amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Public Policy Awards: Addressing HIV and/or Hepatitis C in the Context of Local U.S. Opioid Epidemics

Registration Deadline: 3:00 PM EDT, September 12, 2017 (REQUIRED)
Concept Paper Submission Deadline: 3:00 PM EDT, September 14, 2017

Request for proposals (RFP)

Purpose
To fund organizations working at the state or local level on efforts to address HIV and/or hepatitis C in the context of the opioid epidemic. Successful applications will incorporate the use of amfAR’s Opioid & Health Indicators Database into proposed projects.

Background: amfAR’s Opioid & Health Indicators Database

amfAR’s Opioid & Health Indicators Database is a free web platform designed to support communities, lawmakers, and advocates in making informed decisions about the opioid epidemic and its impact on HIV and hepatitis C. The database is a window into the opioid epidemic unfolding in every American's backyard. It provides local to national statistics using reliable data sources on new HIV and hepatitis C infections, opioid use and overdose death rates, and the availability of services such as drug treatment programs and syringe exchange services. In addition, users can examine data at the state or county level to see the differential impact of the opioid epidemic by state or within states.

Priority areas of interest

In order of priority:
1. To identify and address gaps in health care delivery for individuals diagnosed with or at risk for HIV and/or hepatitis C in the context of a local opioid epidemic
2. To identify and work to amend policies that exacerbate the risk for HIV or hepatitis C in the context of a local opioid epidemic
3. To identify and address gaps in the availability of harm reduction and other prevention services in areas at high epidemiological risk for an HIV or hepatitis C outbreak. 
4. To increase awareness of amfAR’s Opioid & Health Indicators Database and encourage use of the database as a resource for local health officials, advocates, and policy makers

Available funding

Awards under this RFP provide funding of up to $70,000 (including indirect costs at a maximum rate of 20%) over a one-year performance period beginning on December 1, 2017. Three separate awards (no more than one per organization) will be granted. Local prevalence of opioid abuse, HIV and hepatitis C will be considered in the evaluation of applications.

Expected outcome(s)

Grantees are expected to work on one or two of the following activities: 1) Raise awareness among local and state policy makers about gaps in addressing HIV and/or hepatitis C trends in the context of the local opioid crisis; 2) Develop instructional sessions on how to use the database for local advocates, policy makers or health care providers; 3) Quantitatively analyze data compiled in the database to inform public health practice and policy recommendations; 4) Utilize data compiled in the database to help develop detailed plans to prevent HIV and hepatitis C in states, districts and/or counties disproportionately impacted by hepatitis C; 5) Develop and execute a media plan targeting newspapers, local TV segments, and social media about the use of the database to increase understanding of the local opioid crisis; 6) Inventory local resources and preparedness to address HIV and hepatitis C in the context of the local opioid crisis and use the database to determine whether resources are epidemiologically and geographically aligned with disease burden; 7) Suggest an activity or activities that highlight the utility of amfAR’s database in identifying gaps in service or policy at the local level to address HIV and/or hepatitis C in the context of the local opioid epidemic.

Eligibility

Applications will be accepted from U.S. nonprofit institutions including:

  • Substance use disorder treatment providers

  • Organizations/networks that represent people who inject drugs

  • AIDS service organizations

  • Hepatitis advocacy organizations

  • Health departments

  • Federally qualified health centers or other health-focused community centers

  • Academic institutions

 Project Director Qualifications
• Demonstrated work history in substance abuse and/or HIV or hepatitis C prevention or care
• Commitment to harm reduction and other scientifically validated public health approaches to substance abuse
• Demonstrated affiliations or linkages with organizations that address the needs of people who inject drugs, people living with or affected by HIV, or people living with or at risk for hepatitis C
• Demonstrated affiliation with the applicant institution

Specific Areas of Interest

1. Gaps in substance abuse treatment and prevention services
Services for people at risk for HIV or hepatitis C and efforts to address the opioid crisis may not always be aligned. amfAR is interested in helping to facilitate coordination and co-location of services to maximize impact.  
2. Obsolete drug policy
Policies to address drug use may not be in line with accepted public health practice or even best practices to reduce HIV or hepatitis C infections or curtail the opioid crisis. amfAR is interested in supporting efforts to bring drug policy at the local level into alignment with best practices.
3. Awareness and education
The connections between opioid use, injection drugs and risk for HIV and hepatitis C have been well demonstrated in the scientific literature. amfAR is interested in social marketing campaigns and other efforts to raise awareness at the local level (generally with providers or policy makers) of these dovetailing epidemics.

Topics of interest

  • Naloxone access (e.g., third party prescriptions) and availability to law enforcement and other government employees, as well as affordability

  • Syringe services program availability, determination of need process or legal barriers to access including paraphernalia laws

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment availability (Buprenorphine, Methadone, Naltrexone) and treatment program capacity

  • Barriers to Medication-Assisted Treatment (e.g., prior authorizations, lifetime limits, patient caps)

  • Health insurance coverage for people with opioid use disorder

  • Reducing perinatal hepatitis C infection

  • Prescriber education on opioid abuse (clinics, private physicians, medical or dentistry schools, etc.)

  • Law enforcement education on opioid abuse and people with opioid use disorder

Please note that this is not a closed list of topic areas for possible funding. amfAR staff will consider other topics of interest proposed by applicants.

Submission Process and Application Review

Submission pipeline and review
Selection of funded applications is a four-step process, as follows:

1. Concept papers receive a preliminary review by amfAR staff to ensure that eligibility requirements are met. Concept papers that meet the criteria proceed to internal review. 

2. Concept papers are reviewed by amfAR staff to ensure that a) the proposed project is in line with amfAR Public Policy Office objectives; and b) the proposal is responsive to the RFP. Concept papers will be scored on the following criteria: 
       • need at the local level defined by HIV and hepatitis C disease burden and
         local capacity to address these issues
       • appropriateness of the proposed work with respect to available funds
       • relevant experience of members of the team
       • expected impact on the local opioid crisis and HIV and/or hepatitis C epidemic

3. Applicants with the highest-scoring concept papers are invited to submit full applications. Full applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts in the areas of HIV, hepatitis C, and substance abuse. Applications will be scored during an in-person meeting to assess each proposal’s merit with respect to:
       • innovation and novelty of the activity
       • expected impact of the proposed project 
       • competency and track record of the project director
       • incorporation of amfAR’s Opioid & Health Indicators Database into the proposed project
     
4. Successful applications are chosen for funding based on reviewer comments, scores, and on amfAR priorities. 

Preparation of materials
An initial concept paper must be submitted for evaluation. The concept paper will be generated from a series of questions on the online portal and will include:

  • Name of project director

  • Institution name

  • City and state

  • Description of the issue (3,000 characters and spaces)

  • Description of the proposed project for funding (5,000 characters and spaces)

  • Will the project supplement or dovetail with an existing activity? (Y/N)

  • If yes, describe the existing activity (1,700 characters and spaces)

  • Project director’s C.V. or NIH biographical sketch (to be uploaded in the portal)

Concept Paper Submission

Submission of concept papers is a two-step online process. 

1. The project director must register no later than 3:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

CLICK HERE to register.

Username, password and link to the submission portal will be sent to the email address provided in the form. The log-in is not interchangeable. Each project director must submit their own registration. 

2. Concept papers must be submitted via the portal no later than 3:00 PM EDT on Thursday, September 14, 2017.
Please be sure to register with adequate time to prepare a concept paper. Deadline extensions will not be provided.
Complete applications will provide invited applicants the opportunity to expand on the information outlined in the concept paper and will include a project timeline, budget and CVs for all of the project’s key personnel. 

Other Important Dates (all dates tentative)
Invitations for full applications: September 18, 2017
Application submissions due: October 25, 2017 
Funding decisions announced: November 30, 2017
Agreements for successful awardees must be signed no later than February 28, 2018.