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REACH Priority Statements

Research in Emerging Areas Critical to Human Health (REACH)

Section 487B of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 288-2) provides the NIH Director with direct authority to establish a new subcategory area under the Extramural Loan Repayment Program based on workforce and scientific priorities. The purpose of the REACH subcategory is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into research careers:

  1. Where there are major gaps in biomedical and biobehavioral research; and/or
  2. To expand research in emerging areas critical to human health

REACH applicants are strongly encouraged to pay attention to the Institute or Center specific research priorities listed below. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an NIH Institute or Center scientific liaison before applying.

NIH Institute/Center LRP Liaison
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

NCI will take applications for the REACH LRP in the next fiscal year with cancer-focused research projects that do not meet the research eligibility requirements for Clinical, Pediatric or Health Disparities as defined by the LRP in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology
  • Population Sciences
  • Cancer Prevention

Dr. Mark Damico
240-276-5630
ncilrpinquiries@mail.nih.gov

National Eye Institute (NEI)

NEI would accept applications in data science, regenerative medicine, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and bioinformatics related to visual disorders and vision science under this LRP initiative.

Dr. Neeraj Agarwal
301-451-2020
agarwalnee@mail.nih.gov
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

The NHLBI will support the REACH LRP for clinician scientists proposing research on any topic of strategic importance to NHLBI across its portfolio of heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. The research can span any stage along the research spectrum from basic science to late-stage translation and implementation science. Applications that qualify under other existing LRP programs supported by NHLBI are not responsive to this program.

Candidates must hold a degree including, but not limited to M.D., Pharm. D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., O.D., D.V.M., or equivalent doctoral-level degree from an accredited institution. Individuals with a Ph.D. or other equivalent doctoral degree in clinical disciplines such as clinical psychology, nursing, clinical genetics, speech-language pathology, audiology or rehabilitation are also eligible. Individuals holding a Ph.D. in a non-clinical discipline but who are certified to perform clinical duties should contact NHLBI to determine eligibility.

Dr. Shilpy Dixit
shilpy.dixit@nih.gov

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

NHGRI will support genetic counselors at the master’s and doctoral levels who are involved in genomics research offering their intellectual expertise either as part of a team or as an independent researcher. The research focus must be toward advancing the science of genomic medicine and the incorporation of genomics in improving the effectiveness of health care. NHGRI is strongly committed to supporting genomics research that addresses health disparities.

Ms. Heather Colley
301-402-0343
junkinsh@mail.nih.gov
National Institute on Aging (NIA)

NIA will accept applications for the REACH LRP with aging-focused research projects on artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, management strategies for multiple chronic conditions, deprescribing, approaches to tele/virtual functional assessment, resilience, and geroscience-related interventions in older adults and aging populations.

Dr. Sanoj Suneja
301-402-7710
sunejas@mail.nih.gov
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

NIAAA supports research on alcohol use in several scientific areas including epidemiology and prevention, basic and clinical studies to identify mechanisms of organ and tissue damage and effects on brain systems and behavior, as well as research on behavioral and pharmacological approaches to treating alcohol-related problems and promoting recovery from alcohol use disorder. For the LRP-REACH program, NIAAA is particularly interested in investigators with basic science projects in the areas of metabolism and health effects or neuroscience and behavior. Studies investigating biological mechanisms on the molecular, cellular and organ level are encouraged. Preclinical studies for the development of medications will also be considered.

NIAAA will also support projects using computational and data science approaches in alcohol research, including developing new software applications or algorithms for analysis and integration of NIAAA and public data sets. Projects with computational or systems biology models of alcohol exposure on molecular, cellular, organ, network and organism models from initial alcohol exposure and extending through alcohol use disorder, treatment and recovery will be considered appropriate.

Dr. Elizabeth Powell
301-443-0786
Elizabeth.powell3@nih.gov

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

The mission of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is to conduct and support basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. In addition, NIAID has a unique mandate which requires the Institute to respond to emerging public health threats. The NIAID will consider applications for the REACH LRP in the next fiscal year that fall within the Institute’s mission areas and do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Clinical, Pediatric, or Health Disparities subcategories as defined by the NIH LRP.

Ms. Raushanah Newman
240-669-2925
newmanrau@niaid.nih.gov
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

NIAMS will take applications for the REACH LRP in NIAMS-mission areas that do not meet the research eligibility requirements for Clinical, Pediatric or Health Disparities as defined by the LRP in the following areas:

  • Data Science
  • Implementation and Dissemination
Dr. Melinda Nelson
301-435-5278
nelson1@mail.nih.gov
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

For the REACH LRP, NIBIB will accept applications that propose research within NIBIB’s interests but do not meet the research eligibility requirements for Clinical, Pediatric or Health Disparities as defined by the Loan Repayment Program at www.lrp.nih.gov/apply. NIBIB’s interests include the development and integration of advanced bioengineering, sensing, imaging, and computational technologies for the improvement of human health and medical care. NIBIB encourages applications from researchers from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031). Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the NIBIB LRP Liaison before they begin to prepare their application https://www.lrp.nih.gov/contact-engage.

Dr. Joan Greve
301-451-6649
joan.greve@nih.gov

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

NICHD will consider funding applications for the REACH LRP that (1) do not meet the research project eligibility requirements for the Clinical, Pediatrics, Health Disparities or the Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Programs, (2) do meet all other LRP eligibility requirements, and (3) are submitted by applicants whose research efforts will entirely pursue one or more Priority topics listed at the web pages for NICHD’s extramural branches or that of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research.

Dr. Steve Kaufman kaufmans@mail.nih.gov
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact NIDCD before submitting an application and provide a 1-page statement addressing each REACH LRP objectives and NIDCD priorities listed below.

LRP-REACH Objective

  • The objective of the LRP-REACH is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into research careers to pursue major gaps in biomedical and biobehavioral research and/or expand research in emerging areas critical to human health.
  • Emerging areas are considered new areas of biomedical and biobehavorial research that are ripe for targeted investments that can have a transformative relevance and impact for years to come.

NIDCD Priorities

  • NIDCD's priorities include investigators conducting basic and clinical research in emerging NIDCD-relevant research priority scientific areas as described in the NIDCD Strategic Plan.
  • NIDCD encourages applications from investigators from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031).

Dr. Alberto Rivera-Rentas
301-451-3245
riverara@mail.nih.gov
National institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

A high priority for the NIDCR is developing and sustaining a robust dentist-scientist research workforce. The dentist-scientist research workforce is vital for the expertise it brings to identifying important clinical questions that drive basic discoveries, enhancing diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, and improving dental, oral and craniofacial health. The NIDCR Dentist-Scientist REACH program will accept applications from dentist-scientist performing basic, clinical, translational, social science and behavioral research that align with the NIDCR Extramural Grant Programs.

Dr. Lynn King
301-594-5006
lynn.king@nih.gov
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

NIDDK will accept applications for the REACH LRP that do not meet the research eligibility requirements for the Clinical (L30), Pediatric (L40) or Health Disparities (L60) LRP programs and that are within the missions of NIDDK in the following areas:

  1. Physician-scientists conducting non-clinical research
  2. Clinical and/or biomedical informatics; biostatistics; data science; computer science
Dr. David Saslowsky
301-594-8876
david.saslowsky@nih.gov
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

NIDA will be accepting LRP REACH applications for each of the following categories:

  • Forensic Pathologists and Medical Examiners working in the field of drug overdose
  • Addiction scientists working in drug development
  • Data Scientists/Computational Neuroscientists focusing on addiction

For eligibility questions please visit lrp.nih.gov or contact NIDAs LRP office at NIDA_LRP@nida.nih.gov.

Dr. Lindsey Friend
301-443-4577
NIDA_LRP@nida.nih.gov
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

NIEHS accepts applications describing research projects that will have a defined impact on the environmental health sciences and is responsive to its mission and the NIEHS 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. Applications submitted to the NIEHS LRP must have a research focus on exposure-health related responses from environmental agents within the NIEHS mission (e.g., industrial chemicals or manufacturing byproducts, metals, pesticides, herbicides, air pollutants and other inhaled toxicants, particulates or fibers, fungal, and bacterial or biologically derived toxins). Agents considered within the primary mission responsibility of other NIH Institutes and Centers include, but are not limited to: alcohol; chemotherapeutic agents; radiation that is not a result of an ambient environmental exposure; smoking, except when considered as a secondary smoke exposure that is a component in the indoor environment (particularly in children); drugs of abuse; pharmaceuticals; dietary nutrients; and infectious or parasitic agents. Applications that focus entirely, or primarily, on these exposure factors will be not be considered.

For the purposes of the REACH-LRP, applications in the following emerging areas and/or sub-areas will be prioritized:

  • Microbiome-relevant research that characterizes the interaction among host biological pathways, environmental exposures, and resident microbial communities
    • Development of strategies to determine causality between environmental exposures and changes in microbiome composition.
    • Development of microbial-based intervention approaches for toxicity or exposure-related health outcomes.
  • Research that utilizes or promotes the utilization of exposomics in human health studies
    • Developing innovative tools and methodologies to improve exposure assessment or enable measurement of emerging environmental exposures.
    • Integrating multiscale exposure data with health data to gain holistic view of the relationship between exposure and disease.
    • Using a systems approach to study the exposure-response interface for better understanding of complex effects of the environment.
  • Research that develops and/or applies advanced data science tools and methodologies to address environmental health research questions
    • Developing computational tools, software, and infrastructures to share, integrate, and analyze environmental health data.
    • Applying methods from data science fields, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Statistical Modeling and Analysis, Graph Theory, and Semantic
  • Engineering to solve environmental health problems.
    • Leading community-based development of data and metadata standards for environmental health, including standardized vocabularies and ontologies.
  • Innovative research related to integrating large-scale genomics and environmental data in population studies to understand gene-environment interactions in complex disease.
  • Innovative research related to use of new functional genomics tools and technologies to understand genetic susceptibility to environmental exposures.

NIEHS makes its funding decisions based on scientific merit responsiveness to the Institute's priorities and availability of funds.

Ms. Astrid Haugen, M.S.E.H.
984-287-3266
haugen@niehs.nih.gov
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

NIGMS will only accept REACH LRP applications for NIGMS-funded scholars supported by the Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) Postdoctoral Career Transition Award to Promote Diversity (K99/R00) who are conducting research at Non-Federal Government institutions.

Dr. Darren Sledjeski
darren.sledjeski@nih.gov
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

For the purposes of the REACH LRP, NIMH will prioritize applications from investigators with clinically oriented degrees who are licensed to practice medicine and conducting basic research aligned with NIMH’s strategic plan. Such degrees include, but are not limited to M.D. and M.D/Ph.D. NIMH encourages applications from investigators from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-231) that are conducting basic research.

Dr. Mark Chavez
301-443-8942
Mchavez1@mail.nih.gov
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)

For the Research in Emerging Areas Critical to Human Health (REACH) program, NIMHD supports applications in the following areas:

  • COVID-19 and other public health emergencies
  • Maternal and infant mortality/morbidity
  • Social epigenomics
  • Suicide in health disparity populations
  • Health effects and impact on health care systems and services of rapid environmental change
  • Firearm related injuries and mortalities
  • Sleep disparities
  • Data science in health disparities
  • Health IT and management of chronic disease
  • Multi-level, Multi-domain analysis

LCDR Michael Banyas, USPHS, M.P.A., M.A. (candidate)
banyasmj@nih.gov

Dr. Dorothy Castille
301-594-9411 NIMHD_LRP_Programs@mail.nih.gov

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

NINDS encourages LRP applications from any individual who is conducting research within the NINDS mission that

  1. Will fill an important gap in knowledge about the mechanisms or treatment of neurological disorders and diseases
  2. Will fill an important gap in understanding basic biological processes that are critical to understanding how disease alters neurological function
  3. Will expand research or open new avenues of investigation into neurological disorders and diseases.

General NINDS priorities and policies regarding the LRP can be found at https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Funding/Apply-Funding/Loan-Repayment-Programs.

Dr. Stephen Korn
301-496-4188
korns@ninds.nih.gov
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

NINR will give priority to applicants with interests in research that emphasizes the impact of social determinants of health and has policy implications, including research based on natural experiments. Applications should include clear statements describing the applicant’s eligibility. NINR encourages applications from investigators from diverse backgrounds, including those from groups underrepresented in biomedical sciences (see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031).

Dr. David Banks
301-496-9558
david.banks@nih.gov
National Library of Medicine (NLM)

NLM will accept applications for the REACH LRP that are Informatics/Data Science-focused research projects that do not meet the research eligibility requirements for Clinical, Pediatric or Health Disparities as defined by the LRP, and apply artificial intelligence, machine learning, or use of big data to a health-related domain.

Dr. Richard Palmer
301-496-4254
richard.palmer@nih.gov
John E. Fogarty International Center (FIC)

FIC promotes and supports scientific research and training internationally to broadly advance global health. FIC will support the REACH LRP for scientists proposing research in World Bank-classified low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on any topic of strategic importance to FIC, at any stage along the research spectrum from basic science to late-stage translation and implementation science.

Apply to the NIH institute or center that most closely aligns with your area of research. FIC cannot be listed as the primary institution on applications but can be listed as a secondary institution. FIC is looking for applicants whose research is consistent with the mission of the Center. Candidates must hold a degree including, but not limited to M.D., Pharm. D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., O.D., D.V.M., or equivalent doctoral-level degree from an accredited institution. Selection priority is given to current and former FIC trainees and grantees.

Dr. Brad Newsome
301-480-8389 brad.newsome@nih.gov
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

NCATS will support investigators at the master’s and doctoral levels with expertise in:

  • Data science and health informatics to provide clinical decision support of health care providers
  • Telehealth and mobile health research approaches to improve the health of under-served and under-represented populations.
Dr. David Wilde
301-435-0790
wilded@mail.nih.gov
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

NCCIH accepts applications to the Clinical Research, Pediatric Research, Health Disparities Research, and REACH Loan Repayment Programs. NCCIH’s mission is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care. All applications must be aligned to NCCIH's mission research priorities and strategic plan. Specific for the REACH LRP, NCCIH’s specific interest include the following:

  • Research to advance the understanding of biological mechanisms underlying clustered symptoms (e.g., co-occurring chronic pain, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression)
  • Development of algorithms that predict intervention efficacy from baseline factors (e.g., better understanding of what works for whom and under what conditions)
  • Dissemination and implementation science research for complementary and integrative health interventions with proven efficacy
  • Development of novel tools, methodologies and technologies for the analysis of complex natural products chemical and/or biological data to rapidly identify active components of complex mixtures
  • Exploring impact and/or contribution of microbial metabolism of orally consumed natural products (not amino acids or fiber) on observed biological activity; also exploring role of orally consumed phytochemicals (not amino acids or fiber) on function of gut microflora
  • Inclusion of pharmacokinetic analysis for natural products including assessments of bioavailability and interaction with Phase I and Phase II metabolizing enzymes and transporters
  • Early phase preclinical exploratory natural product discovery for pain as appropriate
  • Developing and testing pilot reliable objective measures of pain outcomes generated by injuries to peripheral tissues such as muscles, fascia, connective tissues, joints, and others
  • Developing and testing measures, outcomes and endpoints of pain in patients of sickle cell disease
  • Developing and testing in vivo labeling technology of tissues or cells responsible for generating signals in response to different internal senses (e.g. mechanical force, temperature, osmolarity, oxygen levels)
  • Developing and testing technology or methods quantifying biomechanical forces applied to internal tissues or cells
  • Exploring the innovative mechanisms of action of sensory-based complementary and integrative approaches
Dr. Lanay Mudd
301-594-9346
lanay.mudd@nih.gov
Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP)

Apply to the NIH institute or center that most closely aligns with your area of research. ORIP cannot be listed as the primary institution but can be listed as a secondary institution on new applications. ORIP gives preference to individuals supported from a research activity funded by the Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) at ORIP. The research must be directly related to the ORIP mission. ORIP will give greater weight to applicants with the D.V.M./V.M.D. or equivalent degree.

For the REACH loan repayment program, ORIP supports applicants with the D.V.M./V.M.D. or equivalent degree that use animal models to pursue major gaps in biomedical and biobehavioral research and expand research in emerging areas critical to human health. Plans for translation of basic research to clinical use would be an essential component of REACH awards supported by ORIP.

Dr. Stephanie Murphy
301-451-7818
stephanie.murphy@nih.gov