Systems for Action: Systems and Services Research to Build a Culture of Health

Funding Agency:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Systems for Action (S4A) is a signature research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that helps to build the evidence base for a Culture of Health by rigorously testing new ways of connecting the nation’s fragmented medical, social, and public health systems. Studies conducted through the S4A program test innovative mechanisms for aligning delivery and financing systems for medical, social, and public health services, with a focus on the effects of these mechanisms on health and health equity. S4A uses a wide research lens that includes and extends beyond medical care and public health to incorporate social service systems—such as housing, transportation; education; employment; food and nutrition assistance; child and family support; criminal and juvenile justice; and economic and community development. 

Research studies supported through S4A must: 1) focus on solutions to high-priority system alignment problems that involve medical, social, and public health services; 2) test the effectiveness of these solutions using rigorous scientific methods; and 3) engage stakeholders from medical, social, and public health systems in the design and conduct of the research, so that findings can be readily used in practice. 

Studies funded through the S4A program must test a specific system alignment mechanism that engages all three of the broad sectors referenced in this call for proposals (CFP), including medical care, public health, and social services. These sectors are defined in greater detail below. The S4A Research Agenda uses the term “system alignment mechanism” broadly to include any action that an organization, network, or community may undertake to reduce fragmentation and improve coordination in the delivery of medical, social, and public health services.

Deadline: Nov. 6, 2019

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 nonfunctionally 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 have a demonstrated history of successfully managing funds awarded by foundation or government sources. 



Amount Description

This call for proposals will support studies that can be completed over a 36-month period with up to $500,000 in total funding from RWJF. Up to four awards will be selected for funding under this solicitation.   

Each study will be expected to distribute its resources for stakeholder engagement, research implementation, and research dissemination in the most productive and equitable ways. Funded investigators are encouraged to leverage resources from other sources to support research, engagement, and dissemination activities.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

November 6, 2019