Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A number of agencies within DHHS are potential supporters of pediatric emergency care research:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The mission of AHRQ is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care. Unlike NIH, which tends to fund work that is more clinical in nature, AHRQ tends to fund health services research. In 2004, AHRQ received an allocation of $304 million to be used for funding a variety of health services and outcomes research, continued collection of key data characterizing the provision of health care in the United States, and a variety of specific activities mandated by Congress. For example, the 2005 AHRQ administration request included $84 million for patient safety research and $50 million for information technology, and may include $50 million for effectiveness evaluation of prescription drugs. Because funding for AHRQ is increasingly tied to specific activities, progressively fewer funds have been available to support investigator-initiated research and research training. Nonetheless, AHRQ remains a major source of funds for health services and outcomes research, with an intense focus on translating research into practice. The development of methods for effectively translating new research findings into clinical practice is particularly important in emergency care, and to its credit, AHRQ has funded some important studies in this area, including a pediatric airway management project (Gausche et al., 2000). A number of emergency care specialists have served on standing grant review panels and special emphasis panels for AHRQ.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). HRSA’s mission is to improve health care access. The agency awards grants and contracts primarily to support programs and demonstration initiatives. HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) has a dedicated funding source for pediatric emergency services under its Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS-C) program. The EMS-C program provides infrastructure support for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), described in more detail in the text. The MCHB Research Program also funds pediatric emergency care research projects including PECARN studies. HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy also supports research efforts through its Rural Health Research Center program. This program is dedicated entirely to producing policy-relevant research on health care in rural areas. Eight centers have cooperative agreements with HRSA to conduct this research, and each year, specific research topics for the centers are selected jointly by the research center directors and HRSA staff. Although the majority of studies are not focused on emergency