Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 3/14/2024

AHRQ Announces Interest in Research on Climate Change and Healthcare

This Special Emphasis Notice (SEN) announces AHRQ’s interest in receiving health services research grant applications that address the intersection of climate change and healthcare. Specifically, applications that address three primary areas:

  • Reducing the healthcare sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.
  • Creating resilient healthcare systems and communities that can plan, prepare, respond, and adapt to climate-related threats.
  • Addressing the inequitable impacts of climate change.

Climate change is the leading threat to public health, contributing to both individual health problems and broader disruptions to vital infrastructure and the healthcare system. The healthcare industry is not only a responder to climate events, but a significant contributor to climate change through its emissions. Research and action are needed on both fronts and must be guided by an equity lens that prioritizes protecting and empowering individuals and communities that face the highest risks and bear the highest burdens of environmental pollution and a changing climate.

Examples of potential research topics include, but are not limited to:

Measuring & Reducing Carbon Footprint

  • What practice & policy interventions are most effective and efficient in reducing the carbon footprint of healthcare organizations and the healthcare supply chain?
  • What measures best capture healthcare organizations’ carbon footprints in a way that’s comparable for purposes of reporting and benchmarking, in particular for Scope 3 emissions?
  • How can healthcare organizations move to a more circular economy that emphasizes environmentally-friendly purchasing, re-use, and waste reduction?

Increasing Resilience

  • What measures of organizations and communities best predict healthcare organizations’ resilience in the face of extreme weather events and other climate-related issues such as supply chain disruption?
  • What infrastructure, technology and actions are associated with increased resilience?
  • What are the most promising resilience practices to scale up?

Addressing Equity

  • How can healthcare organizations and providers use data to identify vulnerable patients and climate-related health threats?
  • What are the most effective ways for healthcare providers to engage with patients and communities around climate issues in order to prepare for and respond to threats?
  • How can healthcare organizations address historic and structural racism and other inequities in their climate and environmental activities?

Most climate-related health services research to date has focused on the hospital setting. AHRQ continues to welcome hospital-focused applications, but also encourages applications that address other provider types and settings, including primary care, long-term care, mental health, and pharmacy. AHRQ also encourages applications for education, training, and conference grants that propose to develop a strong field of climate-savvy health services researchers.

AHRQ encourages research teams to submit applications in response to this SEN using AHRQ’s standing R01, R03, R18, and R13 funding opportunities (PA-18-793PA-18-794PA-18-795PA-22-238). AHRQ also encourages training and education applications that propose developing health service research skills through projects that address climate change.