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2008 NIMH Outreach Partnership Program Solicitation

Prepared by:
Outreach Partnership Program
Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison
National Institute of Mental Health

Solicitation for the Following: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Southern California

The National Institute of Mental Health is now soliciting proposals from organizations interested in becoming Outreach Partners in the following states: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Southern California. Organizations that conduct statewide or regional outreach that focuses on mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders interested in becoming Outreach Partners are invited to participate in this competitive process. The Program supports Outreach Partners in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Please note: California, Texas, and New York each have two Partners per state responsible for their specific region.

General Program Requirements

Each Outreach Partner is expected to conduct statewide or regional, science-based mental health outreach and educational activities each year aimed at specific groups and the media. The list below summarizes what is expected of Outreach Partners. Each item is described in more detail in the Statement of Work section of this Solicitation.

  1. Designate a person to manage your organization's overall participation in the Outreach Partnership Program. This person will serve as a primary contact with NIMH. Also, designate a backup contact person.
  2. Attend annual meeting of the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program and participate in additional educational activities.
  3. Conduct a mental health communications program that targets the general public using print and broadcast media to promote science-based messages on mental health, drug abuse, and/or alcoholism.
  4. Design and implement an educational outreach program targeting at least one racial or ethnic minority group.
  5. Promote volunteer participation in clinical trials/studies sponsored by the NIMH and NIH at state and local levels.
  6.  

    Partners are required to complete EITHER task 6 or 7 below:

  7. Arrange science-based presentations for groups that serve as gatekeepers to special populations.
  8. Arrange science-based presentations to at least one major employer in your state or region for management staff, employee assistance professionals, or employees.

Partners will be asked to submit on-line progress reports twice a year.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the position being opened for competition.

Organizational Eligibility and Capabilities

Requirements
To be eligible to be considered for an award, an organization must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Location:
    To serve as an Outreach Partner in a particular state, the organization must be located and have a mailing address in that state and that state must be listed in the current Solicitation.
  2. Infrastructure:
    • Organizations that are tax exempt, with a not-for-profit-status, under any section of the United States tax code.
    • Organization that meets Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) requirements.
    • Stable organizational infrastructure, staffing, and financial solvency.
    • Capacity to disseminate science-based information regionally or statewide.
  3. Information Technology capabilities that include:
    • Regular access to e-mail and the Internet (at least once a week).
    • An organization Web site that can meet the following criteria: (1) provides an accurate description of the Outreach Partnership Program; (2) provides links to the NIMH and the Outreach Partnership Program Web pages; the NIH, NIMH, and NIDA Clinical Trials Web pages; and the NIMH and NIDA publication Web pages.

  4. Preferences

  5. Experience
    NIMH is looking for a diversity of strengths in its Outreach Partners. Likely awardees will have a track record of success in each of the required tasks (this should be described in your proposal under those tasks). Some awardees will supplement their current activities with NIMH messages and materials; others will need to expand current programming.
  6. Leveraging Funds
    Applicants with a demonstrated ability to use one source of funding as leverage to raise additional funds (unrestricted educational grants or in-kind contributions from other sources, such as foundations and corporations) are preferred.

Benefits to Outreach Partners

The Outreach Partnership Program will provide the following benefits during the contract's period of performance.

Stipend
Each Outreach Partner should anticipate a $7,500 annual stipend. NIMH recognizes that the stipend will not cover the costs of the tasks required, and encourages Partners to use it to leverage additional resources. The award monies are offered in recognition of each organization's partnership with NIMH. All costs associated with performing the required work and meeting the timeline and deliverables schedule shall be the responsibility of each Outreach Partner. The current solicitation for proposals is funded for an initial year, and will automatically be renewed annually for four years unless Partners do not meet the general program requirements or funding for the program ends. Not meeting the general program requirements may result in the Partnership position being opened to competition.

Education
NIMH will cover costs for Outreach Partners to travel to the Program's annual meeting that serves as an educational and information exchange opportunity for Partners. NIMH and its Federal Partners will also provide Outreach Partners with information on cutting-edge research in mental health, substance abuse, and service issues, such as evidence-based practices and implementation models. Teleconferences are available for education and information exchange as well.

Networking
The annual meeting brings together researchers, stakeholders, Outreach and National Partners, and NIMH, NIDA, and SAMHSA staff. At this meeting, Partners learn about advances in scientific research and treatment best practices, and have opportunities to collaborate with one another and with National Partners. NIMH also facilitates electronic networking through a Partners Only Web site and listserv.

Materials
Outreach Partners will receive via electronic distribution the Update every two weeks, which summarizes the latest mental health and substance abuse research findings, recently released Federal grant opportunities, and new government resources. In addition, Outreach Partners will have access to larger quantities of NIMH publications and other materials for statewide and regional distribution.

Other Benefits
Formal association with NIH/NIMH will enhance Outreach Partners' visibility and will provide organizations with the most current science-based information. Outreach Partners will have opportunities to give NIMH direct feedback on research priorities, which will help to shape the national research agenda in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. This dialogue will provide insights that will help the NIH/NIMH meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.

Background on NIMH

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is one of 27 components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal government's principal biomedical and behavioral research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIMH mission is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior. This public health mandate demands that we harness powerful scientific tools to achieve better understanding, treatment, and eventually, prevention of these disabling conditions that affect millions of Americans. To fulfill its mission, the Institute conducts research on mental disorders and the underlying basic science of brain and behavior; supports research on these topics at universities and hospitals around the United States; collects, analyzes, and disseminates information on the causes, occurrence, and treatment of mental illnesses; supports the training of more than 1,000 scientists to carry out basic and clinical research; and communicates information to scientists, the public, the news media, and primary care and mental health professionals about mental illnesses, the brain, behavior, mental health, and opportunities and advances in research in these areas. For additional information on the Institute and its mission, goals, and activities, please see the Institute's web site.

Description of the Outreach Partnership Program

The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide educational outreach initiative of NIMH, with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and in cooperation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Program enlists national and state organizations to help bridge the gap between research and clinical practice by disseminating the latest scientific findings; informing the public about mental disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction; and reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with these illnesses. The Program strives to increase public awareness about the importance of basic and clinical research in improving treatments for and ultimately curing and preventing, mental illnesses and addiction disorders through advancing knowledge about the brain and behavior. The Program also provides a vehicle for NIMH to engage community groups across the U.S. in developing a national research agenda grounded in public health need.

There are currently 51 Outreach Partner organizations in the Program; one competitively selected partner in every state in the U.S., the District of Columbia, and two partners in New York and Texas. Each Outreach Partner operates independently of the NIMH and is chosen through a competition where applications are reviewed by a panel of experts and NIMH staff. As part of their agreement with NIMH, each Outreach Partner conducts statewide or regional mental health outreach and education for the public, health professionals, schools, racial or ethnic groups, historically underserved populations, and/or other groups to help fulfill the Program's mission. In return for their efforts, Outreach Partners receive additional benefits: monetary compensation in the form of a small stipend; travel reimbursement to the annual meeting; access to larger quantities of NIMH publications at no cost; and various networking opportunities including a listserv and a biweekly Update with news and resources.

The complete list of current Outreach Partners can be found on the NIMH Web site.

Statement of Work

Task 1: Managing the Project
Designate a person that is responsible for the management of your organization's participation in the Program, including accomplishing the tasks, ensuring that all educational outreach efforts are science-based, and preparing contract deliverables. This person will serve as the primary point of contact. Also designate a backup contact person.

Each Outreach Partner organization must be able to work toward the goals of the Outreach Partnership Program and must have adequate staff to accomplish the required tasks and prepare the contract deliverables. Outreach Partners must also have a commitment to science-based education and serve as a leader in their state or region by:

  • Developing a relationship with a qualified scientific advisor who agrees to review all locally developed public and professional education materials and messages (including presentations) for scientific accuracy. This advisor should be:
    1. A psychiatrist, psychologist, neuroscientist/neurobiologist, or doctoral level social worker;
    2. Actively or recently engaged in research related to mental health/mental illness or substance abuse (as indicated by recent publications in a peer-reviewed journal or by recent awards of research grants or contracts in the field of mental health/illness and/or substance abuse); and
    3. Affiliated with a university, teaching hospital, or academic center.
  • Working with your organization's State Mental Health Program Director's office and/or your State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director's office on statewide committees, initiatives, and other activities.

Task 2: Educational Activities
Primary or backup person must participate in all NIMH Outreach Partnership Program educational activities.

NIMH is committed to helping Outreach Partners enhance their ability to provide mental health and substance abuse educational outreach, and we expect a reciprocal commitment from each Outreach Partner. Outreach Partners are expected to demonstrate this commitment by taking full advantage of the following opportunities:

  • Attend the Program's annual meeting. (All costs for one person to attend are covered by the Program.)
  • Participate in the flow of information among all Partners by regularly monitoring (at least once a week) and contributing to discussions on the listserv established for Outreach Partners.
  • Utilize the NIMH and Outreach Partnership Program Web sites.
  • Participate in teleconferences.

Task 3: Media Outreach
Use local and state media/press (print and broadcast) to promote science-based messages targeting the general public throughout your state or region on mental health, drug abuse, and/or alcoholism.

Outreach Partners will work to increase public awareness of the critical role of research in expanding the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders and to improve the lives of people affected by these disorders. In working with the media, Partners will be encouraged to use information and documents provided by NIMH and its Federal Partners. Outreach Partners will have access to the latest scientific findings, publications, and public service announcements (PSAs) from the Program.

Task 4: Outreach to Underserved Populations
Conduct outreach activities to at least one racial or ethnic minority group, such as African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos, or Native American/Alaska Natives to deliver science-based messages throughout your state or region. Outreach Partners will collaborate with communities to target individuals where they live and craft messages and materials so they are culturally appropriate. Outreach efforts will target selected minority groups and gatekeepers.

Task 5: Clinical Trials Recruitment
Promote volunteer participation in clinical trials/studies sponsored by the NIMH and NIH at state and local levels, for example:

  • Provide a link on your organization's Web site to the NIMH Clinical Trials Web page as well as the research-study recruitment web pages of NIH , and our Federal Partners, NIDA  and SAMHSA.
  • Refer constituents to clinical trials currently recruiting participants. (Work with universities, researchers and your scientific advisor to determine appropriate trials.)
  • Communicate the benefits of participation in clinical trials for your constituents. For example, invite researchers or your scientific advisor to present at a meeting about these benefits.
  • Act as a resource for universities and research institutions in your state in determining research priorities for conducting mental health research.

A clinical trial (also known as clinical studies or clinical research) is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people and ways to improve health. For more information, go to ClinicalTrials.gov . NIH is developing various strategies for increasing awareness of the importance of clinical trials and of voluntary participants.

Task 6 and 7 both focus on science-based presentations. All Outreach Partners must accomplish EITHER task 6 or task 7 each year. While your organization may be currently conducting activities in both of these areas, for the purposes of this Solicitation, please indicate which task you will be doing as an NIMH Outreach Partner. Science-based presentations should feature spokespeople who are knowledgeable about the latest scientific advances in the mental health and/or substance abuse field. Additionally, NIH/NIMH-produced materials should be distributed, as appropriate, as well as, materials produced by our Federal Partners. The scientific advisor should review the content of presentations, as well as any educational materials developed locally, for scientific accuracy.

Task 6: Gatekeeper Outreach
Arrange science-based presentations for groups that serve as gatekeepers to a special population.

Members and/or staff of one or more of the following organizations or agencies may serve as gatekeepers to your special population:

  • Primary care professionals or other health professionals
  • Schools
  • Professional and civic groups
  • College, university, and veterans' health programs
  • Hospitals and community health clinics
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Criminal justice and law enforcement system

Task 7: Worksite Outreach
Arrange science-based presentations to at least one major employer in your state or region for management staff, employee assistance professionals, or employees at the worksite(s).

Reporting Requirements and Deliverables

In addition to completing the tasks above, Outreach Partners must complete and deliver the following:

  • Online progress report on or before the due date (2 times yearly: March and August due dates).
  • Invoices (Once yearly following completion of spring progress report)

Failure to comply may result in the Partnership position being opened to competition before the official project period ends.

In addition, if you are selected as a successful applicant you will need to register your organization online in the U.S. Federal Government Central Contractor Registration  before an award can be made.

Proposal Review and Evaluation Criteria

Outreach Partner proposals will be reviewed by a panel of outside experts. Reviewers will score each proposal based on evaluation criteria outlined below in the Solicitation and will make recommendations to NIMH. Final decisions will be made by NIMH.

Task 1: Managing the Project (20 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated ability to manage a project; appropriate staffing; qualifications of scientific advisor; scope and frequency of interactions with State Mental Health and/or State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director offices; and commitment and proposed capability to disseminate science-based education.

Task 2: Educational Activities (5 points)
Review will be based upon a commitment to participate in all programmatic educational activities.

Task 3: Media Outreach (15 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated experience; adequacy and creativity of plan; and capacity to evaluate activities.

Task 4: Outreach to Underserved Populations (25 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated experience; adequacy and creativity of plan; proof of need; ability to form relationships with community and civic groups; and capacity to evaluate activities.

Task 5: Clinical Trials Recruitment (10 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated experience; adequacy and creativity of plan; and ability to form relationships with the scientific research community.

Task 6 OR 7: Gatekeeper Outreach or Worksite Outreach (10 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated experience; adequacy and creativity of plan; ability to form relationships with community and professional groups; and capacity to evaluate activities.

Organizational Eligibility and Capabilities: (15 points)
Review will be based upon demonstrated expertise in leveraging funding; stability of staffing and organizational infrastructure; evidence of tax exempt status and EEO requirements; capacity to disseminate science-based information statewide or regionally; and existing information technology infrastructure.

Total Possible Points: 100

Preparing the Proposal

Timeline

  • March 17, 2008: Solicitation available
  • April 7, 2008: Last day to submit questions
  • April 21, 2008: Questions and responses about the Solicitation posted on Web site
  • May 12, 2008: Proposals due at NIMH
  • Summer 2008: Awardees announced

Interested parties can submit questions about the Solicitation from March 17 through April 7, 2008. Answers will be posted on April 21, 2008. You may submit questions to partnerssfpnimh@mail.nih.gov.

Proposal Contents

 

  1. Cover letter signed by an officer of your organization with the authority to commit the organization to the proposal content.
  2. Table of contents
  3. Proposal for completing the required items (See Detailed Instructions)
    • Task 1 — 2-4 pages + resumes/CVs + letters of commitment
    • Task 2 — <1 page
    • Task 3 — 2-3 pages
    • Task 4 — 2-3 pages
    • Task 5 — 1-2 pages
    • Task 6 or 7 (select 1) — 1-2 pages for task selected
    • Organizational Capabilities — 1-2 pages + documentation requested
  4. Submit the Outreach Partnership Program Organization and Contacts Form included as an Appendix.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to stay within the maximum page lengths noted above. Please do not send extraneous material.

Proposal Delivery

Please send six copies of the proposal [including one that is clipped together (not bound) so that it can be easily copied] to:

Outreach Partnership Program
National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Blvd, RM 8189
Bethesda, MD 20892-9624 (for regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for couriers and express mail)
Attention: Outreach Partnership Program Competition

These six copies of your Proposal MUST BE RECEIVED at NIMH by 4:00 pm on May 12, 2008 in order to be considered.

Detailed Proposal Instructions

Task 1: Managing the Project
Maximum 2-4 pages + resumes/CVs + letter of commitment
Total Points: 20

In your proposal include:

  • A description of your organization, including its mission, and membership size.
  • A description of the geographic area your organization currently reaches through existing programs and/or services.
  • A description of the overlap between your organization's goals and the goals of the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program.
  • A description of your organization's experience or capability in facilitating science-based education and service to your state.
  • The person that will be responsible for the management of your organization's participation in the Program, including accomplishing the tasks, ensuring that all educational outreach efforts are science-based, and preparing contract deliverables. This person will serve as the primary point of contact. This individual can be the Executive Director, Director of Education, Community or Government Relation Director, or play some other key role in the organization. Describe how the contact person will oversee the Program. Identify a backup contact and other key staff who will be involved with the Program. Include resumes.
  • A description of your organization's on-going relationship with your State Mental Health Program Director's office, and/or your State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director's office, as well as your plans for continuing to communicate with this office for the duration of your participation in the Program. For example, if you participate on statewide committees or provide input on policy, service system issues, funding, or evidence-based practice initiatives, please describe. Also, indicate how frequently you work with these offices and what projects you have worked on.
  • Your organization's intent and capability to submit a progress report via electronic format twice a year.
  • Name and current position of your scientific advisor and indicate how he/she will work with the Program. Provide abridged curriculum vitae (CV) that includes current or recent research studies with a signed letter of commitment from your scientific advisor.

Task 2: Educational Activities
Maximum <1 page
Total Points: 5

In your proposal briefly confirm your organization's intention to:

  • Send the primary contact person to the Outreach Partnership Program's annual meeting.
  • Participate in educational opportunities offered by the Program.
  • Communicate and network with other Partners by monitoring and contributing to discussions on the listserv established for Partners.

Task 3: Media Outreach
Maximum 2-3 pages
Total Points: 15

In your proposal briefly describe:

  • Current local and state media/press outreach activities conducted by your organization. Include a brief description, if applicable, of how you evaluated those activities. Stronger candidates will have evaluated activities similar to those described in this solicitation
  • Your plan for using print and/or broadcast media to promote science-based messages throughout your state or region targeting the general public including: (1) detailed description of how you will incorporate NIMH materials and press releases into your media outreach activities; and (2) plans on how you will use your scientific advisor as an expert with the media.
  • How this plan will be integrated into the ongoing activities of your organization.

Task 4: Outreach to Underserved Populations
Maximum 2-3 pages
Total Points: 25

In your proposal briefly describe:

  • Current racial and ethnic minority outreach activities your organization is doing or has recently done and how you evaluated those activities (less than 1 page). Stronger candidates will have evaluated activities similar to those described in this solicitation
  • Your plan for implementing an outreach program that targets at least one racial or ethnic minority group. Please include the following: (1) an overview of your organization's partnerships that will enhance the success of this activity; and (2) additional organizations, resources, and networks that would enhance the success of the activity.
  • Your proposal should strike a balance between direct outreach to your target group and activities aimed at gatekeepers to your target group [e.g., primary care physicians, faith-based communities, and civic groups.]
  • The racial and ethnic minority group you plan to target and why. Include demographic information. In rare cases there are too few racial and ethnic minority group members in a state for organized efforts to reach them. In this case, the applicant must do the following: (1) justify the decision with demographic data, and (2) propose targeting another special population (e.g., older adults, school-aged children, rural populations, or college-aged adults).
  • How this plan will be integrated into the ongoing activities of your organization.

Task 5: Clinical Trials Recruitment
Maximum 1-2 pages
Total Points: 10

In your proposal briefly describe:

  • Clinical trial recruitment activities your organization has conducted (if applicable).
  • Your plan for promoting volunteer participation in clinical trials sponsored by NIMH and NIH. Include how your organization will work with universities and other research institutions to refer constituents to clinical trials currently recruiting participants.
  • How your organization will act as a resource for universities and research institutions in your state in determining research priorities for conducting mental health research.
  • How this plan will be integrated into the ongoing activities of your organization.

All Outreach Partners must accomplish EITHER task 6 or task 7 each year. For the purposes of this proposal, please address EITHER task 6 or 7.

Task 6: Gatekeeper Outreach
(Please address either task 6 or 7)
Maximum 1-2 pages for task selected
Total Points: 10

In your proposal briefly describe:

  • Science-based presentations your organization has created and conducted for groups that serve as gatekeepers (e.g., nursing home administrators, school administrators) to a special population. Include a brief description, if applicable, of how you evaluated those activities. Stronger candidates will have evaluated activities similar to those described in this solicitation
  • Your plan for conducting science-based presentations. Also describe the special population you will target and why. Include demographic information.
  • How this plan will be integrated into ongoing activities of your organization.

Task 7: Worksite Outreach
(Please address either task 6 or 7)
Maximum 1-2 pages for task selected
Total Points: 10

In your proposal briefly describe:

  • Science-based presentation(s) your organization has created and conducted for at least one major employer in your state or region for management staff, employee assistance professionals, or employees at the worksite(s). Include a brief description, if applicable, of how you evaluated those activities. Stronger candidates will have evaluated activities similar to those described in this solicitation.
  • Your plan for conducting science-based presentations for the worksite.
  • How this plan will be integrated into your organization's ongoing activities.

Organizational Eligibility and Capabilities
Maximum 1-2 pages + attachments
Total Points: 15

In your proposal provide the following information:

  • Evidence that organization is tax exempt, with a not-for-profit-status, under any section of the United States tax code. (e.g., letter from the Internal Revenue Service).
  • Evidence that your organization meets Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) requirements.
  • Evidence of stable organizational infrastructure, staffing, and financial solvency. (e.g., a copy of the auditors' opinion letter from your current audited financial statements).
  • Capacity to disseminate science-based information statewide or regionally.
  • Current URL of your organization's Web site, and your intention to link to the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program's Web site.
  • Intention to provide accurate description of the Outreach Partnership Program on your Web site.
  • Past experience in leveraging funding.

To receive this document in PDF, please email partnerssfpnimh@mail.nih.gov.