Alert

Application period is now closed.

The CTSI and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS) are partnering to develop and test interventions to enhance quality, efficiency and patient-centeredness of care provided by the LAC DHS.

The UCLA CTSI and LAC DHS are committed to fostering the professional development of clinician-investigators and translational scientists as they strive to close the knowledge-to-practice gap in our regional healthcare delivery systems. This solicitation requests letters of intent that describe ideas for such projects. More detailed applications for funding will be solicited from a subset of the submitted intent letters.

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Description of the Funding Opportunity

UCLA CTSI and DHS intend to issue one pilot grant of up to $150,000 for up to two years to support the design and small scale implementation of interventions within DHS that will achieve the goals of quality, efficiency and patient centered care. DHS will provide operational support for the selected projects. The partners intend to support scientific endeavors that provide value to DHS within the project period and generate results that enable project teams to seek extramural funding for larger scale implementation or further application of the strategies tested in the project.  Acceptable funding mechanisms that applicant teams can seek to pursue include, but are not limited to, NIH R01, R21, R03; PCORI, AHRQ, CDC, and CMS Center for Innovation.

This RFA focuses on implementation, which refers to the systematic uptake of proven clinical treatments, practices, organizational, and management interventions into routine practice with the intent of improving health. The expected impact of this program on the DHS system includes impact on patients (e.g., increased access, improved experience, better health outcomes or reduced health disparities) and impact on efficiency (e.g., improving efficiency of outpatient care, reducing use of unnecessary diagnostic testing).

Examples of healthcare impact measures include, but are not limited to, use of group visits; selective and targeted use of synchronous telehealth, especially for distant clinics/patients; optimized clinic staffing, space, and patient volume/complexity; specialty to primary care transitions after consultation; specialty chronic disease management. Examples of reducing testing include but are not limited to: applications with low specificity or low predictive value, for example: certain radiology tests (e.g., for back pain, headaches, total body scans, abdominal pain); certain lab tests (e.g., for rare or unusual conditions); sleep studies; echocardiograms.

The program is designed to support projects that: 

  • Test a solution for a bona fide problem within healthcare;
  • Test solution(s) aligned with the DHS’s specific infrastructure, business approach and operations;
  • Involve broad participation across sites and disciplines; and
  • Focus on effectiveness (i.e., whether the intervention works in real-life), as opposed to efficacy. 

This program does NOT support projects that:

  • Seek to only measure or understand a problem or solution
  • Are proposed as theoretically good ideas
  • Involve a single discipline or single hospital or clinic
  • Focus on efficacy (whether the intervention works under controlled conditions)

The proposed study design should suit the specific problem and align with DHS priorities and guidelines for the RFA. Viable approaches/methods to consider include behavioral economics, design thinking, systems engineering, improvement science, and implementation science. We encourage team science in which people come together from different disciplines. We also encourage disruptive innovation, by which we mean introducing new, innovative ideas for approaches to care delivery that fundamentally transform aspects of how care is delivered and that are well suited to the population that DHS serves.

Awards will be made to research teams consisting of investigators from UCLA working closely with investigators and staff members from DHS at Harbor and Olive View to design and conduct proposed projects. Multisite collaboration is strongly encouraged. All UCLA faculty members in any series (tenured/non-tenured) including adjunct and professional research series may apply.

We are pleased to offer an invitation-only workshop and feedback session, which will be open only to selected investigators who have submitted an LOI. This planning workshop will be held in late April as a virtual meeting to enable maximum participation, with the option to view a recording at a later date. Content experts from the funding partners at UCLA CTSI and LAC DHS will be available to provide additional guidance and consultations on project ideas, and assessment of each proposed project’s adherence to the Implementation Science program’s aims. The workshop agenda will also include brief remarks by the sponsors and an opportunity for networking with other investigators and DHS staff. All project team members and collaborators are encouraged to attend. While attendance at the planning workshop is strongly encouraged, attendance is not a prerequisite to proceeding with submitting a full application, if invited.

Applicants should submit a brief LOI that describes:

  1. The challenge in DHS health care that they propose to address [100 words max]
  2. The intervention or approach that they propose to develop and pilot test [100 words max]
  3. The expertise proposed for the project, including the names and expertise of the PI and known co-investigators as well as any additional areas of expertise that will be required [no limit]
  4. The expected impact of the intervention on quality, efficiency and patient centeredness of care within DHS [100 words max]
  5. Letter of Support from relevant DHS stakeholders or working group

LOIs will be reviewed by representatives of the UCLA CTSI and LAC DHS for potential to improve quality, efficiency and patient centeredness of care within the LAC DHS delivery system. Applicants should describe how the proposed research contributes to DHS delivery system goals, and its potential for/relevance to large-scale implementation within DHS and dissemination of findings more broadly. Projects that adhere to the criteria outlined above will be most strongly considered to proceed with a full proposal. 

LOIs will be chosen for further consideration within two weeks of LOI submission. At that time, selected applicants will receive information on the planning workshop held in late April. Representatives from the participating CTSIs and DHS will be available at the workshop and outside of it to advise applicants as they assemble research teams and identify enabling resources (e.g., access to EHR) that will be needed for their proposed projects.

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About UCLA CTSI

The UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is a research partnership of UCLA, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Its mission is to bring biomedical innovations to bear on the greatest health needs of Los Angeles—one of the most ethnically and economically diverse counties in the United States. Our vision is to catalyze research that translates discoveries into tangible improvements in health care, disease prevention and health in our community. The UCLA CTSI is one of more than 50 research hubs supported by the Clinical and Translational Sciences Award (CTSA) program of National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). NCATS—one of 27 Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—was established to transform the translational process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.