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Release Date:  September 21, 2001

RFA:  RFA-MH-02-007

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institute of Nursing Research

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  November 14, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       December 14, 2001



The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute of Child 
Health and Human Development (NICHD), and National Institute of Nursing 
Research (NINR) invite applications proposing studies of school-based and 
other community-centered prevention programs for adolescents and youth for the 
purpose of preventing the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 
infection.  The purposes of this Request for Applications (RFA) are to: (1) 
identify the community, school-system, and parental attitudes and concerns 
associated with establishing the collaborative relationships necessary to plan 
and implement school-based and other community-centered intervention programs; 
(2) identify in-school factors such as teacher characteristics, peer 
influences, or the needs of special populations that are key to delivering 
developmentally appropriate and effective intervention programs; and (3) 
develop, implement, and evaluate school-based and other community-centered 
HIV/Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) preventive interventions.  


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, HIV/STD Prevention Programs 
for Adolescents, 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 
Investigators.  Faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for these 


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project 
grant (R01) award mechanism.  Responsibility for the planning, direction, and 
execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant.  The 
total project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may 
not exceed five years.  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 June, 2002.

For all applications requesting up to $250,000 direct costs per year, specific 
application instructions have been modified to reflect “MODULAR GRANT” and 
“JUST-IN-TIME” streamlining efforts that have been adopted by the NIH.  
Complete and detailed instructions and information on Modular Grant 
applications have been incorporated into the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001).  
Additional information on Modular Grants can be found at 


The NIMH intends to commit approximately $1.3 million in FY 2002 to fund three 
to five new and/or competitive continuation grants in response to this RFA; 
NICHD will commit $500,000 to fund one new grant; and NINR plans to commit 
$750,000 to fund one to two new and/or competitive continuation grants.  
Because the nature and scope of the research proposed may vary, it is 
anticipated that the size of each award will also vary.  It is expected that 
direct costs will be awarded in modules of $25,000, however program and grants 
management adjustments may be necessary prior to award.  Although the 
financial plans of the participating Institutes provide support for this 
program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the availability of 
funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of applications of outstanding 
scientific and technical merit. 



Interpersonal risk behaviors among young people and adolescents can have 
serious personal and public health consequences, including STDs, HIV 
infection, and unwanted pregnancies.  Although preventive interventions 
targeting these behaviors have been developed, empirically validated 
prevention programs in settings specific to youth have not received adequate 
attention.  For example, since most youth attend school, this venue offers an 
opportunity to develop widely applicable and developmentally appropriate 
models for understanding and modifying sexual risk behavior.  Similarly, 
recreation centers, after-school programs, mentoring and job-training 
programs, parent organizations, and community-centered sites that youth 
frequent (e.g., stores, restaurants, shopping centers, parks) may offer 
promising settings for studying determinants of adolescent risk behavior and 
developing HIV preventive interventions.

Research in this area presents a unique set of opportunities, along with a 
unique set of challenges.  School-based HIV/STD prevention research requires 
successful collaboration among researchers, community leaders, school district 
administrators, local school officials, school teachers and staff, parents, 
and youth.  Successful models for developing these collaborations could be 
used to guide other types of school-based research (e.g., youth exhibiting 
behavior problems).

Although many school systems recognize the need for and provide 
developmentally appropriate skills-based HIV prevention programs, others offer 
less integrated programs required by their States.  Many of these latter 
programs provide general health information, rather than specific HIV risk 
reduction approaches, such as learning negotiation and refusal skills or 
correct condom use.  Working within these various settings requires 
sensitivity to the contextual differences and research potentials.

Although several promising HIV prevention studies have been conducted with 
middle and high school age students, additional research with adolescents in 
these age groups is needed, along with research on interventions for younger 
youth, in order to fully and effectively address this issue.  In order to 
systematically reach this vast pool of youth, studies are needed that address 
the following issues: community and school-level factors that influence the 
school-based research climate including school boards, elected officials, 
teachers and parents; peers’ influence on risk and preventive behaviors; 
characteristics of interventions that maximize their effectiveness for 
different youth; methods to reach special adolescent populations within and 
outside the school setting; and measures and interventions that are 
developmentally appropriate for late elementary, early middle, and high school 
age youth.

Research is also needed to address methodological issues concerning school-
based or other community-centered HIV/STD prevention programs, including the 
identification of the proper unit of randomization and analysis, and the 
identification of appropriate research designs and data collection strategies. 
For example, large samples may be necessary to adequately test intervention 
effectiveness, given the small percentage of sexually active young teenagers 
in study populations.

School-related HIV preventive intervention research also presents research 
opportunities.  For example, schools could serve as recruitment sites for 
prevention studies or advertising sites for off-campus programs.

Applications in response to this RFA should focus on intervention development 
or pre-intervention research including innovative risk factor research. 
Illustrative research topics include, but are not limited to the following 

Research Climate

o  Examine community attitudes and norms bearing on school-based HIV 

o  Design effective systems-level collaborative efforts with the community, 
school system, local school administrators, teachers, and parents for the 
purpose of planning, developing, and implementing HIV preventive intervention 

o  Evaluate the effectiveness of specific intervention approaches and programs 
for host communities

Teachers and Parents

o  Evaluate the characteristics and the training experiences of teachers and 
other intervention leaders that predict their ability to successfully lead 
HIV/STD prevention interventions

o  Examine parental attitudes and concerns regarding school-based HIV risk and 
prevention programs for the purposes of program planning and development

o  Evaluate the inclusion of parents in program delivery and intervention 
follow-up activities.  Are there ways to increase parental participation in 
hard to reach populations?

Intervention Development

o  Evaluate innovative school-related risk and protective factors associated 
with HIV risk behavior in order to design appropriate preventive interventions 
(e.g., school climate vis-a-vis sexuality)

o  Examine aspects of interventions that maximize their effectiveness for 
particular students and school/community climates.  Aspects include providers 
(e.g., classroom teachers, school counselors, health educators, peer 
educators, popular opinion leaders) and settings (e.g., classrooms, school-
based and school-linked health clinics, community centers, and community sites 
that youth frequent).  Do some students benefit more from one-on-one versus 
group interventions?  Are there iatrogenic effects of group interventions for 
some groups of students? 

o  Examine school-related moderators and mediators to maximize intervention 
effectiveness.  For example, will training peer educators to address 
discipline problems in the classroom increase effectiveness of peer-led 
interventions?  How are school factors related to individual, peer, and family 

o  Examine additional individual, group, family, or system-level interventions 
that can help maintain school-based intervention effectiveness over time such 
as parent involvement, individual booster sessions, condom availability 
programs, media campaigns, school health fairs, and web-based interventions

o  Examine the impact of other high-risk behaviors on school-based HIV 
interventions.  How do individual’s risk behaviors impact intervention 
effectiveness?  How are multiple risk behaviors addressed at the systems 

Peer Influence

o  Examine how HIV/STD information is transmitted through informal discussions 
by peers at school.  How accurate is the information that is transmitted?  Are 
there attitudinal or other differences that can be attributed to peer-
transmitted as opposed to adult-transmitted risk information? 

o  Investigate school social network utilization in delivering intervention 
messages and in fostering HIV/STD prevention skill development

o  Examine links between school social networks and networks outside of school 
that are at high-risk for engaging in HIV/STD-related behaviors

Developmental Issues

o  Evaluate developmentally appropriate measures of HIV-related attitudes, 
beliefs, and intentions

o  Develop and evaluate preventive interventions that are most appropriate for 
specific age groups especially for youth in early middle school and late 
elementary school

o  Examine the applicability of models developed with adults to school-aged 
populations, such as the Popular Opinion Leader Model

Special Populations and Hard-to-Reach Youth

o  Develop programs to actively involve special populations of youth in 
school-based HIV/STD prevention programs, including minority youth, 
developmentally delayed and handicapped youth, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and 
transgender youth
o  Develop methods to facilitate contact with hard-to-reach and at-risk youth 
for recruitment into intervention programs including individuals who have 
dropped out of school, pregnant teens, home-schooled students, youth involved 
in the juvenile justice system, and youth involved with partners who are 
significantly older or are engaging in high risk HIV/STD-related behaviors

o  Develop appropriate interventions to measure and reduce stigma

o  Develop materials and techniques to effectively increase the social comfort 
level necessary for individuals and communities to actively participate in 
HIV/STD preventive activities


o  Determine research design characteristics that are most appropriate for 
school-based research (regarding units of randomization and analyses, data 
collection, etc.)

School-Related Research

o  Examine the utilization of schools as sites for advertisement and 
recruitment to community-based intervention research programs


The participating Institutes would like to convene an annual meeting, in the 
Washington, DC area, of grantees supported under this RFA in order to network 
grantees and exchange information on research models and developments.  
Provision for participation in this meeting should be included in the 
development of the budget.

Any plans to share data should be included in the application.  Reviewers will 
assess the adequacy of the proposed plan.


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 (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-048.html).  
A complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at  
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_update.htm.  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 differences.


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 
address: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html.

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


NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants 
for all investigators submitting NIH proposals for research involving human 
subjects.  This policy announcement is found in the NIH Guide for Grants and 
Contracts Announcement dated June 5, 2000, at the following website: 


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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to 
provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) under some circumstances.  Data that are (1) first produced in a 
project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited 
publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has 
the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA.  
It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this 
amendment.  NIH has provided guidance at 

Applicants may wish to place data collected under this RFA (PA) in a public 
archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the 
distribution for an indefinite period of time.  If so, the application should 
include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include 
information about this in the budget justification section of the application.  
In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent 
statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider 
use of data collected under this award.


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 Institute 
staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to the program staff listed under INQUIRIES 
by the letter of intent receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA.


The PHS 398 research grant application instructions and forms (rev. 5/2001) at 
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html are to be used in 
applying for these grants.  This version of the PHS 398 is available in an 
interactive, searchable PDF format.  Although applicants are strongly 
encouraged to begin using the 5/2001 revision of the PHS 398 as soon as 
possible, the NIH will continue to accept applications prepared using the 
4/1998 revision until January 9, 2002.  Beginning January 10, 2002, however, 
the NIH will return applications that are not submitted on the 5/2001 version.  
For further assistance contact GrantsInfo, 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 NIH staff.  
The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) at 
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html is to be used in 
applying for these grants, with modular budget instructions provided in 
Section C of the application instructions.  Applicants are permitted, however, 
to use the 4/1998 revision of the PHS 398 for scheduled application receipt 
dates until January 9, 2002.  If you are preparing an application using the 
4/1998 version, please refer to the step-by-step instructions for Modular 
Grants available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/modular/modular.htm.  
Additional information about Modular Grants is also available on this site.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 5/2001) 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 
marked. The RFA label is also available at: 

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:

Jean Noronha, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892-9619
Rockville, MD  20852 (for express/courier services)

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 NIMH staff.  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 
the NIMH.  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 the National Advisory Councils of the participating Institutes.

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, if appropriate.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    November 14, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         December 14, 2001
Approximate Peer Review Date:     February/March 2002
Council Review:                   May 2002
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  June, 2002


Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include:

o  scientific merit (as determined by peer review)
o  availability of funds
o  programmatic priorities


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

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Nicolette Borek, Ph.D.
Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6206, MSC 9617
Bethesda, MD  20892-9619
Telephone:  (301) 443-4526
FAX:  (301) 443-9719  
Email:  nborek@mail.nih.gov  

Susan Newcomer, Ph.D.
Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 8B07, MSC 7510
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 435-6981
FAX:  (301) 496-0962
Email:  snewcomer@nih.gov

Hilary Sigmon, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities 
National Institute of Nursing Research
Building 45, Room 3AN12
45 Center Drive, MSC 6300
Bethesda, MD  20892-6300
Telephone:  (301) 594-5970
FAX:  (301) 480-8260
Email:  hilary_sigmon@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Jean G. Noronha, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6154, MSC 9609
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 443-3367
FAX:  (301) 443-4720
Email:  jnoronha@mail.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

William F. Caputo
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6115, MSC 9605
Bethesda, MD  20892-9605
Telephone:  (301) 443-0004
FAX:  (301) 443-6885
Email:  wcaputo@nih.gov

Kathy Hancock
Grants Management Branch
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
6100 Executive Boulevard, Building 61e, Room 8a17
Bethesda, MD  20892-7510
Telephone:  (301) 496-5481
FAX:  (301) 402-0915
Email:  hancockk@nih.gov

Robert Tarwater
Office of Grants and Contract Management
National Institute of Nursing Research
Building 45, Room 3AN12
45 Center Drive, MSC 6300
Bethesda, MD  20892-6300
Telephone:  (301) 594-2807
FAX:  (301) 480-8260
Email:  robert_tarwater@nih.gov


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Nos. 
93.242 (NIMH), 93.864 (NICHD), and 93.361 (NINR).  Awards are made under 
authorization of the Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part A (Public Law 
78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241 and 285) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 
74.  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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