Fast-Track proposals will be accepted.
Number of Anticipated Awards: 2-3
Budget (total costs, per award):
Phase I: $200,000 for 9 months;
Phase II: $1,000,000 for 2 years
It is strongly suggested that proposals adhere to the above budget amounts and project periods. Proposals with budgets exceeding the above amounts and project periods may not be funded.
The deadline for receipt of all contract proposals submitted in response to this solicitation has expired. It was: November 25, 2013 by 4:30 p.m. ET.
The NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences aims to reduce risk, incidence, and deaths from cancer, as well as enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors. A key to achieving these goals is to improve health behaviors and access to health services. Because environmental factors affect health behavior, it is critical to develop robust measures of the natural, commercial, policy, and man-made environments to better understand and improve health quality. In the past 20 years there has been an explosive growth in the availability of data related to these environmental features. The federal government has recently increased public access to high value, machine readable data through Data.gov, and HHS has specifically encouraged innovators to utilize health data through the Health Data Initiative at HealthData.gov. Improved data access and geographic linkages have created a growing interest in the development of indices of aggregate measures of the environments related to diet, physical activity, access to health care, and other health-related behaviors. Better methods and access to software tools to easily develop such indices are required for accelerating progress towards NCI’s mission of cancer control, and also have potential applications in other areas of health, policy and the commercial sector.
The skills required to efficiently collect the data underlying potential environmental indices related to cancer risk factors, health services, and diverse aspects of behavior cut across diverse disciplines and require mastery of disparate concepts and technologies. An especially pressing problem is the need to gain efficient access to the ‘digital environment’ in order to collect data from map resources, online archives, and crowd sourced resources related to walking, running routes, commercial venues, street and transit characteristics, and many other data resources. Many potentially interested parties lack the technical capacity required to automate access to diverse data resources from interactive and frequently updated web sources. This lack of capacity is a barrier to the development, evaluation and utilization of environmental indices in the public health field. IT professionals have the ability to collate needed data, but the health community does not always have access or resources to work with IT teams. An appropriate software tool could be useful to facilitate the development of environmental metrics across different areas of expertise.
The purpose of this solicitation is to support the development of an efficient, user-centered software tool that connects diverse data sources to enable the creation of metrics describing the environment related to health behaviors and services. This software tool could accelerate and improve decision making-related planning and policy for cancer prevention and control, cancer related risk factors, decision-making about geographic locales for consumers, and site selection issues for businesses and government organizations.
The products called for are specifically related to cancer prevention and control across the cancer control continuum. For example, improving cancer prevention via fostering positive health behaviors, reducing disparities in early detection and ensuring access to appropriate treatment and end-of-life support all require integration of individual and socio-ecological factors to achieve improvements in health. Notably, construction of environmental metrics could play a key role in guiding efforts to reduce health disparities by facilitating efforts to characterize regions or communities with combinations of interacting characteristics that could lead to disparities in health behaviors and health outcomes.
The developed platform should:
Figure 1. Schematic of capacity and data cycle that enables enhanced development and use of indices of environmental characteristics related to health behaviors and health resource access and use.
Responses to this topic are expected to address the development of efficient methods and platforms to:
Completed projects could be on-line or stand-alone resources, or they could be applications that work with existing spreadsheet, GIS or other software products, but the product should be usable without high-level expertise in the underlying software platform. Vitally, these tools must allow users to efficiently obtain current, up-to-date data automatically from diverse data resources, as many elements of the environment change rapidly, particularly man-made commercial and retail environments.