Health Workforce Research Center (HWRC) Program
HRSA-15-148 | Bureau of Health Workforce
Application Accepted: 06/09/2015 to 07/23/2015
Projected Award Date: 09/01/2015
Estimated Award Amount: N/A
Estimated Number of Awards:N/A
This announcement solicits applications for the Health Workforce Research Center (HWRC) program. The HWRC program is designed to support rigorous, policy-oriented data collection, analysis and research projects that can enhance the government's understanding of emerging issues and trends in the health care workforce. The goal of this funding opportunity is to establish an HWRC that will collect relevant data and information, conduct research, and disseminate findings and information topics related to the behavioral health care workforce in the U.S. The program will support health services research projects as defined by the collection, analysis, and reporting of data and excluding clinical/biomedical research and the expenditure of funds for delivery of services. Findings from research projects conducted by the HWRC established through this funding opportunity will ultimately help inform policy decisions regarding the behavioral health care workforce at the State and Federal levels.
This funding opportunity solicits applications from eligible entities to conduct research projects on topics related to the behavioral health care workforce in the U.S., and when substantively appropriate, with an additional focus on the behavioral health care workforce in underserved areas and communities, diversity in the behavioral health care workforce, and team-based care in behavioral health. Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity must detail the types of research projects the HWRC proposes to conduct in each of the following interrelated focus areas during the project period:
· Focus Area #1: Behavioral Health care Workforce—Minimum Data Set (MDS)
Consistent data collection is needed for effective health workforce planning; however, the quality and extent of data available on the current behavioral health care workforce varies by State. The current variability in the quality and extent of data may be due to a number of factors including differences in how each State collects and reports workforce-related data. Governments at the State and Federal levels need standardized workforce data when gauging the current supply and characteristics of professionals and paraprofessionals who provide behavioral health-related services (i.e., substance abuse prevention, substance abuse treatment, and mental health) in their jurisdictions. The HWRC will conduct research to assess the need for and potential uses of a standardized MDS on the behavioral health workforce for governments at the State and Federal levels. The HWRC will work with stakeholders to identify the required content of the MDS, technical requirements needed for implementation, data sources that will populate the MDS, as well as identify any expected challenges associated with its implementation. The HWRC will also generate implementation options based on research findings, outlining both short-term (less than five years) and long-term (greater than five years) options for execution of an MDS.
· Focus Area #2: Behavioral Health care Workforce—Characteristics & Practice Settings
While an MDS can provide basic information at a policy level, it is not designed to serve as the only data source for questions pertaining to the behavioral health care workforce. Additional data and information are needed to answer some of the more complex questions that arise regarding the behavioral health care workforce in the U.S. One such area with a paucity of information is around the characteristics and practice settings of professionals and paraprofessionals who provide behavioral-health care related services. Being able to know detailed information about the types of individuals who provide behavioral health care-related services and their practice settings is essential for assessing whether the correct health occupations are being trained with the most appropriate competencies. The HWRC will conduct research to better define the behavioral health care workforce (i.e. investigate and explain what types of professionals and paraprofessionals provide what type of services and for what purpose) and gather more in-depth information about the characteristics and practice settings of professionals and paraprofessionals who provide behavioral health care-related services in the U.S.
· Focus Area #3: Behavioral Health care Workforce—Scopes of Practice (SOP)
What a health provider can and cannot do for a patient or consumer depends on the Scope of Practice (SOP) for that occupation in a specific State. While the numbers of Americans accessing health care--including behavioral health care services--are expected to increase in coming years, the number of health care providers is not expected to drastically increase. Many stakeholders are investigating and reconsidering the SOPs for health professions to meet this anticipated surge in demand. The HWRC will conduct research on current SOPs for occupations providing services in the areas of substance abuse prevention, substance abuse treatment, and mental health in each State. It will take into account a wide range of health professionals (e.g., medicine, nursing, behavioral health) as well as paraprofessionals (e.g., community health workers, prevention specialists) and document overlaps and gaps in SOPs by State.
An eligible applicant is either a State, a State workforce investment board, a public health or health professions school, or an appropriate public or private nonprofit entity. Although the HWRC shall be a comprised of a consortium of organizations, the applicant is ultimately responsible for the quality and accuracy of all research submitted to the Federal Government; supervision and administrative activities; as well as the overall management of Federal grant funds.
The HWRC must represent a purposeful group of organizations and staff that work together on research projects rather than a collection of loosely affiliated individual researchers. The HWRC shall not act as an entity whose purpose is to disburse funds to individual researchers that work independently either in the same or a different geographical location as the applicant. To this end, the application must include memoranda of understanding (MOU) from partner organizations that, if awarded, will constitute the consortium required for this cooperative agreement.