NIH R21 Opportunity: Advancing HIV Service Delivery Through Pharmacies And Pharmacists

Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-MH-25-186

Letter of Intent: July 13, 2024
Submission: August 13, 2024

Research Objectives

The purpose of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is to solicit research designed to capacitate, transform, and scale the delivery of HIV testing, prevention, and care services through pharmacists and pharmacies in US and/or global settings. This includes the advancement of training curricula to enable pharmacy students, pharmacists, pharmacies, and pharmacy systems to deliver the spectrum of needed HIV services with ease, equity, and effectiveness.

Key Considerations for this NOFO

  • Applicants must propose a research team that includes one or more pharmacists.
  • Applicants should additionally:
    • Partner with chain, independent, or specialty pharmacies on their work, or pharmacies in diverse settings such as hospitals, correctional health, or tribal health settings.
    • Provide letters of support from research partners that demonstrate commitment to provide pharmacists’ protected time for any expanded practice activities and for participation in the research activities (e.g., meetings, research documentation).
    • Discuss potential reimbursement models for any pharmacist- or pharmacy-based services that they will advance.
    • Describe plans for developing collaborative practice agreements that cover the scope of care described in the grant application.
    • Describe an approach that meaningfully incorporates input from relevant community members with a diversity of perspectives, knowledge, and lived experiences. Community members may include people with HIV, people placed at risk for HIV, and representatives of pharmacy groups, public health agencies, healthcare organizations, social service agencies, faith-based communities, or other stakeholders.
    • Employ and document implementation science frameworks, approaches, and research designs or methodologies in the proposed research.
    • Identify policy, regulation, or other potential challenges and barriers that may exist to implementing and/or scaling study results. Projects proposing innovative implementation strategies designed to address these barriers, or that take advantage of new or pending regulatory or policy changes, are welcome.
    • Consider examining the resource needs and/or cost effectiveness of the care model being tested.
    • Budget funds for travel to one meeting of awardees at NIH in Bethesda, MD. PDs/PIs are expected to attend the meeting and may also budget for other key personnel to attend.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

Research applications that respond to this NOFO can include, but are not limited to, the following topics. Further Institute-specific research priorities follow below.

  • Research to advance pharmacy-based health screenings for HIV alongside screenings for multiple chronic illnesses and common comorbid conditions.
  • Studies designed to create and scale models of pharmacy-based HIV PrEP delivery and adherence support.
  • Research to improve access and use of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) through pharmacies.
  • Studies to expand the delivery and use of long-acting injectable PrEP and/or ART regimens though pharmacists and pharmacies.
  • Studies that test pharmacy-based monitoring and support for antiretroviral treatment adherence.
  • Research to advance prescription refill synchronization for HIV and other chronic conditions to improve medication adherence and health outcomes.
  • Research to advance integrated services for HIV and other common comorbid conditions or chronic illnesses through pharmacies and pharmacists.
  • Research that uses pharmacists and pharmacies as a vector for engaging youth, pregnant persons, or minoritized populations in HIV testing, prevention, or care.
  • Research to advance programs that train pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians and allied health professionals (e.g., nurse practitioners, mental health providers) to support HIV prevention and care and address barriers such as stigma, bias, discrimination, or practice information gaps related to HIV and its comorbidities, as well as programs for continuing education and maintenance of knowledge and expertise in HIV prevention and care.
  • Research in implementation strategies for pharmacist and pharmacy-delivered HIV services, including strategic collaborations with health ministries, health departments, medical centers, schools of pharmacy, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority Serving Institutions, community-based and non-governmental organizations, or other partners.
  • Studies to understand and address social and structural constraints and business needs of pharmacists’ and pharmacy systems regarding HIV service delivery.
  • Studies that model the impact and cost-effectiveness of pharmacy-delivered HIV services.

For more information, please see the opportunity webpage.