We are excited to announce a call for research proposals to address the unique and complex challenges faced by the elderly population (55 years or older) living in vulnerable situations in Puerto Rico. This call seeks to support projects prioritizing community-engaged research, promoting health equity, fostering diversity and inclusion, and encouraging multisectoral efforts to reduce health disparities.
During 2021-2022 we invited members of isolated communities in Puerto Rico (PR), health practitioners, and service providers to participate in virtual community forums to dialogue with the researchers from the Hispanic Alliance of Clinical and Translational Research (Alliance) about current health priorities (Sánchez et al, 2023). Participants were residents, community leaders, community health practitioners, or service providers of rural areas in PR, including the municipal islands of Culebra and Vieques. As a result, a list of health-related priorities was developed. Read More
Health-related priorities results: Community Forums 2021-2022
Several priorities are relevant to the elderly population experimenting with additional vulnerabilities that intersect their everyday care. Therefore, we are interested in closing the gap for health equity among this increasing subpopulation group. Puerto Rico’s elderly population encompasses a diverse range of individuals, each facing their own set of vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may include extreme poverty, chronic diseases, HIV/AIDS, and experiences related to gender or sexual minority status, among others. Understanding and addressing the intersecting factors that impact their health and well-being is critical.
PR is experiencing profound health disparities in available health services and outcomes. PR, like other United States (US) territories, is relatively invisible in areas of research including healthcare, health policy, and national data systems (Colón & Sánchez-Cesareo, 2016) even though Puerto Rico’s population (3.2 million) is larger than 22 states in the US mainland and is dominantly Caribbean Hispanic. Since the late 1990s, the Island has lived under the burden of an economic crisis, several natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The overlay of the COVID-19 pandemic on these circumstances accentuated the already existing health disparities in our Hispanic community. Within Puerto Rico’s population, the elderly is one of the vulnerable to health disparities. In 2019, 21.3% of the population living in PR were elderly (> 65 years) with 43.3% living in poverty, were isolated, not only geographically but also just by feeling alone, and medically vulnerable due to their chronic diseases (Pagan et al, 2016; Oficina del Procurador de Personas en Edad Avanzada, 2015; Fajardo, 2019). Older generations of gender and sexual minorities encounter additional health disparities in the face of COVID-19 due to isolation, discrimination, and the lack of social services (American Psychological Association, 2020). Isolation for elders has been exacerbated due to the high rate of emigration of their family members who traditionally care for and look out for them. (Visit Health-related priorities results: Community Forums 2021-2022)
SPECIAL PILOT PROJECT DETAILS
We invite research proposals that focus on, but are not limited to, the following areas:
- Multisectoral Collaboration: Promote research projects that engage stakeholders from diverse sectors, including healthcare, social services, community organizations, and government agencies, to develop holistic solutions that address the complex needs of vulnerable elderly populations. Projects must include collaborations among basic, clinical (including behavioral), translational scientists, and/or community-academic partners. Also, collaborations among academic institutions of the Alliance are highly recommended and will be prioritized. Other collaborations with the Alliance partners and community partners are encouraged.
- Health Disparities: Investigate and address health disparities affecting elderly individuals living in vulnerable situations in Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on understanding the root causes and proposing evidence-based interventions.
- Inclusivity and Diversity: Explore how healthcare systems and services can be more inclusive and culturally competent to meet the diverse needs of Puerto Rico’s elderly population, including gender and sexual minorities.
- Chronic Disease Management: Develop strategies to improve the management of chronic diseases among vulnerable elderly individuals, focusing on prevention, treatment, and support. Other conditions relevant to our Hispanic population can be submitted.
- Social Determinants of Health: Investigate the impact of social determinants of health, such as poverty and housing instability, on the well-being of elderly populations and propose interventions to address these factors.
- Researchers, academics, and organizations with a commitment to community engagement, health equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Collaborative projects involving multiple stakeholders from different sectors are strongly encouraged.
- Principal Investigators may be junior faculty (early stage and new investigators) or an established investigator embarking into a new area of clinical and translational research that is different from their previous research. Individuals holding postdoctoral fellowships or other positions that lack independent status are not eligible to lead pilot projects. The PI of the project should not have concurrent research funding from other IDeA Program award mechanisms (e.g., INBRE, COBRE). If a junior faculty is the PI, a committed and experienced mentor for the PI’s career development must be identified. All projects must have a research approach and a career development plan and may not overlap with ongoing funded projects. The career development plan should represent the work between the mentor-mentee. Distant mentoring for special areas of interest is encouraged; however, the PI must have a local mentor and a detailed career development plan.
- If applicable, all mentors/co-mentors must submit a letter of support specifying detailed mentoring activities, and their biosketch.
- Clinical research is strongly encouraged and will be prioritized.
- IRB approval is required before the award. Provide evidence of submission of study to regulatory committees.
Selected projects will receive up to $40,000 in funding grants for one year to support their research efforts. The total funding pool and the duration of each project will be determined based on the quality and scope of the proposals received. Guidelines on funding allocation will be added to the full application web link.
- Proposals should include a detailed research plan, budget and budget narrative justification, timeline, and a description of community engagement and multi-sectorial collaboration strategies. Additional attachments required include:
- Please submit your proposals by December 1st, 2023
- For any inquiries or clarification about the submission, please contact Dr. Edna Acosta Pérez or call 787-672-0670.
All submitted proposals will undergo a rigorous review process by a panel of experts in the field. Selection will be based on the potential impact, alignment with the call’s objectives, community engagement, multi-sectorial collaboration, and feasibility.
|September 27, 2023||Open Call for Proposals|
|October 27, 2023||Deadline for Letter of Intent (not required) The letter of intent should include: the project title, purpose or aim, target population, focus area, and collaborators. SUBMIT LETTER OF INTENT|
|November 7, 2023||(8 am – 11 am) ZOOM informative sessions and consultations.REGISTER|
|November 8, 2023||(12 pm – 3 pm) ZOOM informative sessions and consultations. REGISTER|
|December 1, 2023||Proposal submission deadline: Submit a complete application and all required documents and evidence. Any applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed.|
|December 21, 2023||Provide evidence of submission of study to regulatory committees (IRB) before award announcement.|
|December 2-21, 2023||Evaluation Process|
|December 22, 2023||Announcement of award|
|January 2024||Expected earliest date to start|
|January – December 2024||Award Period|
Any applications received after December 1, 2023, will not be reviewed
This call for proposals represents a significant opportunity to contribute to the well-being of Puerto Rico’s elderly population facing additional vulnerabilities. We encourage researchers and organizations to join efforts and apply for funding for this critical endeavor, which emphasizes health equity, diversity, inclusion, and multisectoral efforts in addressing health disparities among our elderly citizens.
We look forward to receiving your innovative proposals and working together to create positive change in the lives of those who need it most.