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Request for Information

Request for Information on the FY 2019–2023 Strategic Plan
for the Office of the Disease Prevention, National Institutes of Health

Key Dates

Release Date: December 8, 2017
Responses due by: January 22, 2018

Related Announcements

Federal Register Notice: 2017-26453
NIH Guide Notice: NOT-OD-18-118

Issued by

Office of Disease Prevention
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
National Institutes of Health

Purpose

Request for Information on the Office of Disease Prevention Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019–2023

Information Requested

This Request for Information (RFI) is intended to gather broad public input on the FY 2019–2023 Strategic Plan for the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The ODP invites input from prevention researchers in academia and industry, health care professionals, patient advocates and advocacy organizations, scientific or professional organizations, federal agencies, and other interested members of the public. Organizations are strongly encouraged to submit a single response that reflects the views of their organization and membership as a whole.

The mission of the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) is to improve the public health by increasing the scope, quality, dissemination, and impact of prevention research supported by the NIH. The ODP fulfills this mission by providing leadership for the development, coordination, and implementation of prevention research in collaboration with NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices and other partners. The first ODP strategic plan was released in February 2014 and charted new directions and, at the same time, built upon and expanded existing programs. The Office has made considerable progress on the priorities identified in the initial plan, and the ODP remains committed to playing an integral role in advancing trans-NIH prevention-related activities. The final FY 2019–2023 Strategic Plan will outline activities coordinated by the ODP to assess, facilitate, and stimulate research in disease prevention, and disseminate the results of this research to improve public health.

The definition of prevention research used by the ODP to guide its work and decision-making encompasses research designed to yield results directly applicable to identifying and assessing risk, developing interventions for preventing or ameliorating high-risk behaviors and exposures, the occurrence of a disease, disorder, or injury, or the progression of detectable but asymptomatic disease. Additional information about the definition is available on the ODP Website.

How to Submit a Response

To ensure consideration, responses must be submitted electronically using the instructions below. Once comments have been submitted, the web-based form will provide confirmation of response submission, but respondents will not receive individualized feedback. Please note that there is no way to save your comments in progress and return to the form at a later date.

  1. Click on the tabs below to enter comments for each strategic priority and the additional questions. Comments are encouraged but not required for each tab.
  2. Once you have entered all of your comments, please scroll to the bottom of the page to select the appropriate box in the “Additional Information” section.
  3. Click on the “Submit” button ONLY after you have provided all of your comments. This will ensure that the ODP receives your comments as one complete file.

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Strategic Priority I: Systematically monitor NIH investments in prevention research and the progress and results of that research.

Background

Comprehensive methods are needed to identify the characteristics (e.g., topic areas, study designs, population[s] studied) of NIH-funded prevention research studies, and to summarize their findings in a meaningful way. Such methods will enable the identification of patterns and trends, as well as research areas that may benefit from targeted efforts by the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. Such categorization also will enable monitoring of the progress and changes in prevention research over time.

During the previous strategic planning period, the ODP developed a taxonomy to classify NIH-funded prevention research, as well as software to support manual coding of awards based on the taxonomy. With these tools, the ODP has coded more than 14,000 prevention research awards across a variety of activity codes, according to the characteristics described above. Concurrently, the ODP collaborated with the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis to develop machine-learning algorithms that identify prevention research projects, and is now using those tools to guide its manual coding efforts.

Having a manually coded, representative sample of all extramural prevention research awards and contracts for Fiscal Years 2012–2017 has provided a rich source of data. These data will help the Office further develop the machine-learning tools and characterize the NIH prevention research portfolio both as a whole and in detailed topic areas. The goal is to reduce the manual coding process and to move toward automated predictions with validation and quality control.

Strategic Priority I Objectives for FY 2019–2023

The objectives supporting Strategic Priority I focus on the classification of prevention research within the broader NIH portfolio. The ODP will ensure that this process aligns with other efforts at the NIH, such as the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization process. Furthermore, the ODP will work closely with colleagues in the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis to apply existing approaches and develop new tools to improve our understanding of NIH prevention research investments. The ODP will also work with partners across the NIH to develop metrics for measuring the long-term progress of the NIH investments in prevention research.

  • Objective I.1: Characterize and report on the NIH prevention research portfolio based on the taxonomy for prevention research developed by the ODP.
  • Objective I.2: Regularly monitor the progress and results of NIH investments in prevention research.
  • Objective I.3: Partner with NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices to disseminate ODP portfolio analysis tools and related data.

Strategic Priority II: Identify prevention research areas for investment or expanded effort by the NIH.

Background

The ODP assists NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices by identifying prevention research needs and gaps. In this process, the ODP makes use of a variety of prevention research data sources, including NIH portfolio analysis and reports from other federal agencies and task forces. Regular engagement with stakeholders such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), the Healthy People program, and the extramural prevention research community also informs the identification of prevention research areas for investment or expanded effort by the NIH. In addition, the ODP works closely with NIH colleagues to promote a prevention research agenda that examines a variety of issues, including disease burden, population trends, health disparities and social determinants of health, and environmental factors in disease prevention, and seeks to improve health across the life course.

During the previous strategic planning period, the ODP implemented and/or strengthened a number of activities to address this priority area. These included enhancing collaborations with the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in support of the USPSTF and CPSTF, and actively engaging with the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) of the Department of Health and Human Services to monitor progress and planning efforts related to the Healthy People initiative. The ODP also established the USPSTF “insufficient evidence” (I) statement annual reporting survey, which is used to communicate important prevention research gaps to the NIH ICs and track NIH activities related to addressing and closing these gaps. Through the Pathways to Prevention program, the ODP convened scientific workshops on several important prevention topics, publishing the evidence reports, research agendas, and Federal Partners action plans for all of these.

Strategic Priority II Objectives for FY 2019–2023

Strategic Priority II relies on building collaborations between the ODP and NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, other federal agencies, non-federal organizations that routinely conduct systematic evidence reviews (e.g., USPSTF, CPSTF, Cochrane Collaboration, National Academy of Medicine), established evidence-based public health initiatives (e.g., Healthy People), and other stakeholders to identify, promote, and address needs in prevention research.

  • Objective II.1: Work with a variety of stakeholders to identify needs in prevention research.
  • Objective II.2: Compare identified needs in prevention research with the current NIH portfolio to highlight prevention research gaps (i.e., those areas that are not being addressed or have insufficient funding).
  • Objective II.3: Work across the ODP and with NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices to identify prevention research gaps for investment or expanded effort.

Strategic Priority III: Promote the use of the best available methods in prevention research and support the development of better methods.

Background

Progress in prevention research depends on the use of the best available methods in prevention science. This includes methods related to research design, intervention development, measurement, and analysis. The ODP can encourage investigators to use the best available methods as they prepare their applications for NIH support, and can encourage reviewers to look for those methods as they review the applications. The Office also plays a role in helping program and review staff understand those methods so they can more effectively guide the work of both investigators and reviewers. The ODP can also collaborate with other Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) on funding opportunity announcements aimed toward developing better methods.

During the previous strategic planning period, the ODP made considerable progress on Strategic Priority III. For example, the ODP developed and implemented the Prevention Research Expertise Survey (PRES) to identify methods experts in the extramural community and to characterize their level of expertise on a variety of prevention-related design, analysis, and content areas. The results of the survey are housed in a database that can be accessed via a web-based tool. Scientific Review Officers at the NIH Center for Scientific Review can use this database to identify prevention science experts they may wish to invite to participate on review panels. The participation of highly qualified methods experts will strengthen the review panels and improve the quality of prevention research supported by the NIH. The ODP also developed and implemented the Internal Prevention Research Expertise Survey (iPRES) to gather similar data from NIH methods experts. The ODP created new training resources, including a centralized list of methods training opportunities available to the research community and a seven-part online course on the design and analysis of group-randomized trials. The ODP also refocused the Medicine: Mind the Gap seminar series to focus on research design, measurement, intervention, data analysis, and other methods of interest to prevention scientists. Finally, the ODP created a new Early-Stage Investigator Lecture to recognize early-career prevention scientists who have already made substantial research contributions in their field.

Strategic Priority III Objectives for FY 2019–2023

The objectives supporting Strategic Priority III focus on the provision of resources, training, and consultation, and the strengthening of policies and procedures to improve the quality of the methods used in prevention research supported by the NIH.

  • Objective III.1: Maintain catalogues and directories of existing NIH and other federal resources pertaining to prevention science methodology, as well as methodologists who focus on research design, intervention development, measurement, and data analysis.
  • Objective III.2: Provide resources for review staff to identify experts in prevention research methods for recruitment to review panels.
  • Objective III.3: Provide training in prevention science methods to NIH program and review staff, to NIH investigators, and to investigators external to the NIH.
  • Objective III.4: Serve as a resource to other ICOs on prevention science methods as they develop new funding opportunity announcements, workshops, meetings, and other activities.
  • Objective III.5: Collaborate with other ICOs to strengthen NIH policies and procedures to encourage the use of the best available methods in applications for prevention research.
  • Objective III.6: Conduct periodic reviews of methods used in prevention research, including systematic reviews of the peer-reviewed literature.

Strategic Priority IV: Promote collaborative prevention research projects and facilitate coordination of such projects across the NIH and with other public and private entities.

Background

Prevention research is supported through all of the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) within specific mission and disease areas, and in trans-NIH scientific interest groups and task forces that address major causes and contributors to morbidity and mortality in the United States. However, enhanced collaboration and coordination among NIH ICOs and other research partners could accelerate discoveries in prevention research.

During the previous strategic planning period, Strategic Priority IV focused on defining and streamlining co-funding activities and clarifying the scope of ODP prevention research priorities, including the major contributors to morbidity and mortality in the United States, screening for risk factors and disease, health disparities and health equity across the lifespan, and prevention methods and measurement. Additionally, the ODP supported the use of a wide range of prevention research designs, including observational studies and experimental research designs to advance the uptake of evidence-based interventions. To enhance the ODP’s engagement in NIH strategic planning relevant to prevention research, ODP staff actively participated in trans-NIH and federal groups addressing prevention, and contributed to trans-NIH workshops designed to identify future research needs as well as trans-NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The ODP also worked with prevention leaders across the NIH and within the Prevention Research Coordinating Committee to identify collaborative prevention research gap areas. This effort led to the development of five new Prevention Scientific Interest Groups (SIGs). Anticipated products of the Prevention SIGs include workshops, systematic reviews, FOAs, identification of relevant research resources, and ODP website enhancements. In identifying prevention research gaps, Strategic Priority IV staff worked with those working on Strategic Priority II to examine the research gaps noted in the Insufficient Evidence reports produced by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force as well as the research gaps identified through the Pathways to Prevention workshop program. Finally, the ODP has highlighted opportunities for translation of evidence into programs and practice with federal partners such as the CDC, as well as with private and public partnerships.

Strategic Priority IV Objectives for FY 2019–2023

The objectives supporting Strategic Priority IV focus on the coordination of prevention research, the development of new, collaborative prevention initiatives, and the support of ongoing prevention research initiatives across the NIH. These efforts will include the development and enhancement of prevention research resources, workshops to address prevention research gaps, and FOAs. In addition, in collaboration with its prevention program and practice partners, the ODP will seek to identify and support opportunities for more rapid translation of prevention research evidence into programs and practices to improve public health.

  • Objective IV.1: Establish or promote infrastructures and processes to foster prevention research coordination and collaboration across the NIH and with other public and private prevention partners.
  • Objective IV.2: Coordinate and support the development of collaborative prevention initiatives to address gaps in prevention research and practice.
  • Objective IV.3: Advance approaches for projecting future research needs and priorities in prevention and for highlighting trans-NIH efforts to address those gaps.
  • Objective IV.4: Work with other public and private prevention partners to develop a triennial State of Prevention conference highlighting research progress, gaps, and opportunities focused on a specific prevention gap of cross-cutting relevance across NIH.

Strategic Priority V: Advance the understanding of prevention research, increase the availability of prevention research resources and programs, and enhance the ODP’s stakeholder engagement.

Background

The ODP improves, promotes, and coordinates prevention research at the NIH. Communicating the various components of prevention research to diverse audiences is vital to effectively broaden its scientific and public health impact. The ODP shares resources, promotes events and programs, and collaborates with stakeholders to advance the understanding of prevention research and to disseminate information about its progress, findings, and future needs.

During the previous strategic planning period, the ODP greatly increased the availability of information about prevention research and expanded its presence by developing new sections for the ODP website, extensively promoting prevention-related resources and events, growing the ODP’s presence on social media and engaging with its followers, and directly targeting and connecting with the ODP’s stakeholders, including NIH staff, extramural researchers, professional societies, and the public.

Strategic Priority V functions include developing and disseminating resources and promoting events and programs identified throughout the ODP Strategic Plan. For example, the ODP produced online resources to help researchers develop, apply for, and conduct high-quality prevention research projects. These resources included a searchable list of current and upcoming NIH training opportunities in disease prevention research methods, a list of prevention-related funding opportunity announcements, and detailed information about prevention research needs and gaps. The ODP also identified several high-priority areas of prevention research and organized them around major public health topics. For each of these scientific areas, the ODP provided an overview of activities being conducted by NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, as well as by partners across the federal government. Additionally, the ODP used multiple outreach tools to promote its webinars and workshops.

Strategic Priority V Objectives for FY 2019–2023

The objectives supporting Strategic Priority V will focus on increasing the ODP’s outreach to and engagement with a larger, more diverse audience. The ODP will aim to use a targeted approach to build and leverage its resources and partnerships to increase the understanding of and opportunities in prevention research.

  • Objective V.1: Increase the understanding of the value and importance of prevention research.
  • Objective V.2: Increase the availability of information about prevention research.
  • Objective V.3: Build effective relationships and engage with stakeholders to coordinate and enhance communications about disease prevention research.

The ODP is also seeking input on the following questions:

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Additional Information

Once you have entered your comments on all six tabs above, please select the appropriate response to the question below and press "Submit."

All respondents are encouraged to sign up for the ODP email list at http://prevention.nih.gov/subscribe External Website Policy to receive information related to Office activities, including updates on the development and release of the final strategic plan.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary and may be submitted anonymously. Please do not include any personally identifiable or other information that you do not wish to make public. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in responses. Comments submitted will be compiled for discussion and incorporated into the strategic plan as appropriate. Any personal identifiers (personal names, email addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled.

This RFI is for informational and planning purposes only and is not a solicitation for applications or an obligation on the part of the United States (U.S.) Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the U.S. Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for use of that information.

Please select the box that most appropriately describes your interest in prevention research:

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Inquires

Please direct all inquiries to:

Wilma Peterman Cross, M.S.
Deputy Director
Office of Disease Prevention
National Institutes of Health
prevention@mail.nih.gov