NOSI: Emergency Competitive Revisions for Social, Ethical, and Behavioral Implications (SEBI) on COVID-19 Testing Among Underserved and/or Vulnerable Populations

Program Description

NIMHD supports this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI), which highlights the urgent need to understand the social, ethical, and behavioral implications (SEBI) of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing among underserved and/or vulnerable populations* across the United States and its territories. This NOSI will provide Emergency Competitive Revisions to active eligible grants and cooperative agreements to identify, analyze, and address the social, ethical, and behavioral factors likely to influence access and uptake of COVID-19 testing in underserved and/or vulnerable populations. Project findings will be used to develop interventions to mitigate barriers to access within these populations and increase uptake of testing.

COVID-19 diagnostic testing programs in underserved and/or vulnerable populations must design communication strategies, consent materials, data governance plans, processes of returning results, and informational and referral resources that are responsive to the communities they will serve. NIMHD supports supplements that focus on assessing how ethical, historical, healthcare, social, economic, and contextual factors surrounding COVID-19 testing, as well as cultural beliefs and attitudes, expectations, and preferences for testing and test results, influence the ability and willingness to get tested.

This NOSI is one of four related Phase I Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) initiative funding opportunities. Funded projects will collaborate as part of a RADx-UP consortium led by a Coordination and Data Collection Center (CDCC) (RFA-OD-20-013). This consortium will serve as a resource for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and future public health pandemic outreach and mitigation activities. Investigators should plan to actively coordinate and share data (where allowed) with other grantees, the CDCC, and other research support by the RADx-UP program, including the Testing Research Projects detailed in NOSIs NOT-OD-20-120 and NOT-OD-20-121. Researchers applying to this NOSI are strongly encouraged to read all four of these interrelated funding opportunities.

SEBI projects should work closely with communities and are expected to specify strategies to address social determinants of health (SDOH) that present barriers to participation in testing and follow-up. NIMHD highly encourages studies that move away from an exclusively "top-down" approach by emphasizing collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, including community partners and leaders, and leveraging existing partnerships to enhance COVD-19 testing. Community-based participatory research practices should be used throughout the research process.

Projects are strongly encouraged to use the SDOH Collection of the PhenX Toolkit, and the NIH Public Emergency and Disaster Research Response (DR2). To the extent possible, data acquisition, collection, and curation strategies should be coordinated with the CDCC guidance for annotation and benchmarking of data, including obtaining appropriate consent for data sharing. Funded researchers will be strongly encouraged to share their survey items to make them public for other researchers to consider by submitting their surveys to

For the full list of key research topics of interest and questions related this NOSI, please consult the NOSI announcement.

*NIH-designated U.S. populations experiencing health disparities include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities.

For the purpose of this FOA, medically and/or socially vulnerable populations also include people who are: residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities; community-dwelling older adults; individuals with intellectual, developmental, sensory, or physical disabilities, cognitive impairment or dementia, or communication disorders; homeless populations; individuals involved with the criminal or juvenile justice systems (incarcerated or under community supervision); individuals with medical comorbidities known to increase risk of severe COVID-19, including heart failure and related cardiovascular conditions, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, obesity, HIV/AIDS; pregnant and post-partum women; children and adolescents; individuals living in congregate housing such as shelters or residential treatment facilities; individuals in overcrowded or public housing; individuals with substance use disorders or serious mental illness; migrant and immigrant populations; residents of tribal lands or reservations; communities exposed to high rates of air pollution or other toxic exposures; and rural and remote communities.

NIH Guide No.: NOT-OD-20-119

Page updated Jan. 12, 2024