CHSR Research Grants

Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research
RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM | call for applications

The Center for Health Services Research (CHSR) supports research to develop, implement, and evaluate interdisciplinary solutions to improve health care delivery, equity of care, and health outcomes for patients, families, and the community.

We are pleased to announce a new CHSR Research Grant Program to support research projects that advance equity in health care. This proposal cycle solicits applications that address the use of race in diagnostic tests and clinical algorithms for risk assessment, diagnosis, or treatment. Our goal is to foster research aimed at eliminating racial bias in clinical practices that may result from the use of biased formulas and algorithms, a form of structural racism.


CHSR Research Grants are intended to support discrete research projects that can be completed in a 12-month timeframe of July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. This program will support up to 2 research projects with up to $10,000 per award. These grants are not intended to supplement already funded research projects, unless it is to add a new element related to the use of race in clinical algorithms or diagnostic tests. 

Examples of suitable research topics are provided below, each of which may be relevant to a specific clinical algorithm or diagnostic test that adjusts for race. A partial list of algorithms/tests that use a race variable has been compiled by Vyas et al., N Engl J Med 2020; 383:874-882.
•    Effect of the race parameter on classification of patient status and clinical decision-making
•    Patient, provider, or researcher perspectives regarding the use or implications of race in algorithms/tests
•    Provider or patient preferences for communication or shared decision-making of test results or changes in race-based algorithms/tests 
•    Alternative approaches to inclusion of race in algorithms/tests, including alternate measures, algorithms, or prediction models
•    Barriers and facilitators to de-implementation of race-based algorithms/tests
•    Pilot testing of interventions to improve communication of results or treatment decisions

Funding up to $10,000 may be used for research staff, participant compensation, production of materials, related research expenses, services from a VUMC/VU core, or publication costs. Travel to conduct research or present findings at a relevant conference is allowed, with a limit of $1,200 and within the award year. Faculty effort is not an allowable expense. All funded projects must be completed within 12 months of award, by June 30, 2022. 

All faculty, staff, and students at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University, and Meharry Medical College are eligible to apply. Trainees may apply to serve as the principal investigator but must have a faculty mentor who is actively involved with the project. 

The submission deadline is May 17, 2021 - 11:59 pm CDT.

Review criteria will include significance of the research topic, scientific rigor of the approach, innovation, and potential impact of the project. Applications that seek to develop preliminary data for an extramural grant submission are encouraged. NIH is launching new initiatives to end structural racism in health care, in addition to its longstanding funding opportunities in health disparities and health equity. Award decisions will be made by a review committee and announcements will be sent to the awardees in late June 2021.

There are 3 parts to the submission process:

1.)    Complete a short REDCap form at this link:
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, project title, and brief project description, 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 11-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 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 12 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 CHSR faculty will serve as panel members to provide additional input on the project design and implementation. 

An interim progress report is due approximately 6 months from the start date.  A final report is due at the end of the funding period and should include a description of future plans relevant to the proposal. The PI will be invited to present the project findings at a CHSR research seminar. The PI should also submit a research abstract to a relevant national conference or manuscript to a suitable peer-reviewed journal upon completion of the project.

For any questions, please email Robyn Tamboli at