HRSA has piloted the Media-Based Interventions program to increase the rates of organ donation by members of minority populations. At the other end of the donation continuum, HRSA has previously funded the Clinical Interventions grant program (personal communication, J. Perdue, HRSA, 2005).
Between fiscal years (FY) 1999 and 2005, the Social and Behavioral Interventions program funded 61 projects, with total funding of $49.5 million (personal communication, M. Ganikos, HRSA, 2005). First-year funding levels for new grants have significantly decreased in recent years, from a high of greater than $3.3 million in FY 2003 to approximately $1 million in FY 2005 and an expected $1.25 million in FY 2006. This decrease in funding has placed severe restraints on the grant program.
HRSA’s major extramural research grant program focuses on social and behavioral interventions in schools, workplaces, and community locations. Roughly 40 percent of the projects have focused on minority populations, principally African Americans and Hispanics (personal communication, M. Ganikos, HRSA). One study, for example, is evaluating the use of community projects and individually tailored interventions on donor decision making. Another study is evaluating how effectively peer educators in workplaces increase employees’ intent to donate.
Despite the diverse content among Social and Behavioral Interventions program grants, all such projects approved by HRSA must include several key components:
a consortium of researchers and transplantation organizations to bridge the gap between academic research and the service-oriented work of transplantation professionals;
a rigorous evaluation component; and
precise performance measures, such as an increase in consent rates for organ donation or an increase in declarations of intent to donate.
An HRSA technical review panel that includes three reviewers—a donation and transplantation specialist, a research and evaluation specialist, and a research reader—reviews each grant application. To guide the applicants, HRSA regularly offers programs on grant application preparation, issues related to research with human subjects, and grants management. During the grant project periods, HRSA offers additional technical assistance, including yearly project presentations and work group discussions to review the lessons learned and problem-solving techniques.
HRSA research has examined the effectiveness of a number of donation strategies, many of which have been incorporated into the work of the