Peer Review Committees
Grant applications that are assigned programmatically to NIMH (those that are given an MH application number) will be assigned to a peer review committee at either the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which serves all funding Institutes and Centers of the NIH, or the NIMH Extramural Review Branch (ERB). Information about the committees in both of these locations is provided below.
If your application is submitted to a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that designates NIMH as the locus of review (please see Section V. Application Review Information, 2. Review and Selection Process), it will be reviewed in the NIMH ERB; these FOAs are typically NIMH-initiated PARs or RFAs.
The NIMH ERB also reviews:
- Career development applications (for example, K01, K23) that propose mental health services or interventions research
- Mental health-related applications submitted to particular grant mechanisms, such as, K99, P50, P30, T32, R13
Otherwise, your application will likely be assigned to CSR for review (note, there are exceptions). The CSR study section information page provides details about the CSR committees and rosters.
The NIMH Extramural Review Branch includes two standing committees for review of mental health intervention and services applications:
- Mental Health Services Study Section (SERV)
- Effectiveness of Mental Health Interventions Study Section (EMHI)
Learn more about shared interests and overlap between SERV and EMHI.
All other NIMH review committees are Special Emphasis Panels (SEPs). A SEP is a one-time meeting of a group of experts called in to review a specific group of applications or even a single application. The meeting code for an NIMH SEP always begins with ZMH1.
The meeting rosters for SERV , EMHI , and the NIMH SEPs can also be found on the Office of Extramural Research webpage for the NIH Scientific Review Group Rosters page . Additional information regarding specific areas covered by SERV and EMHI are available below.
Please note: Key personnel of pending applications should not contact members of advisory or review committees on any aspect of their grant applications. Instead, contact the Scientific Review Officer for the review committee listed on the meeting roster if you have questions about the peer review process.
If you have any additional questions about the peer review committees or their functions, please email Nicholas Gaiano, Ph.D., chief, NIMH Extramural Review Branch.
Mental Health Services Study Section (SERV)
Consistent with the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research and its stated aim to improve evidence-based services that reach the broadest population, the Mental Health Services Study Section (SERV) will review applications focused on research topics in mental health services, including:
- Delivery and financing of services
- Accessibility, use, quality, cost, and outcomes of services
- The impact of health and insurance policy changes
- Dissemination and implementation of evidence-based and promising new preventive, treatment, and services interventions
It will also review applications that focus on improving scientific methods to be applied in mental health services research and methods for improving the design and analytic techniques for testing and delivery of new preventive, treatment and services interventions.
Major areas of focus will include improved understanding of the factors that contribute to optimal service availability, practice, and sustainability in a variety of care settings and in diverse communities; contextual factors that contribute to more personalized and effective mental health services; and processes for efficient and ongoing assessment, monitoring, and improvement. Research may focus on organizations, systems, or communities and may examine engagement in and adherence to mental health treatment and services. Research may involve a range of techniques, including primary clinical research, qualitative and observational techniques, and/or secondary data analyses. Applications specific to mental health policy development and outcomes will also be reviewed in SERV.
Specific Areas Covered by SERV
- Delivery and effectiveness of mental health services
- Multiple criteria evaluation of effectiveness of treatment and services
- Use of pharmacological agents in the treatment of mental illness
- Optimal organization of mental health and related services
- Services needs of particular populations
- Help-seeking behavior and health care utilization
- Evaluation of innovative service delivery models
- Establishing and testing standards for quality of care
- Evaluation of services for individuals with multiple co-morbid conditions in persons with mental health disorders
- Methodological and statistical challenges inherent in conducting mental health services research in community settings
- Evaluation of dissemination and implementation methods on improving mental health services
- The effect of social and cultural contexts on the delivery of, acceptance of, and/or barriers to care and on the acceptance of mental illness and persons with mental illness and treatment of such persons in care delivery settings
Effectiveness of Mental Health Interventions Study Section (EMHI)
Consistent with the NIMH Strategic Plan and its stated focus on generating information about the interventions that most benefit clients in real-world settings, the Effectiveness of Mental Health Interventions Study Section (EMHI) will review applications focused on developing and testing interventions in community practice settings, with an emphasis on studies examining clinical effectiveness and the early phases of community implementation.
Research may focus on developing and testing interventions for various mental health conditions (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorders, suicidality) across age groups (for example, children, adolescents, adults, older adults), and within a range of community and practice settings (such as community mental health centers, primary care, schools). Research may also cover the spectrum of mental health interventions from prevention and early intervention to treatment research. In addition to research project applications, EMHI will also include applications on these topics that are devoted to career development.
Specific Areas Covered by EMHI
- Pilot and feasibility studies investigating the generalization and optimization of interventions in community settings
- Pilot and feasibility studies that systematically adapt interventions to improve their fit and impact in community settings
- Pilot and feasibility studies in community settings in preparation for well-powered effectiveness studies
- Large-scale pragmatic clinical trials of psychosocial interventions, technology-assisted interventions, and other intervention approaches (such as multi-modal or integrative intervention approaches, modular or stepped care intervention approaches)
- Large-scale pragmatic clinical trials designed to demonstrate that an intervention’s preliminary therapeutic signal and mechanisms of action persist in community settings
Shared Interests and Overlaps
Applications that focus on testing interventions or service models designed to predominantly enhance treatment or services access, engagement, and/or adherence are reviewed in SERV, as well as studies of stigma reduction. In addition, applications focused on testing interventions or service models designed to predominantly enhance quality of life outcomes (such as education, employment, housing, social skills) in persons with mental disorders are reviewed in SERV. Applications that focus on testing interventions designed to predominantly improve clinical mental health outcomes are reviewed in EMHI.
Applications that focus on testing the later stages of intervention implementation in which implementation strategies are experimentally manipulated or compared (for example, Hybrid Type 2 and Type 3 trials) are reviewed in SERV. Applications that focus on testing the earlier stages of intervention implementation (for example, Hybrid Type 1 trials), including exploration of barriers and facilitators to intervention implementation, are reviewed in EMHI.