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2011 Request for Proposals

Outreach to Under-Connected Health Organizations -- Revised Announcement!

Providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information is a major focus of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) mission. The NN/LM Pacific Northwest Region (NN/LM PNR) regional office at the University of Washington, under contract with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), seeks to develop, implement, and evaluate targeted outreach programs to bring biomedical information resources within easy reach of the health professionals in our region who still do not have access.

To accomplish this goal requires participation by Network members throughout the region. In supporting outreach to "under-connected" health organizations by Network members, the NN/LM PNR regional office hopes to encourage high quality health information access by, and deliver high quality health information to, underserved health professionals and community members.

During the 2011-2013 NN/LM contract years, the NN/LM PNR regional office anticipates making two subcontract awards for outreach to under-connected health organizations, offered in this announcement and funded at up to $25,000.

Any Network member in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington is invited to submit an application in response to this Request for Proposals for Outreach to Under-Connected Health Organizations. (Membership is free, and open to any institution, library, or community-based organization with a health information mission).

All applicants for this award should consult the Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Series available through the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center.

Proposal applications should describe plans to increase high quality health information access by:

  • organizations of public health workers and/or health professionals in inner cities or rural areas - or -
  • organizations serving populations that suffer disproportionately from health disparities.

Emphasis should be on identifying and conducting outreach to under-connected organizations that are:

Applicants should seek to promote:

  • upgraded and maintained technology access for the targeted under-connected organizations;
  • the effective use of evidence-based health information resources by these organizations.

A thorough assessment of the needs and assets of under-connected organizations and priority health professionals shapes the design of successful outreach projects. Assessment and planning should be developed with input from Regional Extension Centers (RECs) and the HITECH Community College Consortia in Region A.

Key participants in under-connected organizations should include health IT staff as well as salaried employees dedicated to providing access to health information resources (e.g., health educators, outreach workers, caseworkers, community advocates).

It is expected that the work carried out will:

  • encourage Network members to share their expertise and resources with under-connected health organizations not normally reached;
  • test solutions to identified health information needs of health professionals who are not affiliated with Network member libraries;
  • strengthen the role of health information and health literacy promotion in the delivery of health care;
  • increase use of current and emerging technologies, and the effective use of evidence-based health information resources in electronic health records (EHRs), by under-connected health organizations served by Regional Extension Centers (RECs);
  • develop or support local or regional partnerships with RECs and community college health IT programs;
  • promote awareness and use of the services, products and resources of NLM and the NN/LM, as well as other quality online health information resources, by health professionals and health care consumers.

Eligibility:

  • Applicant must be a Network member.
  • Applicant or partner agency must have expertise with PubMed and other NLM resources.
  • Funding: The NN/LM PNR regional office anticipates funding two projects to conduct outreach to under-connected health organizations, for up to $25,000 during the 2011-2013 NN/LM contract years. The applicant must have the ability to set up an account for the project and obtain the project funds from the NN/LM PNR on a cost reimbursement basis, via invoices to the University of Washington.
  • Period of Performance: Applicant should understand that the period of performance will be for an agreed upon period of time, no more than 12 months, between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.
  • Submission deadlines:
    • Indicate your intent to apply by contacting Cathy Burroughs by July 1, 2011 (telephone: 206-543-9261, or 800-338-7657 within AK, ID, MT, OR, WA; email: nnlm@u.washington.edu).
    • Proposal applications must be received no later than August 26, 2011, via email attachment to Cathy Burroughs, NN/LM PNR Associate Director, cburroug@u.washington.edu.

Proposal applications will be reviewed by NN/LM PNR staff and selected outside reviewers (see Factors to Be Used in Evaluation of Proposal Applications, below). Applicants will be notified of the award decision in September 2011, to accommodate a start date close to the beginning of October 2011.

The awardee will be expected to report on, share and disseminate results of the project (see Reporting Requirements, below).

The following statement is required to be included in this solicitation to comply with regulations for annual appropriation of federal funds:

All awards issued under the NLM Contract with University of Washington are subject to the Government's availability of funds in compliance of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.232-18, Availability of Funds. No legal liability on the part of the Government for any payment may arise until funds are made available to the Contracting Officer for this contract and until the Contractor receives notice of such availability, to be confirmed in writing by the Contracting Officer.

For more information, contact:

Cathy Burroughs, Associate Director, cburroug@u.washington.edu
Telephone: 206-543-9261, or 800-338-7657 within AK, ID, MT, OR, WA

Proposal Application Instructions and Dates:

Proposal applications are to be based on the outline provided below (Proposal Application Format), and must be submitted via email attachment to Cathy Burroughs, Associate Director, cburroug@u.washington.edu no later than August 26 , 2011. Please indicate your intent to apply by contacting Cathy Burroughs by July 1, 2011 (telephone: 206-543-9261, or 800-338-7657 within AK, ID, MT, OR, WA; email: nnlm@u.washington.edu). Applicants will be notified of the award decision in October 2011, and the actual start date will be negotiated at the time of award.

Cost Instructions:

Total costs must not exceed $25,000.

The allowable performance period for this award is 12 months, from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012.

Funding will be processed on a cost reimbursement basis via the applicant's invoices to the University of Washington.

Food and furniture costs are not allowed.

If mobile technology or computer hardware is proposed, please be prepared to submit the following upon approval of the award:

  • For technology or computer hardware purchases under $3,000 per item: Submit copies of catalog pricing (a price included in a catalog, price list, schedule or other form that is regularly maintained by the manufacturer or vendor, is either published or otherwise made available for inspection by customers, and states prices at which sales are currently made to the general public).
  • For technology or computer hardware purchases of $3,000 or more per item: Submit three (3) vendor quotes (valid preferably for 60 days, minimum of 30 days). Quotes may include General Service Administration (GSA) price lists (refer to the GSA web site for more information).
  • For personal appeal items such as cameras, MP3 players, smartphones and laptop computers, the proposal application must address the following:
    • Purpose: There is legitimate purpose for the items, and use of the items by the awardee will be managed in accordance with institutional policy.
    • Appropriate Use: Items will not be used in any way that would discredit the NN/LM, NLM or the National Institutes of Health, or the applicable institution.
    • Cost Effectiveness: Demonstrate that requested items are cost effective and appropriate. For example, will generic brands satisfy the minimum requirements? If not, the proposal application must 1) state why it is necessary to purchase branded products, and 2) describe the benefits of brand name products. How will the items further the NN/LM mission and achieve the objectives of the contract?

As stated above, vendor quotes are necessary to determine price reasonableness for purchases of $3,000 or more per item. The absence of competitive quotes must be documented and justified.

Development of Training Materials:

Recipients of NN/LM funding are expected to use or adapt existing training materials before developing new materials. Consult the Medical Library Association (MLA) Educational Clearinghouse prior to developing materials. Training materials developed as part of the award should be submitted to the MLA Educational Clearinghouse.

Section 508 Compliance:

If a website is developed under this award, the website must comply with Section 508 requirements. Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. Compliance resources include the National Library of Medicine Web Applications/Site Development Guidelines and the Section 508 Standards Summary.

Statement from NLM regarding Section 508: "The Department of Health and Human Services synopsis of Section 508 accessibility requirements, requires that all Federal agencies make all electronic and information technology (EIT) that they develop, maintain or use compliant with Section 508. EIT purchases made on or after June 25, 2001, are subject to Section 508. Federal regulations and guidelines (e.g., Section 501 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act) require equal access for individuals with disabilities. Therefore, Federal agencies are required, upon request, to provide information and data to individuals with disabilities through an alternative means of access that can be used by the individuals. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recipients of NLM funding through the NN/LM must also meet these requirements."

Publication and Publicity:

The awardee shall acknowledge the support of NLM whenever publicizing the work accomplished under this subcontract in any media, by including the following statement of acknowledgment: "This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under Contract No. HHS-N-276-2011-00008-C with the University of Washington."

NIH Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research:

The National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH-funded research. As of April 7, 2008, the policy requires that final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts resulting from projects funded (in whole or in part) by NIH be submitted to the digital archive PubMed Central (PMC) upon acceptance for publication. To help advance science and improve human health, the Policy requires that these papers are accessible to the public on PMC no later than 12 months after publication. The NIH Public Access site should be consulted for additional information.

Proposal Application Format:

Proposal applications should adhere to the following format.

  1. Cover Sheet:
    On a separate page the Cover Sheet should include:
    - Project title
    - Date of submission
    - Name of institution submitting proposal application
    - Primary contact person (postal and e-mail addresses, voice and fax telephone numbers)
    - Indication that the proposing institution is a member of the NN/LM PNR
  2. Statement of Work:
    Please address all sections of the Statement of Work with as much detail as necessary to present the proposed project clearly and completely.

    Prepare the Statement of Work based on the following outline:

    A. One-Paragraph Summary Statement of the proposed project.

    B. Target Population: Describe the general population (characteristics, demographics, health issues) and geographic area to be covered by the project. In addition, describe the specific target group (include numbers and types of health care professionals and/or consumers or intermediaries), and estimate how many in the target group the project expects to reach.

    C. Identification of Needs and Assets:
    Explain why there is a need for information outreach to the target population. Describe information resources already available, what is needed, and any barriers to access. Draw from any known needs assessments, formal or otherwise, that may be relevant and other sources of data that support the needs and assets statements. Include input from members of the target audience about their information use patterns, needs and barriers, and what might improve the situation. For more information on needs assessments, see publications of the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center, in particular Getting Started with Community-Based Outreach pdf icon, and Stage 1: Conducting a Community Assessment pdf icon from Measuring the Difference. If assessment data is weak or lacking, consider a planning award as a preliminary step.

    D. Outcomes-Based Project Plan and Logic Model:
    The outcomes-based project plan is a key section of the proposal application that describes five project components: the project goal, the project's short- and long-term outcomes; project activities; project outputs; and project resources. Each of these project components is defined below, and should be addressed in a detailed narrative.

    i. Goal: Begin with a statement about the overall goal of the project. This statement expresses, in general terms, what you plan to accomplish. The goal should be related to the identified needs. One way to approach this: if you are planning a trip, you begin by identifying why you want to take the trip (the "need" for the trip) and then decide on your destination (your goal). For example, suppose your needs assessment identifies some public health workers who have problems finding information they need. An example goal might be: "To increase satisfaction of public health workers in being able to find and access health information."

    ii. Short- and Long-Term Outcomes: Provide specific outcomes that you (and collaborating partners) believe the project will have. To envision outcomes, think about the types of short- and long- term benefits that you expect will result. Short-term outcomes typically describe benefits to individual project participants. For example, a short-term outcome might be increased awareness among public health workers about online health information resources. Long-term outcomes typically describe community, organizational or system-level changes. An example of a long-term outcome might be increased options for public health workers to access information at the point of need.

    iii. Activities: Describe the kinds of products, services or strategies you will produce or carry out to achieve your goals and outcomes. Be specific about what will be done to achieve the stated goals and outcomes.

    iv. Outputs: List the numbers of products, materials or services that you plan to produce or perform in carrying out your project activities.

    v. Resources: List what you will require to carry out the project - staff, partners, teaching labs, finances, technology, training materials, etc.

    Discuss the relationship of the proposed project to any work already in progress, and any possible problems or unusual circumstances that might be encountered.

    It may not be realistic to reach long-term outcomes by the end of the 12-month performance period, but please suggest ways to sustain project momentum toward long-term outcomes after the project completion date.

    To accompany the narrative, include a chart (sometimes called a logic model) that provides a brief summary of the five project components (Goal, Resources, Activities, Outputs, and Short- and Long-Term Outcomes). Logic models help to clarify relationships between the project components, and are meant to provide an overall view of the project plan. Think of a logic model as a map that you develop to clarify and communicate what your project intends to do and the presumed outcomes.

    There is no single correct way to develop a logic model; the order and/or types of categories in logic models will vary. For the purpose of this proposal, please complete a logic model according to the example and associated planning worksheet provided in "Develop an Outcomes-based Project Plan", Step One, pages 2-6 of Including Evaluation in Outreach Project Planning pdf icon (Booklet 2 of the Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Series).

    Blank logic model planning worksheet pdf icon

    E. Evaluation Planning: In this section, draft a plan for evaluating the outcomes and process of your project. To do this, first identify a list of possible indicators for each short-term and long-term outcome in your logic model. Using these indicators, develop two or three (maximum) outcome objectives. Describe a plan of action for evaluating each objective, including data sources, evaluation methods, and data collection timing. In addition, suggest ideas for ways to 1) monitor the degree to which you implement your outreach plan, and 2) assess the quality of your activities and strategies.

    For detailed guidance and worksheets for evaluation planning, see the following from Booklet 2 of the Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects Series, Including Evaluation in Outreach Project Planning:

    - Step Two, "Develop an Outcomes Assessment Plan" pdf icon, pages 7-10, and accompanying Blank Worksheet 2. pdf icon

    - Step Four, "Develop a Process Assessment Plan" pdf icon, pages 11-12, and accompanying Blank Worksheet 4. pdf icon

    F. Partnerships: Identify and describe the institutions or organizations that will be partnering in the project. Describe the populations they serve, their role and level of participation in the project, and their health information/library resources. Letters from these organizations confirming their expectations for the collaboration should be included in your submission. Also include a letter from the applicant institution indicating support of staff involvement in your project. Describe any previous collaborative projects among the organizations involved.

    G. Personnel and Facilities: Describe the project personnel, including a summary of their qualifications and a description of their responsibilities as they relate to this project. Current curriculum vitae for key staff should be attached and should include any experience and training in use of NLM resources (PubMed, MedlinePlus, etc.) as relevant to the project. Also describe the facilities and resources that will be made available to the project.

    H. Schedule: Provide a timeline and a schedule conforming to your stated period of performance (of no more than 12 months) for the delivery of items specified in your statement of work.

    I. Other Funding: Provide a statement of any other funding currently received from NLM and/or NN/LM PNR.

  3. Attachments to Include:

    - Curriculum vitae of key personnel
    - Letters of support from partnering institution(s)/organization(s)
    - Budget form (see below) and narrative budget justification
    - Other relevant information to support the Statement of Work

  4. Budget:
    Use the budget form linked here as a template. Submit an itemized budget form with costs clearly indicated. A brief narrative justification for each expense category is required and should accompany the budget form. Note that food may not be included. The following budget categories may be used:

    - Salaries
    - Benefits
    - Equipment
    - Supplies
    - Travel
    - Other costs (e.g. postage, telephones, Internet access, database access, shipping, photocopying/printing, miscellaneous exhibit or training site costs)
    - Total Direct Costs (TDC): The sum of the above
    - Modified Total Direct Costs: (MTDC): TDC minus equipment costs
    - Indirect Cost (IDC) is allowable using your institution's negotiated rate, with the MTDC as the base of calculation
    - Total Costs: The sum of TDC and IDC (Note: Total Costs should not exceed $25,000)

Reporting Requirements:

Quarterly and final reports will be entered and submitted by the awardee using the Outreach Application and Online Contract Reports System. Users of the System must first create an account before reports can be submitted; the NN/LM PNR regional office will provide the awardee with a reporting toolkit and support. The following reporting is required:

A. A revised logic model and evaluation plan, finalized with input from project stakeholders, are due within three months of the project's start date. (Reference D. Outcomes-Based Project Plan and Logic Model, and E. Evaluation Planning, under Proposal Application Format/2. Statement of Work, above.)

B. Quarterly Reports: Description of activities during the reporting quarter and those planned for the next quarter, including progress toward major objectives, problems encountered and steps taken to resolve them, evaluation activities and significant feedback. Outreach Activity and Exhibit Report forms are also due with the Quarterly Reports. The NN/LM PNR regional office will provide a toolkit with links to all reporting forms.

C. Final Report: Content for the final report will include (but not be limited to): Executive Summary, Approaches and Interventions Used, Evaluation, Problems or Barriers Encountered, Impact, and Lessons Learned. The final report should be submitted within 30 days of the last day of the performance period. The NN/LM PNR regional office will supply an outline and guide for final reporting.

D. Dragonfly article: You will be required to submit a brief description of the project to be shared with Network members via the NN/LM PNR blog Dragonfly.

E. Recipients of NN/LM funding are strongly encouraged to consider publishing results from NN/LM funded projects in journals that make their contents freely available on the Web. If results are accepted for publication, the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy requests that authors submit an electronic version of the final manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC), the NIH/National Library of Medicine's digital archive. This policy applies to projects supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The PMC archive will permanently preserve these manuscripts for use by the public, health care providers, educators, scientists, and NIH. For additional information see Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research.

Factors to Be Used in Evaluation of Proposal Applications:

Proposal applications will be evaluated by selected outside reviewers and NN/LM PNR staff. Requests for clarification and revision may be made to the applicant as determined by the reviewers. Proposal applications will be forwarded to the NN/LM National Network Office at the National Library of Medicine for final approval.

The following criteria, based on the contents of the Statement of Work, will be used to evaluate proposal applications. The relative weights assigned the criteria will be used in scoring.

  1. Target Population: Target population is well defined and is centered on health professionals without adequate access to health information. Clear understanding of population characteristics and demographics is evidenced. 10 points
  2. Statement of Needs and Assets: Information needs and preferences of the target population, and barriers as well as available resources, are understood and well described. There is evidence of audience involvement in determining needs and assets. 15 points
  3. Outcomes-Based Project Plan: Goals and outcomes are reasonable and at least some are sustainable. Applicant has a clear, well designed plan described in a narrative, with an accompanying logic model. Approach to accomplishing plans reflects a realistic awareness of the target population and is ambitious yet feasible. 20 points
  4. Evaluation Planning: Plans are described to evaluate outcomes objectives and to monitor extent and quality of project activities, services and/or products. Plans include identification of indicators, data sources, and data collection timelines. 15 points
  5. Partnerships: There is evidence of engagement of appropriate entities in planning, conducting, and/or assessing the project. Description of planned partnerships is adequate. Letters of support are compelling. Intent and understanding of roles are clear. 15 points
  6. Personnel and Facilities: Qualified staff and organizational resources are adequate to assure likelihood of successful completion of the project. Documentation includes appropriate letters of support and resumes of key personnel. 15 points
  7. Budget Plan and Schedule: Budget is reasonable and sufficient to accomplish the project. Budget is complete, clear, and well justified. Timeline and schedule are reasonable and well thought out. 10 points
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