Systems for Action: Systems and Services Research to Address Systemic Racism

Funding Agency:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This CFP will provide funding for a new cohort of research studies to produce new, actionable evidence about how to help medical, social, and public health systems work together to address forms of systemic racism. Each study funded under this CFP must identify a specific form of systemic racism that limits health and wellbeing for affected populations; and investigate a novel systems alignment strategy for solving the problem that engages relevant representatives from medical care, public health, and social services systems. The systems alignment strategy to be studied must engage all three types of systems that comprise the health and social ecosystem in American communities—medical care, public health, and social services.

This CFP offers two distinct categories of research awards, which are distinguished based on the completion of pilot testing and feasibility testing with the proposed systems alignment strategy. Applicants must read the following descriptions to determine which category of award they are eligible for, and apply only to that category:

Developmental Research
Impact Research

Deadline for Letter of Intent: Feb. 7, 2024

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or non-functionally integrated Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation from applicant organizations. Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories. Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals. Multi-organizational consortia are encouraged to apply as long as a single eligible organization is designated as the primary applicant responsible for maintaining consortium agreements with other participating organizations. The primary applicant organization must demonstrate the ability to successfully manage funds awarded by foundation or government sources.

We welcome applications from people of all personal and professional backgrounds. We especially encourage applications that include:
• Individuals having backgrounds and life experiences that are underrepresented on research teams, including Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other persons of color, first-generation college graduates, and individuals from low-income households.
• Individuals and institutions who are new to RWJF and have not received funding previously.
• Individuals from disciplines outside of the health professions and medical sciences, including but not limited to education, social work, criminal justice, economics, engineering, sociology, transportation, and urban and regional planning.
• Individuals working in nonacademic settings including government agencies, professional associations, and community-based organizations.
• Interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research teams that include individuals with both scientific expertise and operational experience.

Because S4A is a research program, all applicants should make sure that their team includes individuals with relevant expertise in scientific research design, data analysis methodologies,

Applicants are eligible to apply for the Impact Study award category only if they have completed a preliminary study or pilot study of their proposed system alignment approach and can provide documentation about results that confirm the feasibility of the approach and its acceptability to key partners. Acceptable documentation of preliminary studies and/or pilot test results must be submitted with the application, and may include a publication, report, working paper, or research brief. If the preliminary or pilot study was conducted by an organization other than the applicant organization or a partner organization, then the applicant must explain how their organization will ensure that it has the necessary knowledge, experience, community relationships, and trust to replicate and build upon the preliminary results.

Amount Description

Developmental Studies:
Number of awards: Up to five awards will be funded.
Amount of awards: Each award will be up to $100,000.
Award duration: Awards will be up to 12 months.

Impact Studies:
Number of awards: Up to four awards will be funded.
Amount of awards: Each award will be up to $500,000.
Award duration: Awards will be up to 36 months.

Funding Type





Medical - Clinical Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 7, 2024