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Pilot Awards for Community Engaged Approaches to Understand or Reduce Health Disparities


The Center for Reducing Health Disparities, established jointly by The MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University, seeks innovative pilot projects that partner with community organizations to better understand and/or reduce health disparities. Investigators from underrepresented groups are highly encouraged to apply. 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This pilot project aims to develop investigators with a high capacity to engage in partnerships with communities to conduct high-quality health disparities research. Community partnerships are intended to leverage the experience and understanding of the community in identifying the root causes of health disparities that adversely affect health. Investigations of interest include the development, pilot testing, and/or dissemination of community-based studies to understand and/or eliminate health disparities. 

Program Structure

Awardees will receive project assistance from the Investigator Development Core of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and its Community-Based Research Network (CBRN). Awardees will be expected to regularly engage in Center activities including presenting at health disparities seminars and CBRN meetings and interacting with visiting speakers, contributing to our health disparities course, and participating in community dissemination forums.  


This award is available to new or early stage investigators from Case Western Reserve University and affiliated hospitals who partner with community stakeholders to develop novel approaches to eliminating health disparities. Early stage investigators include post-doctoral fellows, clinicians, or faculty who have a Case Western Reserve University appointment no higher than assistant professor. This application uses the NIH definition of an early stage investigator:

An Early Stage Investigator (ESI) is a New Investigator who has completed his/her terminal research degree or medical residency (or the equivalent and whichever date is later) within the past 10 years and has not yet been awarded a substantial, competing NIH research grant. 

All applicants are highly encouraged to meet with the Center for Reducing Health Disparities' Community-Based Research Consult Service (Pilot Awards Consult Request ) prior to submitting an application. We also encourage all applicants to review the Grant Proposal section of the BRACE toolkit (registration required) for tips regarding community-academic partnerships and grant writing.  Previous awardees have found the consult service and toolkit helpful in focusing and developing their proposals.

Updated information can be found on the CRHD website


Requests may be made for up to $50,000 in direct costs paid over 1 year. The budget may include up to 10% salary support for the early stage investigator. Community organizations should be appropriately funded in the budget. 

Three to four pilot projects will be funded each year. Final decisions on all awards will be made by the National Institutes of Health. 

Key Dates

  • Application Due Date:  December 31, 2021
  • Scientific Merit Review Date: January 1-26, 2022
  • NIH Review Date: February 15, 2022
  • Earliest Project Start Date: March 1, 2022

Submission of Application

All applications should be submitted via InfoReady Review and must be received by 11:59PM EST, December 31, 2021.

InfoReady will also be used to verify completed applications, to assign reviewers to submitted applications, and to allow reviewers to view and grade submitted applications

The RFA can be found in the InfoReady system under “FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES” and is titled “Final Round: Pilot Awards for Community Engaged Approaches to Understand or Reduce Health Disparities 2022” or can be found directly in this link

IRB approval is required at the time of submission. Please note, applications will NOT be considered without appropriate IRB approval. 


Applications should include the following:

  • Abstract (not more than 400 words)
  • Specific aims (not more than 1 page)
  • Research strategy (significance, innovation, and approach/methods; 3-6 pages)
  • References (minimum of 8 references supporting the significance of your project)
  • Post award and career development plans (not more than 1 page)
  • Statement of work from community partner (not just a letter of support, but also what role community partner will have in the research)
  • Biosketch of investigator(s)
  • Budget and budget justification for funding not to exceed $50,000 (direct costs only)
  • Additional funding for the proposed project, if applicable
  • IRB Approval
  • Dissemination plan (including publications and presentations with community partners)

For additional information contact:

Jacqueline Dolata ([email protected] or 216-778-1792)

About the Center for Reducing Health Disparities

The Center for Reducing Health Disparities was established by The MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University to reduce health disparities through research on root causes, mechanisms, and interventions; through education of students, providers, and policy makers; and through partnership with community organizations and government agencies. Click Center for Reducing Disparities for more information.