NIH – HEAL Initiative: Data and Methods to Address Urgent Needs to Stem the Opioid Epidemic (R01- Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

January 7, 2022 by


The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to develop new methods, approaches, and/or tools to apply to existing data streams (e.g., electronic health records, syndromic surveillance, claims data, registry data, pharmacy dispensing, and mortality records) that could provide novel insights into the dynamics of opioid and prescription drugs misuse, addiction, recovery, relapse, and recovery to facilitate rapid understanding of the opioid epidemic for prevention and treatment or to develop methods for small area estimation that inform decisions of local (e.g., substate) jurisdictions. It will emphasize approaches that shorten the lags between data capture and data availability so the data is available real-time or near real-time to provide actionable insights, and methods and tools that improve efficiency and practical use of surveillance, clinical or other relevant data that may allow for faster or better localized responses or better allocation of resources to address the opioid epidemic.


The NIH HEAL Initiative: This study is part of the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative to speed scientific solutions to the national opioid public health crisis. The NIH HEAL Initiative bolsters research across NIH to (1) improve treatment for opioid misuse and addiction and (2) enhance pain management. More information about the HEAL Initiative is available at:

While overdoses continue to increase, lags in data availability hamper efforts to prepare for, or nimbly react to, overdose surges. There is a need for real or near-real time data to provide a precise picture of trends in opioid use and overdose in communities in a timely manner. Due to lags in collection and reporting, much of the data available to public health officials, policymakers, clinicians, and researchers is months or years old. Enhanced methods of collection or linkage, new tools or technologies, or strategic access to select existing data, offer data sources that could inform implementation of measures to enhance available resources or reduce opioid use and overdoses at a national and local level. Researchers who have data in hand and new or existing tools or methods to conduct predictive analyses, partnered with key stakeholders and end-users, could be in a unique position to implement preventative measures. Having timely data will allow data-driven rapid responses that could strengthen ongoing efforts to address opioid misuse and addiction in communities and systems of care, including those informed by the HHS 4 pillars of overdose prevention strategy (

Complement to generating timely data is the opportunity to leverage the use of existing data. These data are primarily collected for surveillance or planning purposes, as part of routine clinical care in health systems, to comply with reporting requirement or other uses. Hence, they are already available in some form. With more than two-decades of collective efforts from academic institutions, industry sectors, state and federal public health departments, a greater number of large data sources has become available with improved quality and updated information coverage across sectors. This FOA seeks research that develops methods, tools, and approaches to integrate existing data sets with wide population coverage, that are real-time or near real-time to provide an infrastructure for pressing answers related to the opioid epidemic.

Key Dates:

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date): February 10, 2022
Letter of Intent Due Date(s): Not Applicable
Applications: March 10, 2022


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities