Resilient and Responsive Health Systems (RRHS) Initiative

Funding Agency:
Health Resources and Services Administration

This announcement solicits applications for the Resilient and Responsive Health Systems (RRHS) Initiative, a five-year program to strengthen human resources for health (HRH) in order to address public health challenges like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan and to achieve health system resiliency. This RRHS Initiative seeks to address fundamental health systems constraints that impede the availability of and access to quality health services by supporting the implementation of countries’ national health strategies and recovery plans to respond to emerging epidemics, prevent, manage and control HIV and other diseases, and improve population health outcomes.

The resilience of a health system is its capacity to respond and adapt to planned and unplanned needs, and the ability to absorb shocks, such as a disease outbreak, natural disaster, or conflict.1 Decades of experience in health systems development in fragile states have demonstrated a need to address weaknesses in HRH, policy, leadership, management capacity, service delivery, and data collection and evaluation through the World Health Organization’s health system building blocks framework, 2 taking into consideration also the capacity, security situation, and state of health in each state. In fragile states, these core structural components of the health system are by definition weak and incomplete, often characterized by the inability to provide health services to a large proportion of the population; insufficient coordination, oversight and monitoring of health services; ineffective or nonexistent referral systems; inadequate management capacity; lack of health equity; lack of health infrastructure for delivering health services; a lack of mechanisms for developing, establishing and implementing national health policies; and non-operational health information systems.

Achieving an AIDS-free generation is dependent upon the ability of people at risk and/or living with HIV and AIDS to find and access quality health services, providers and products. A well-functioning and resilient health system meets these needs, effectively supporting prevention, care and treatment for HIV and AIDS, TB, malaria, and other diseases. 

  • Duke Internal Deadline: July 11, 2016
  • Sponsor Deadline: August 5, 2016

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

  • Priority 1: Build a skilled fit-for-purpose-and-practice health workforce that increases the quantity and quality of health services provided in these four countries.
  • Priority 2: Improve the quality and use of HRH information in decision making.
  • Priority 3: Enhance community-based care and its ability to respond to current and future health needs.
  • Priority 4: Strengthen country capacity to plan, implement, manage, and monitor the health system through policy, regulation, and leadership development.
  • Priority 5: Promote an enabling fiscal environment for health workforce development.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants include domestic and foreign public and private non-profit entities, including institutions of higher education, and for profit entities. Faith-based and community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations are eligible to apply.

Applicants are required to apply as a consortium that at minimum includes collaborations with two impact partner entities from the RRHS Focus Country. Applications from U.S. domestic organizations are strongly encouraged to include African institutions with the relevant expertise as consortium partners, with the long-term goal of strengthening networks within Africa. African applicants may include collaboration with institutions in the U.S., other high income countries (HICs), or other low and middle income countries’ (LMIC) institutions with particular expertise in the proposed priority areas as consortium partners. 

NOTE: Multiple submissions from an applicant for this announcement are allowable if the applicant is applying for more than one RRHS focus country. An institution may serve as the applicant institution for one RRHS focus country application, and choose to serve as an applicant institution or consortium partner for another RRHS focus country application. Technical partners and impact partners may participate in more than one application institution consortium proposal. 

Amount Description

Up to $6,000,000 is expected to be available in Year One (1) and up to $8,000,000 annually in subsequent years to fund up to four recipients. You may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $1,500,000 per RRHS Focus Country in Year One and up to $2,000,000 per RRHS Focus Country in Years Two (2) through Five (5).

Funding Type





International Opportunities
Medical - Clinical Science
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages - Please indicate your country of focus and whether your proposal is as an applicant institution or consortium member.
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

July 11, 2016

External Deadline

August 5, 2016