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Deadline: June 1, 2018

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Evidence for Action – Making Health a Shared Value

Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), funds research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. It supports rigorously designed research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs, and partnerships. The focus of this solicitation is on Action Area 1-Making Health a Shared Value, which is a central component of the Action Framework, and highlights the importance of individual, family, and community factors in renewing and sustaining a societal commitment to health and health equity. Action Area 1 drivers includes three drivers:

  • Mindsets and expectations: How people think about health, well-being and equity, and the extent to which they value health and view their own health as interconnected with the health of others. Mindsets and expectations, at both the individual and community levels, impact the decisions and actions necessary to promote health.
  • Sense of community: Ways in which people feel connected to physical or social communities. People with stronger social support generally have better health, and more cohesive communities and groups can be more effective at mobilizing to bring about change.
  • Civic engagement: The wide range of activities that individuals and groups perform, including voting, volunteering, organizing, and other forms of service or advocacy, to bring changes to society. Engagement occurs at both the individual or organizational level; both are considered essential to creating the conditions that enable populations to thrive.

The purpose of this solicitation is to improve understanding of the Action Area 1 drivers and outcomes related to health, well-being, and equity, particularly with respect to disadvantaged children and families. A current lack of empirical evidence limits the ability to identify strategies with the potential to “drive” this Action Area forward. In addition, although these drivers are strongly correlated with individual health outcomes, there is a lack of compelling evidence of the causal directions and the magnitudes of effects on health, well-being, and equity.

RWJF seeks evidence on the extent to which Action Area 1 drivers—mindsets and expectations, sense of community, and civic engagement—can be changed through intervention at the individual or population levels to result in better health, well-being and equity outcomes. An ideal study to provide such evidence would experimentally manipulate a driver, measure changes in that driver, and then measure resulting health impacts. However, RWJF recognizes that a variety of constraints could preclude such a design within the parameters of this funding opportunity. Thus, it has established two key aims for funding:

  • Aim 1: To test the effects of specific interventions on the Action Area 1 drivers, in order to determine the extent to which they can be changed
  • Aim 2: To establish evidence of causal relationships between Action Area 1 drivers and health outcomes

While projects that can achieve both aims are preferred, RWJF also anticipates funding research that addresses either of the aims independently. In addition, the hope is to support research that can assess the potential of drivers to “move the needle” on health, well-being, and equity outcomes for children and families by examining Action Area 1 drivers within the context of underlying and structural determinants of health.

Researchers are not limited to the specific terminology used here to define the drivers. RWJF will consider projects that apply broad interpretations of what drivers could embody, and that propose novel ways to conceptualize or frame drivers within the Action Framework. Moreover, achieving a Culture of Health involves multiple factors working interactively in complex systems. It is therefore appropriate to think about Action Area 1 drivers not in isolation, but rather as part of these dynamic systems, in which synergy may exist among multiple drivers.

Amount: A total of $2,500,000 is available, with the majority of funding to be dedicated to research that is either specific to disadvantaged children and families, or will benefit these groups. There is not an explicit budget per grant. Applicants should request the amount of funding needed to complete the proposed project. The total number of grants to be awarded will be determined based on the number, size, and scope of the studies proposed, and it is expected that grants will range in size and duration. Grant periods are flexible, with total durations of up to 48 months, and preference for projects that produce findings in the near term.

Eligibility: Preference will be given to applicant organizations that are either institutes of higher education, public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, but other types of nonprofit and for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. While the principal investigator is not required to hold an advanced degree, the applicant team must demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research.

RWJF recognizes that research on Action Area 1 drivers may be undertaken through the lens of many disciplines, including but not limited to: anthropology, child development, community development, economics, education, epidemiology, health policy, medicine, history, political science, psychology, public health, sociology, and urban planning. Applications are welcomed from any discipline, as well as applicant teams and research designs that are interdisciplinary in nature. Applicants representing diverse geographic areas and first-time applicants are encouraged to apply.

Link: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/funding-opportunities/2018/evidence-for-action-making-health-a-shared-value.html

Note: An optional web conference call will be held on April 16, 2018 (see link above to register).

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