Sunday, February 5, 2012

HRSA Announces FOA

HRSA released an FOA on January 27, 2012 soliciting applications for the “Rapid Response to Requests for Rural Data Analysis and Issue Specific Rural Research Studies” Cooperative Agreement (HRSA-12-090). HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) has to deal with the fact that often rural organizations and policy makers require information that is available only by doing a specialized analysis of databases that have been compiled by CMS, Federal and state agencies, and private organizations.

Most of these databases are available to the public for a fee, but they are also very large and complex. In order to analyze specific components of the data, these databases must often be “scrubbed” or refined by trained data analysts.

Analysis of the data requires statistical programs to be written specifically for each inquiry or study. Most rural groups and individuals do not have the capacity to store the data sets, the staff expertise to refine and analyze the data, nor the computer programs necessary to run statistical analyses.

Plus the ever-changing nature of the rural policy environment often necessitates quick research and analysis of emerging policy issues. Therefore, these studies must be completed within a short time frame requiring a level of effort and staffing greater then what is generally required for typical rural research studies.

The information from the data sets is needed to identify trends, problems, and progress in rural healthcare financing. Rural groups must rely on organizations that have the data storage capacity, personnel, and computer resources to provide the information.

To meet the needs of the solicitation, the award recipient will need to provide the public with a vehicle for performing data analysis and interpretation on rural health services. This includes distributing research findings to inform the public. The awardee will need to determine if conducting the data analyses and interpretations is possible using available data sets, when appropriate complete the analyses, and then share the results with the public.

Secondly, the awardee will need to identify one to two rural policy research issues for a study that in the current timeframe cannot be accommodated by the Rural Health Research Centers and where the study will not duplicate their work.

One of the requirements is that applicants must have significant experience to quickly respond to requests for rural data analysis with turnaround time for the data analyses to be as short as one or two days.

All domestic public and private entities, nonprofits and for-profits are eligible to apply. Public and private institutions for higher education, public or private health research organizations, foundations, tribes, and tribal organizations, and faith-based entities are all encouraged to apply.

The application deadline is March 19, 2012 with projected award data to be September 2012. Funding will be provided during FY 2012-2014 for up to $450,000 and is expected to be available annually to fund one awardee.

For more information go to or email Michelle Goodman, Policy Coordinator, Office of Rural Health Policy at