National Network of Libraries of Medicine
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Health Literacy Project Award

Description of Award

Funding is currently closed. New opportunities will open in early 2018 for projects starting May 14, 2018.

The goal of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is to advance the progress of medicine, improve public health by providing U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information, and improve individual's access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The NNLM is vital in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) outreach efforts to health professionals and the public to increase awareness of, facilitate access to, and provide training in the use of NLM's web-based information resources


The purpose of the Health Literacy Project Award is to fund projects that promote a culture of health literacy within the organization. Projects should embody the Ten Attributes of Health Literate Health Care Organizations.  Examples of what may be done to achieve health literacy may be found on the CDC’s site for culture and health literacy, as well as in the AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit.

Organizations and libraries can explore a variety of options for designing projects for this award such as holding workshops, inviting speakers, and/or conducting focused interviews of stakeholders. Projects must incorporate the use of National Library of Medicine resources appropriate for health information literacy for the target population(s) such as:

MAR staff is available for consultation on project ideas and training on applicable National Library of Medicine resources. Please contact Michelle Burda to schedule.


Network members in the Middle Atlantic Region (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) are eligible to apply. 

Resources for Planning a Proposal:

  • All proposals must incorporate outcomes-based evaluation, assessment and metrics for the project. Consult NN/LM MAR or the NNLM Evaluation Office (NEO) website for publications and resources to assist with overall project planning and evaluation.

    • Award recipients conducting certain NNLM activities will be asked to collect specific information and report it at the end of the project using forms provided by the NNLM. If your project includes training, technology improvement, exhibiting/health fairs, or professional development activities, you will need to report this standard information. Please refer to the NNLM Evaluation Office’s NNLM Evaluation Materials web page for the type of information you will need to report. For the proposal, explain how and when you will use the NNLM forms to collect the information, and include any additional evaluation that you are planning for the project. 


Funding Period: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 to Monday, April 30, 2018
Up to $15,000
Number of Awards Available: 
Minimum of 2
Additional Funding Information: 

Awards are cost-reimbursable and are issued to the institution and not an individual. 

  • For project proposals anticipated to need more than 11.5 months, applicants are encouraged to stage their projects as separate projects to span up to 23.5 months as follows:
    • Project 1:  Period of Performance: January 2, 2018 - April 30, 2018. Apply for Project 1 now.
    • Project 2:  Period of Performance: May 1, 2018 - April 30, 2019. Apply for Project 2 in the 2018-2019 call for awards.
  • NOTE:  All approved awards for the 2017-2018 period will be funded through April 30, 2018.  The option to continue with Project 2 will be upon submission of a new proposal, demonstrated performance, continuing need, and availability of funds.


Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 1, 2017 - 5:00pm
Application Instructions: 
  • Complete the Outreach Award Application and Direct Beneficiaries and Goals checklist.
  • To submit, send an email to with the application and checklist attached as one PDF file. Put Health Literacy in the subject line.

Budget Guidelines

  • A detailed budget and narrative justification is required as part of the application.
  • Allowable expenses include:
    • Project personnel
    • Travel (may include air travel, ground transportation, parking, hotel, per diem for meals)
    • Equipment, includes technology (rental or purchase)
    • Purchase of collection materials is permitted, but must not exceed 5% of the budget
    • Project supplies
    • Publicity for project events
    • Reproduction (may include costs for printing/photocopying of resource handouts and other project related materials)
    • Other costs (may include honoraria, exhibit fees, or any other items that do not fit into one of the other lines.  Provide a breakdown of what has been included in this category.)
    • Indirect costs (IDC) or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs apply at your institution’s non-research rate (or, if your institution has no negotiate rate, a 10% Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) can be applied if you wish to claim it)
  • Expenses are not allowed for:
    • Food
    • Furniture purchases
    • Promotional items:  Promotional items include, but are not limited to: clothing and commemorative items such as pens, mugs/cups, folders/folios, lanyards, and conference bags that are sometimes provided to visitors, employees, grantees, or conference attendees. Typically, items or tokens to be given to individuals are considered personal gifts for which appropriated funds may not be expended.  More information is located at: HHS Policy on the Use of Appropriated Funds for Promotional Items.

Evaluation of Proposal

  • Three reviewers made up of NNLM MAR staff and NN/LM MAR Special Advisory Group members will review and score applications based on ten criteria: Significance, Evidence of Need, Target Population, Goals and Objectives, Evaluation, Project Plan, Promotion Plan, Continuation, Qualifications, and Budget.
  • Criteria scoring will follow the following point scale for each criteria’s line item (NOTE:  1 is the highest score – the lower the score the better.)
1 = Information is extremely relevant in support of NNLM goals as outlined in the award
2 = Information is good in support of NNLM goals as outlined in the award
3 = Information is satisfactory in support of NNLM goals as outlined in the award
4 = Information is marginal in support of NNLM goals as outlined in the award
5 = Information is poor and does not support NNLM goals as outlined in the award
  1. Significance
    • The proposed project will significantly increase access to biomedical and health information and promote a culture of health literacy within the organization
  2. Evidence of Need
    • Demographic information that supports the need for the project is provided.
    • A description of information resources or services currently available, what are needed and any relevant barriers to information access is provided.
    • Known needs assessments, formal or otherwise, any relevant statistics or literature that supports the need are identified.
  3. Target Population
    • A description of the target (including numbers and types of health professionals, patients, members of the public, etc.) and an estimate of how many of these the project will reach is provided.
    • Characteristics, including applicable health issues, of the population being targeted for the project are described.
    • The geographic area in which the project will take place is described.
  4. Goals and Objectives
    • Goals and objectives are clear and reasonable.
    • Detailed objectives about what will be done (outputs) and outcome-based objectives that specify what will happen or change as a result are provided.
    • A rationale for the plan and relationship to comparable work elsewhere is provided.
  5. Evaluation Plan
    • The evaluation plan is tied to the goals and objectives and describes how the success of the project will be measured and the methods to be used to measure that success. 
    • There is a measures of success for each objective.  Output/process objectives are usually measured quantitatively. Outcome measures may be quantitative or qualitative.
    • There is a plan to collect the required information for projects involving training, exhibiting/health fairs, technology improvement, or professional development. The plan explains how and when the NNLM forms will be used to collect the information.   **NOTE: Refer to the NNLM Evaluation Office’s NNLM Evaluation Materials web page for the type of information required to be submitted. 
  6. Project Plan and Implementation Schedule
    • The overall project plan is appropriate for the goals and target population.
    • The implementation schedule (timeline) for all activities to be undertaken during the project is feasible within the stated timeframe.    
    • A detailed description of how the project will be implemented is provided, including what tasks will be performed and who will perform them.
    • Project objectives are clear and feasible within the stated timeline.
    • Methods to reach stated goals and objectives are suitable to the goals and objectives (methods may include needs assessments, training and demonstrations, equipment purchase and installation, web development, promotional activities, etc.).
    • If training and/or demonstrations are included as a methodology, a description of what will be taught or demonstrated, who will do it, where it will be done, what training materials will be used, and a description of the target audience for each event is provided and relates to project goals.
  7. Promotion Plan
    • A detailed plan for promoting the project to the targeted organization or community is provided.
  8. Continuation Plan
    • Activities that will continue project services to the target population or the institution's intent to maintain communication or service to the target population beyond the funding period is reasonable.
  9. Qualifications
    • A list of project personnel, briefly describing their time commitments for this project, roles in this project and applicable experience to their project responsibilities is provided and supports the proposed project. Curriculum vitae or resumes should be supplied as an appendix.
    • A description of the institution, its resources and services, as it pertains to supporting the proposed project is provided and adequate to support the proposed project. 
    • A letter of commitment from the applicant’s institutional administrator is provided to support the project.
    • Letters of commitment from the administration of all libraries and/or agencies involved in, or targeted in the project are provided and agree to support the project.
    • If technology is being purchased, a letter of commitment from the person in charge of supporting technology for the applicant’s institution is provided indicating successful implementation for the technology. 
  10. Budget
    • The budget is well justified to meet the goals of the project. Consider modifications that could be made to economize without jeopardizing the project. (NOTE: A detailed budget and narrative justification for each budget item is required.)
  • A separate, Overall Impact Score will indicate reviewer recommendation for funding as follows:
  1. Excellent Application. The project will have major impact on NNLM goals.
  2. Project has strong potential to satisfy NNLM goals.
  3. Project has limited impact or there are concerns about the proposed plan or quality.
  4. Project will not advance the goals of NNLM. 
  5. Project does not fit in the Award goals and NNLM mission. 
  • Applicants will be notified by May 12, 2017.  Reviewer score sheets and comments will be shared with the applicant. If further clarification is needed, the applicant will be given 1 week to submit more information.
  • Applications with an average score of 3 or lower for each of the ten criteria AND an overall impact ranking of 2 or lower will be given priority until funds are expended.
  • The University of Pittsburgh will provide a subcontract agreement for all approved projects. All subcontracts are cost reimbursement. Line item invoices must be submitted for reimbursement of expenditures. Invoices may be sent monthly.

Additional Information

508 Compliance: 

Section 508 requires that all website content be accessible to people with disabilities. This applies to Web applications, Web pages and all attached files on the intranet, as well as, internet.

The National Library of Medicine is a part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Recipients of National Library of Medicine funding through the NNLM must meet all requirements under section 508.

 [Information on 508 Compliance is located at].   

Reporting Requirements: 
  • Progress reports must be submitted quarterly to the NNLM MAR office.  These will include a report of project activities, including progress made toward award goals, problems encountered and a report of the ongoing evaluation or assessment of the project’s effectiveness.
  • One final report must be entered and submitted to the Outreach Application and Online Contract Reports System.  This will be due no later than 14 days after completion of the project.
  • If an organized training session or presentation on NLM resources takes place as part of the project, an Activity Report must be submitted in the Outreach Application and Online Contract Reports System on or before the last day of each month following the end of the activity.
  • If the project includes training, technology improvement, exhibiting/health fairs, or professional development activities, specific information must be submitted using forms provided by NNLM.
  • NNLM MAR will provide additional information on accessing the online system and submitting the required reports.
  • Awardee may be asked to participate in a Lunch with the RML session to share project outcomes, successes and lessons learned with fellow Network members.
  • Final reports may be posted to the NNLM MAR website.
  • The project lead shall provide copies of all communications, materials produced, press releases, advertisements, photographs and articles for newsletters related to the project.  In accepting the award, the project lead gives permission for use of such materials by the NLM and NNLM.
NIH Public Access Policy: 

Recipients of NNLM funding are required to deposit any peer-reviewed manuscript upon acceptance for publication in PubMed Central in accordance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

Data Sharing and Development of Training Materials: 

In order to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and information associated with the NNLM Cooperative Agreement Award, all awardees are required to share any data or training material resulting from funding. This information must be submitted to the following collection sites as applicable:

  • National Networks of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) website;
  • Other site specifically designated by the NLM as part of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (considering changes in the project and data repositories required to maintain sharing within the Network).

In addition, recipients of funding are expected to use or adapt existing training materials before developing new materials. Consult with MAR and the NNLM Training Office (NTO) prior to developing materials.

Publication and Copyrighting: 

Per Section 8.2.1. - Right in Data (Publication and Copyrighting) of the NIH Grants Policy Statement,  the NIH must be given a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license for the Federal government to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use any materials developed as a result of funding and to authorize others to do so for Federal purposes, i.e. the ongoing development of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Data developed by a subawardees/consortium participants and consultants are also subject to this policy.

NIH Acknowledgement: 

Any resources developed with project funds must include an acknowledgment of NIH grant support and a disclaimer stating the following:

Developed resources reported in this [publication, press release, internet site] are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012342 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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