examples of research areas within the scope of this RFA are 
outlined below.  The following examples serve as a guide and are not meant to 
subsume all research topics that would be appropriate to the study of health 
disparities within and across racial and ethnic minority populations under 
this RFA.

o  conduct comparative epidemiologic and etiologic studies to determine the 
nature and source of differences in rates and patterns of drug use and abuse 
in different racial and ethnic minority groups and delineate the variations 
in the pathways and risk and protective factors associated with the 
development of drug abuse in the respective groups;

o  identify and delineate the underlying dynamic causal mechanisms associated 
with differential rates of adverse drug-related health outcomes within and 
across racial and ethnic groups by integrating individual level (i.e., 
biological and behavioral) and environmental level (i.e., physical, social 
and cultural) factors;

o  identify the pathways by which drug use influences health by examining 
social (e.g., SES), psychological, behavioral, biological mechanisms;

o  develop and evaluate the effectiveness of intervention strategies that 
target both community level and individual level risk factors to prevent drug 
use and drug use-related health consequences;

o  identify causes of health disparities across racial and ethnic minority 
groups and how patterns of drug use interact with individual, social, and 
community factors to facilitate such disproportionate social, medical, and 
mental health consequences among racial and ethnic minority groups;

o  identify differential factors relating to access to and utilization of 
health care and health services, including maternal health care and services 
across racial and ethnic populations;

o  identify and specify the causal mechanisms by which host factors, viral 
factors, co-infections and co-factors may influence drug-related diseases 
(e.g., HIV, HCV) progression;

o  investigate how the dynamic status of the individual membership in 
different social networks influences drug use and disparities across racial 
and ethnic groups at different stages of development;

o  investigate differential trajectories and pathways to drug use and 
addiction within and across racial and ethnic populations;

o  investigate differential effect of financing, organizational structure and 
process, administration and management of health care systems leading to 
barriers access and utilization issues; 

o  investigate health and developmental disparities across racial and ethnic 
groups for children and adolescents who have experienced prenatal drug 
exposure and/or early initiation to drug use;

o  investigate differential effectiveness of universal, selective and 
indicated preventive interventions that target racial/ethnic minorities in 
the school, family, and community; and

o  develop and test new or existing tailored preventive interventions that 
strengthen protective factors and prevent drug abuse among racial/ethnic 
minority populations.



The Principal Investigators of awards resulting from this RFA will be asked 
to participate in 2 meetings to be convened during the second and third (if 
applicable) funding years to report progress, discuss problems and share 
information on emerging and current trends related to the conduct of their 
grants.  Funds to support attendance at these meetings, to be held in the 
Washington DC area, should be included as a part of the budget proposal.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating that inclusion 
is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of  
the research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). 

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require:  a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) all investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by 
the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for 
receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning these policies.


All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.


The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse recognizes the importance of 
research involving the administration of drugs to human subjects and has 
developed guidelines relevant to such research.  Potential applicants are 
encouraged to obtain and review the recommendations of the Council before 
submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects.  
The guidelines are available on NIDA's Home Page at 
under Funding or may be obtained by calling (301) 443-2755.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a 
descriptive title of the proposed research; the name, address, and telephone 
number of the Principal Investigator; the identities of other key personnel 
and participating institutions; and the number and title of the RFA in 
response to which the application may be submitted.  Although a letter of 
intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of 
a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows the 
Institute staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the 

Send the letter of intent (by receipt date listed above) to:

Director, Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional 
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach 
and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge 
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone 301/710-0267, email:

The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested as well as a maximum level for requested budgets. Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The 
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only 
when there is a possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these 
changes will reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers, 
and Institute staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) 
is to be used in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted 



Modular Grant applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up 
to a total direct cost request of $250,000 per year.  (Applications that 
request more than $250,000 direct costs in any year must follow the 
traditional PHS 398 application instructions.)  The total direct costs must 
be requested in accordance with the  program guidelines and the modifications 
made to the standard PHS 398 application instructions described below:

PHS 398

o  FACE PAGE - Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs 
(in $25,000 increments up to a maximum of $250,000) and Total Costs [Modular 
Total Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial 
budget period.  Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the Direct and 
Total Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

4 of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the 

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required 
and will not be accepted with the application.

o  NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative 
page. (See for 
sample pages.)  At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs 
requested for each year.  This is not a Form page.

Under Personnel, list all project personnel, including their names, percent 
of effort, and roles on the project.  No individual salary information should 
be provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation 
language salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in 
developing the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct 
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the 
nearest $1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or 
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of all personnel, 
and role on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating institution is 
foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a consortium/contractual arrangement 
is included in the overall requested modular direct cost amount.  Include the 
Letter of Intent to establish a consortium.

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the 
number of modules requested.

o  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by  
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a 
specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall 
qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for 
all key personnel, following the instructions below.  No more than three 
pages may be used for each person.  A sample biographical sketch may be 
viewed at:

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on 
research projects 	  ongoing or completed during the last three years; 
- List selected peer-reviewed publications with full citations.

o  CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the 
application.  If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the 
type of agreement and the date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied  
in the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all 
future budget years.

The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual to 
contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional information 
is necessary following the initial review.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA 
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed 
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee 
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on 
line 2 of the face page of the application form and the YES box must be 

The sample RFA label available at: has been modified to 
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and three signed, photocopies, in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be 
sent to:

Director, Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547  
Rockville, MD  20852 (express/courier service)

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the 
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will 
be returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The 
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one 
already reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of substantial 
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must 
include an introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
responsiveness by NIDA.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications will 
be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by NIDA in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As 
part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written 
critique and undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to 
have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications 
under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a 
second level review by NIDA's National Advisory Council.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects 
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed 
research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each 
of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall 
score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the 
application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely 
to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For 
example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its 
nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(1)  Significance:  Does this study address an important problem?  If the 
aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be 
advanced?  What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or 
methods that drive this field?

(2)  Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?

(3)  Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or 
methods?  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4)  Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited 
to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience 
level of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

(5)  Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be 
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments 
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional 

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o  The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their 
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be 

o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed research.

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals, or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project  
proposed in the application.

o  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    March 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         April 16, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 June/July 2001
Council Review:                   September 2001
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2001


Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:  scientific 
merit (as determined by peer review), availability of funds, and programmatic 


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.   The opportunity to clarify 
any issues or answer questions from potential applicants is welcome.  

Direct inquires regarding programmatic issues to:

Arnold R. Mills, M.S.W.
Division of Epidemiology, Services & Prevention Research or
Dionne Jones, Ph.D.
Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5160, MSC 9589
Bethesda, MD 20892-9589 
Telephone:  (301) 443-6720 or (301) 443-1801
FAX:  (301) 480-4544 or (301) 443-4100
Email: or

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Jack Manischewitz, Ph.D.
Grants Management Branch, OPRM
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3131, MSC 9541
Bethesda, MD  20892-9541
Telephone:  (301) 443-6710
FAX:  (301) 594-6849

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Teresa Levitin, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.279.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 
74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review 
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free 
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition, 
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in 
certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which 
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early 
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent 
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of 
the American people.

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