The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a funding opportunity for research studying digital health interventions and how they can help solve the secondary effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Secondary effects of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, declines in mental health and increases in substance abuse, suicide, and sleep disturbances. NIH is particularly concerned with the long-term secondary effects that COVID-19 will have on members of communities which face social and health vulnerabilities.
Given the strain that COVID-19 has placed on healthcare institutions, digital health will be key in supplementing and, in some cases, replacing in-person care options, especially for those who do not have adequate access to existing options. Because of the increasing role digital options will take in the provision of healthcare, NIH requests research which assesses the value and future applications of digital options in mitigating the secondary effects of pandemics.
Proposed research should study digital platforms which already exist and are widely used. This is necessary for streamlining the research process and increasing the potential robustness of results. In addition to assessing the value of digital platforms in mitigating the secondary COVID-19 effects, NIH expects researchers to propose additional studies which go “beyond the primary effectiveness trial.”
Upcoming deadlines to apply to NIH for this opportunity are August 20, 2020, December 2, 2020, and March 2, 2021. Budgets are limited to $750,000 in direct costs annually, for up to three years.