2024 CEHC Health Communication Grant

Vanderbilt Center for Effective Health Communication (CEHC)

The Center for Effective Health Communication (CEHC) supports health communication research, education, and practice to improve patients’ knowledge, self-management, and health outcomes. Health Communication is a broad field that includes health literacy, numeracy, risk communication, medical decision making, patient centered communication, cross-cultural communication, and other related areas. 

The CEHC Health Communication Research Grant Program will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of research projects or training activities that involve health communication. The goal of these pilot grants is to foster additional health communication research at VUMC that will ultimately benefit patient management and outcomes.

This program will support up to 1 research project with up to $10,000. The guidelines below describe the application process and eligibility criteria.



Health Communication Research Grants are intended to support discrete research projects that can be completed in a 12-month timeframe, starting July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. These grants are not intended to supplement already funded research projects, unless it is to add a new element related to health communication.

Examples of suitable topics:

  • Pilot testing the effect of a health communication intervention on patient outcomes
  • Qualitative study on patient/family medical decision making
  • Secondary data analysis to determine the effect of health literacy and/or numeracy on outcomes
  • Evaluation of a health professional communication skills training program
  • Survey of patients/families with limited English proficiency to determine unmet healthcare needs
  • Obtaining preliminary research data for an extramural grant application is encouraged

Funding up to $10,000 may be used for research staff, subject compensation, production of materials, or consulting services from a VUMC core. Travel to conduct research methods or present findings at a relevant conference is allowed, with a limit of $1,200. If you are planning to present findings at a conference, please keep in mind that you will need to have an abstract accepted to the conference by June 30, 2025.  Faculty effort is not an allowable expense. All funded projects must be completed within 12 months of award, by June 30, 2025.

All faculty, staff, and students at VUMC are eligible to apply. Trainees may apply to serve as the principal investigator but must have a faculty mentor from VUMC who is actively involved with the project.

The submission deadline is June 3, 2024.

Review criteria will include significance of the research topic, scientific rigor of the approach, innovation, and potential impact of the project.  Award decisions will be made by a review committee and announcements will be sent to the awardees by July 1, 2024.


How to apply:

There are 3 parts to the submission process:

  1. Complete a short REDCap form at this link: REDCap Proposal Submission Form.
  2. Prepare a brief budget (template is provided at the link above) and attach it to the REDCap form.
  3. Prepare a research proposal and attach it to the REDCap form.

REDCap form: Asks for the name of the PI, mentor (if applicable), co-investigators, and other personnel, as well as a brief narrative bio of the PI (and mentor if applicable).

Budget: Itemize using the form provided, providing a very brief description or justification for each item.

Proposal: Include the sections detailed below. The proposal should NOT EXCEED 4 PAGES in 12-point type, single spaced. It should be submitted as a Word or pdf document as an attachment in the REDCap form.

Proposal format:

  1. Title of Project
  2. Brief overview and objectives: Why are you undertaking this project?  What health communication concern or research question do you hope to address using this grant funding?
  3. Project plan:  
  • Background
  • Research question(s) and hypotheses
  • Methods – Include study design, setting, description of study participants, intervention (if applicable), outcome measures, and analysis plan
  • Innovation
  • Anticipated outcomes – What will the project accomplish if successful? Will it lead to future research, programs, or patient benefit?
  • Timeline – Grant activities must be completed within 10 months of award.

Other responsibilities of the PI:

A PI may submit only one proposal. At the beginning of the project, the PI is required to participate in a Kick-off meeting. Members of the CEHC faculty will serve as panel members to provide additional input on the project design and implementation. The interdisciplinary CEHC faculty includes nationally recognized physician-scientists, nurse-researchers, health psychologists, and educational researchers.

An interim progress report is due approximately 6 months from the start date, January 2025. final report is due at the end of the funding period, June 30, 2025, and should include a description of future plans relevant to the proposal. The PI will be invited to present the project findings at a CEHC research forum

For any questions, please email Dr. Erin Bergner at erin.m.bergner@vumc.org  or Dr. Kerri Cavanaugh at kerri.cavanaugh@vumc.org.