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COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award

Description of Award

The purpose of the COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award is to enable organizations to develop and offer programs that will increase access to and use of authoritative health information resources on that will impact health literacy and health information needs related to the COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic in the SEA Region.

The award enables organizations to develop and offer programs, including pilot projects, that will impact health literacy and health information needs related to the COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic in the SEA Region. This award will provide funds for libraries and other community organizations to offer health information and related programming to their patrons as we continue to move through a global pandemic.
The proposal should be directed at ensuring patrons, healthcare consumers or trainers (for example: librarians, health educators, community health workers, etc.) are aware of and have access to, high quality electronic information resources to make informed health care decisions and manage mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This also includes tools and training to manage information overload or combat misinformation.
Priority will be given to proposals supporting NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations.

Award Goals

  • Improve health information access for patients, patrons, and the public, relating to COVID-19 / SARS- CoV-2.
  • Provide access to health information in a way that is meaningful to the target population.
  • Increase awareness and utilization of NIH, NLM, and CDC as authoritative resources on COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2.
  • Provide training, teaching skills, or creating resources relating to COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2. Optional topics: combatting health misinformation or information overload.

The mission of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public's access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health.

The NNLM regional program is coordinated by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and is carried out through a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers. To accomplish the goals of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, funding opportunities are offered by the NNLM Southeastern Atlantic Region (SEA) to provide resources to libraries, community-based organizations, public health professionals, health educators, faith-based agencies, and other information partners throughout the SEA. States served by the NNLM SEA include Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.


Network members in the NNLM SEA (Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia) are eligible to apply. Network membership is free and open to institutions whose role includes providing access to authoritative health information. Visit NNLM to become a member. Public librarians, community-based and faith-based organizations are encouraged to apply.

Disallowance of Human Subjects Research

Projects containing Human Subjects Research components will not be reviewed or considered for funding.

Potential Projects: 

The proposal should be directed at ensuring patrons, healthcare consumers or trainers (librarians, health educators, community health workers) are aware of and have access to, high quality electronic information resources to make informed health care decisions relating to COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2.
The goals of the COVID-19 Health Information Outreach Award is to fund 5 projects to provide information resources related to COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 and connect consumers to NIH, NLM and CDC health information resources they need to make informed healthcare decisions.
For a complete listing of NLM resources, visit NLM Products and Services
NLM resources specific to COVID-19 include: 

NIH Resources specific to COVID-19 include:

 The program should increase awareness about the resources and services of the NLM by training in effective use of information resources relating to COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2. Projects can include (but are not limited to):

  • Train-the-Trainer projects that enhance the skills of librarians and other health information intermediaries
  • Designing COVID-19 instruction modules and elective courses
  • Integrating digital content, including alternatives to print materials, into the evolving online learning environment
  • Facilitating access to online medical education resources
  • Assisting communities or agencies in acquiring information technology to facilitate access to authoritative health information resources
  • Providing free access to health information related to the award topic.
  • Promote health information literacy in health education and healthcare, including resources on how to effectively communicate with patients and caregivers
  • Improve access to electronic health information
  • Promote and improve access to library and information services
  • Promote and improve the use of technology for information access
  • Encourage partnerships between public, hospital and school libraries, community, faith-based, and volunteer organizations, health clinics, public health departments, and other public venues
  • Promote outreach by network members to share their expertise and resources with a target audience not normally reached 

Programming ideas (but not limited to):

  • Virtual or in-person* programming:
    • health fairs
    • exhibits
    • classes
    • story times
    • development of toolkits
    • train-the-trainer sessions or bootcamps 

*Dependent on your state, county, and institution’s policies on gatherings and travel, it may be prudent to have contingency plans with alternative virtual programming.

  • Expand e-services to patrons by providing technology for the applicant organization to conduct distance programming such as (but not limited to):
    • equipping librarians or community health workers with mobile technologies to aid in providing remote instruction
    • installing high speed or broadband access to the Internet in areas where Internet is not presently available
    • Upgrading a slow dial-up Internet connection to a higher speed connection such as cable or broadband
    • Piloting a new distance learning software program or system

 Preference will be given to proposals supporting NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations as defined under the Evaluation Criteria section.


Funding Period: 
Friday, April 30, 2021
Number of Awards Available: 
Additional Funding Information: 

Grant Writing Resources 

For support in grant writing, please see the NNLM Grants and Proposal Writing Course for tips on award applications. 


Application Deadline: 
Monday, January 11, 2021 - 4:00pm
Deadline is 4:00pm CT - Continuous while funds are available
Application Instructions: 

Applications will only be accepted via the NNLM Online Applications System. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the Outreach application template before entering information into the online system.
When the RML is accepting applications, you can scroll to the bottom of the browser window to access the online application. You must be logged in with your NNLM account to begin the submission process.

System Requirements

You will need to submit your application online. It is recommended that you use the following outline to draft your proposal, then submit online.
Before attempting to submit your application for funding in the NNLM online application system: 

  1. Confirm that your institution is a NNLM Member with a NNLM Member record.
    1. Not sure if your institution is a Member or has a Member record? Search the NNLM Membership Directoryor contact your Regional Medical Library
    2. If your institution is not a NNLM Member, submit an application for Membership at least 3 weeks prior to the funding deadline. Membership is not automatic. A Member record is required to successfully submit an application.
  2. Confirm that you (the applicant) have an NNLM Account.
    1. You must be logged in to your NNLM account to successfully submit an application. 
    2. If you are submitting an application on behalf of the Project Lead, the Project Lead must also have an NNLM account prior to submission. 
  3. Confirm that your NNLM account is connected to the NNLM Member record for your institution. 
    1. To connect, fill in the “Organization” field on your NNLM account using the autocomplete function. When correctly filled, you will see a 5-digit NNLM ID in parenthesis beside the institution name. Watch a brief tutorial for assistance with completing this process.  
    2. If you are submitting an application on behalf of the Project Lead, the Project Lead must also be connected to the NNLM Member record for your institution prior to submission.  

Please Note: you cannot successfully submit an application without these components. If you have questions about these or any other system requirements, please contact your Regional Medical Library or Office in advance of the application deadline. 

Online Application Overview 

  • Lead Organization: Select the institution that will lead and receive funding to conduct the proposed project. 

 If the drop-down list appears blank, confirm that your NNLM account is connected to the NNLM Member record for your institution. (See System Requirements above)

  • Project Lead: If you are the Project Lead, select your own name from the drop-down list. If you are submitting this application on behalf of the Project Lead, select their name from the drop-down list.  

If the name of the Project Lead does not appear in the drop-down list, confirm that their NNLM account is connected to the NNLM Member record for the institution. (See System Requirements above)

  • Institution Tax ID: Enter the 9-digit tax identification number for your institution. 
  • Institution DUNS Number: Please confirm your organization’s DUNS number. If you do not have a DUNS number, apply for one as soon as possible. 
  • Have you/your institution previously received NNLM funding in the current grant cycle? Select Yes, No, or I don’t know. 
  • Amount Requested: The amount specified should not exceed the limit established by the RML/Office. Contact your RML/Office if you have questions about the funding amount. This field will accept numbers only. Enter the amount to the nearest whole dollar. 

Project Proposal 

  • Project Title: Describe the project with an external audience in mind. Funded projects are displayed on the NNLM website and are provided by NLM in response to data calls from NIH, HHS, OMB, Congress, and the White House.
  • Project Summary: Provide a one-paragraph description that summarizes the proposed project. Funded projects are displayed on the NNLM website and are provided by NLM in response to requests from NIH, HHS, OMB, Congress, and the White House.
  • Partner Organizations: Use the autocomplete function to find and select existing records for up to three (3) organizations that will partner with the Lead Organization to conduct/complete the project. 

If a record does not exist for a partner organization, click “Partner Organization not Listed?” and use the additional fields under “Add Partner Organization” to provide the institution name and address. 

  • Training be Provided as Part of this Award: Select yes or no. 
  • Proposed Start and End Dates for the Project: Select the appropriate dates. Contact your RML/Office before applying if your project will extend more than one year.
  • Evidence of Need: Provide a statement of how the project proposed will support the mission of NNLM, explain the need for the project, and describe the audience or population that will be reached through this project. Please clearly document if this project will engage traditionally underrepresented populations and/or involve medically underserved areas. When possible, support the stated need using data such as known needs assessments or statistics.
  • Project Goals and Objectives: State the goal(s) and specific objectives(s) of the proposed project. Goals should align to the NNLM Goals and Objectives. Please review the National Evaluation Office (NEO) resources for information on how to create evaluation plans and objectives.
  • Implementation: Describe what will be done to meet project objectives and its rationale. Include tasks to be performed and who will perform them. 
  • Schedule/Timeline: Include a timeline for implementing the plan to meet objectives.
  • Evaluation Plan: Describe how the project will measure success. Include data collection frequency, type of data to be collected, tools, and how data will be used or disseminated. Please review the National Evaluation Office (NEO) resources for information on how to create evaluation plans and objectives.
  • Publicity/Promotion: Briefly describe how you intend to promote your project to the target population. Please specify which NLM resources or NNLM national initiatives will be utilized, how they will be promoted, and how they will be utilized throughout the project.
  • Continuity/Sustainability Plan: Describe the activities that will sustain project services and/or communication to the targeted community beyond the cooperative agreement period.
  • Personnel Qualifications: If applicable, list the project personnel who will be involved in the project and include their role(s) and applicable experience. Submit resumes or CVs for personnel listed as attachments with your completed application.

Budget Guidelines

Awards are cost-reimbursable and are issued to the institution, not the individual. The budget needs to be filled out in the online application system. Additionally, proposals must include a budget table or spreadsheet which includes a narrative justification for budget items, explaining the purpose of each item in the project. This can be uploaded in the attachments section of the online application. Budget fields will accept numbers only. Enter each amount to the nearest whole dollar. If a budget line is not applicable for your project, you may leave it blank. The budget estimate should be categorized by the following, as they apply: 

  • Personnel: Include (hourly rate X estimated hours) or (% time X annual salary) in the budget justification attachments or descriptions. Check with your RML/Office for specifics on personnel.
  • Consultant Costs: Estimated expenses from consultants, such as marketing firms or other agencies; Prior to hiring Consultants, submit the following information to the RML/Office: name of consultant, description of work, hourly rate, total amount/not to exceed amount, and period of performance.
  • Equipment: Quotes for items required such as computers and other equipment. Include quotes received or other pricing information in the budget attachment or as another attachment.
  • Supplies: Quotes for printing, publication costs and other materials. Include description and any quotes in the attached budget or as other attachment.
  • Communications: Media, publicity or other communication costs. Include description and any quotes in the attached budget or as other attachment.
  • Reproduction: Printing materials or other reproduction costs. 
  • Travel: Estimates for travel. Include description and any quotes in the attached budget or as other attachment.
  • Other: Include description and any quotes in the attached budget or as other attachment.
  • Indirect Costs (IDC) or Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs: Apply at your institution’s non-research rate (or, if your institution has no negotiated rate, a 10% Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) can be applied if you wish to claim it). Indirect Costs need to be factored into your overall budget. The total budget cannot exceed the limit defined by the RML/Office you are applying to, including Indirect Costs. 
  • Other Funding if Applicable: Other funds that will be used to support the project should be specified. This includes matching funds, other grants, etc.  

NOTE: You will need to submit a narrative to support your budget. Please contact your RML/Office to confirm the budget justification attachments to include.

Beneficiaries & Goals

  • Populations Served: Select all that apply, but these should be the primary populations targeted in your project. If not explicitly identified in the proposal section, please do not select it here. 
  • Participant’s Roles: Select all that apply. These are the primary roles of the participants of your project. These should be explicitly identified in the proposal section. 


Gather all documents that will be attached to your application, including personnel CVs and resumes, letters of institutional commitment or support, and budget template (if applicable). 

  • Budget spreadsheet
  • Curriculum vitae/resumes of key personnel
  • Letter of commitment from institutional leadership that includes acknowledgement of award requirements. This should be from someone authorized to sign a contract on behalf of the institution.
  • Letters of commitment from partnering institution(s)/organization(s). If applicant is not a public library/library association, please include a letter from at least one public library/library association.
  • If technology is being purchased, include letter of commitment from the person in charge of supporting technology for the applicant’s institution.
  • Sample materials from existing health program, if available.

 Note: Additional attachments beyond the requested items will not be reviewed. 


You are required to acknowledge the following statements before submitting an application: 

  • You will share the information gained with colleagues in your institution/RML/Office, as required by the Request for Proposal.
  • You will submit regular, interim & final reports, as requested by the funding agency & stipulated in the Request for Proposal.
  • Any web-based resources developed for this project will ensure accessibility to the greatest possible number of people.
  • Additional documentations will need to be completed should your project be awarded. Please consult with your RML/Office for details.

 Proposal Submission

You will need to submit your application online. 

Evaluation of Proposal

Review and selection of proposals - reviewers selected by the RML/Office. The Review Committee is made up of Network members who represent the Region, public libraries, a variety of health science libraries, and community organizations. The Review Committee will make final recommendations for funding to the Associate/Executive Director of the RML/Office. Applicants will receive a copy of reviewer comments along with a final decision regarding funding.
Scored Review Criteria: Scale: 1-100 
The application will be scored in the following areas:

  • Significance (15 points max): Does the proposed program make a significant contribution to the mission of NNLM. Is there information on the target population provided? Are there estimates of the potential population and the portion expected to be reached? Is the target group or population described and the actual or perceived need for the proposed program is discussed?
  • Methodology/Approach (40 points max): Does the statement show the logic and feasibility of the technical approach to reaching the target group or community? Are the types of outreach services provided for the target population appropriate, creative and cost-effective? Does the project plan demonstrate sustainability or the ability to provide lessons learned for future programs? Does the proposed project add value to other initiatives? Does the project use local partners? Does the proposal include a timeline or implementation schedule for major events and activities? Does the program specify what NLM resources or NNLM national initiatives will be promoted and how they will be utilized throughout the project? 
  • Evaluation (15 points max): Is there an evaluation plan? Does the plan make sense given the goals and objectives? Is there a timeline and are individuals assigned responsibility for milestones or tasks? Are there other forms of evaluation that the project should consider or add? Is the plan thorough enough or feasible for the project?
  • Project Staff (15 points max): Does the proposed personnel have experience in developing and conducting outreach and/or training programs in health information for patients, the public or health professionals. Do the proposed personnel have prior experience working with the target group? Is there evidence of institutional facilities and resources adequate to support the proposed programs. If applicable, do project partners bring experience to the project team?
  • Budget (10 points max):  Is the proposed budget within funding limits? Is the budget justification sound? Could budget items be eliminated or reduced without jeopardizing the project? Does it include money within allowable line items? Do they have line items that account for all the requested money?
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (5 points max): Does the application identify inequities and disparities or target underserved populations? Is the organization using an inclusive, community-engaged process for planning and implementation if they are proposing community-based programming?
    • NIH-designated U.S. health disparity populations include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, individuals with a physical or mental disability, sexual and gender minorities, individuals under 18 or over 65, and individuals with less than a high school degree.
  • RML/Office staff and Network members will review and score applications using a standardized RFP scorecard. For more information, please review the RFP scorecard.
  • 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.
  • The RML/Office will provide a subaward agreement for all approved projects. All sub-awards 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.

Reporting Requirements: 
Reporting Requirement Access Timeline
Activities and Participants –Submitted through the NNLM Data Reporting System (DRS) Subawardees must add reports on their individual project page which is accessible via the institutional record. See tutorial. Within the first five days of the month following the activity/exhibit completion
Final Report –Submitted through the NNLM DRS Same as above. Within 30 days of project completion
Required if Applicable
If training is provided to librarians: NNLM Training Form Evaluation
If technology is purchased or provided: NNLM Technology Report NNLM Technology Report


Submit before the final report
If funds are included for librarian professional development: NNLM Professional Development Report NNLM Professional Development Award Report Within 30 days after the last day completed
If programming is provided to patrons or community members: Project Outcome PLA Project Outcome Immediately following program completion- be sure to check the box to ensure NNLM has access to the data.
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: 

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

  • Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) website;
  • Other websites specifically designated by the NLM as part of the Network of the National Library 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 your RML/Office 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 Network of the National Library 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. Please consult with your RML/Office for the specific acknowledgement statement to be used for your project award.

Need Assistance: 

To request assistance with the online application form, contact us at NNLM@hshsl.umaryland.edu.
SEA staff are available for consultation and training on applicable National Library of Medicine resources and potential projects. Complete the NNLM SEA Award Interest Form, and someone will respond within three business days.

Organization Type: 
Academic Institution
Clinic/Other Health Care
Community Based
Community College
Government Agency
Health Sciences Library
HIV/AIDS Services
Public Library
Public Health Organization