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ARRA - Centers of Excellence - (ARRA - COEs) - #93.415

Grant funds may be used by health professions schools to: (1) establish, strengthen, or expand programs to enhance the academic performance of under-represented minority students attending the school; (2) establish, strengthen or expand programs to increase the number and quality of minority applicants to the school; (3) improve the capacity of the school to train, recruit, and retain minority faculty; (4) with respect to minority health issues, to carry out activities to improve the information resources and curricula of the school and clinical education at the school; and (5) facilitate faculty and student research on health issues particularly affecting minority groups.




Applicants should review the individual HRSA funding opportunity announcement issued under this CFDA program for any required proof or certifications which must be submitted prior to or simultaneous with submission of an application package. OMB Circular No. A-87 applies to this program.

The Centers of Excellence have 7 criteria: (1) NEED (20 points) - Tthe extent to which a description of a) the problem, and the associated factors contributing to this problem, b) the need with respect to students, faculty development, and URMs in the health professions, and c) geographic factors, such as the size of the area that will be served, and any regional issues. (2) RESPONSE (40 points) – The extent to which project responds to the “Purpose” included in the program description. This includes the clarity of the proposed goals and objectives and their relationship to the identified project. The extent to which the activities (scientific or other) described in the application are capable of addressing the problem and attaining the project objectives. For Centers of Excellence, the response should focus on the statutory purposes: a) Competitive Applicant Pool: To develop a large competitive applicant pool through linkages with institutions of higher education, local school districts, and other community-based entities and establish an educational pipeline for health professions careers; b) Student Performance: To establish, strengthen, or expand programs to enhance the academic performance of underrepresented minority (URM) students attending the school; c) Faculty Development: To improve the capacity of such schools to train, recruit, and retain URM faculty including payment of such stipends and fellowships as the Secretary may determine is appropriate; d) Information Resources, Clinical Education, Curricula, and Cultural Competence: To carry out activities to improve the information resources, clinical education, curricula and cultural competence of the graduates as they relate to minority health issues; e) Faculty/Student Research: To facilitate faculty and student research on health issues particularly affecting URM groups, including research on issues relating to the delivery of health care; and f) Student Training in Providing Health Care Services: To carry out a program that trains students of the school in providing health care services to a significant number of URMs at community-based health facilities that provide such health care services and are located at a site away from the main teaching facilities of the school. (3) EVALUATIVE MEASURES (10 points) - The effectiveness of the method proposed to monitor and evaluate the project results. Evaluative measures must be able to assess: 1) to what extent the program objectives have been met; and 2) to what extent these can be attributed to the project. (4) IMPACT (5 points) - The extent and effectiveness of the dissemination of the project results, the extent to which the project results may be national in scope, the degree to which the project activities are replicable, and the sustainability of the program beyond the Federal funding. It may include the extent to which disseminating COE project is to the Health Professions Education community regionally or nationally. (5) RESOURCES /CAPABILITIES (10 points) – The extent to which project personnel are qualified by training and/or experience to implement and carry out projects. This includes the capabilities of the applicant organization, and the quality and availability of facilities and personnel to fulfill the needs and requirements of the proposed project. This may include whether the health professions school has a significant number of URM individuals enrolled in the school, including individuals accepted for enrollment in the school, if the school has 100% of their URM students receiving some type of financial assistance. (6) SUPPORT REQUESTED (10 points) - The extent to which the overall budget, including non-trainee expenses, is a) cost effective, reasonable, and consistent with the stated objectives and proposed activities, b) expenditures are well justified, and c) in-kind contributions are documented. (7) CULTURAL COMPETENCE DEVELOPMENT (5 points) – The extent to which the COE demonstrates COE specific courses and/or activities, appropriate to the educational level that develops students’ knowledge and appreciation of the impact of culture on health. Included is how well cultural competence activities facilitate the enhancement of key tools and skills that improve the ability of program participants to effectively communicate and provide services to patients from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.

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