Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Systems and Services Research to Build a Culture of Health

Achieving racial equity and health equity in American communities requires effective solutions to the “wrong-pocket problem”: we invest in systems that are designed to improve social and economic conditions—such as housing, transportation, education, income, and employment assistance; child and family supports; and legal and criminal justice services—but the financial benefits of these often flow elsewhere, in reduced costs for medical care from diseases and injuries prevented. This creates imbalances in power, information, and financial resources that exist across medical, social, and public health systems—a fundamental problem that confronts many attempts at meaningful cross-sector collaboration. Such solutions must allow collaborating organizations to equitably share in the costs and the benefits of multisector collaborative initiatives, and to share in the power and influence that govern these initiatives.

This call for proposals (CFP) will provide funding for new research to rigorously test and evaluate innovative solutions to the wrong-pocket problem that persists across health and social service systems.

Each study funded under the S4A program will undertake the following activities:

  • Design and implement the proposed study that evaluates the impact of an innovative solution to a wrong-pocket problem involving social service systems, medical systems, and/or public health systems.
  • Engage local, state, and/or national stakeholders in the design, implementation, and translation of the research project.
  • Work collaboratively with the S4A national coordinating center and other S4A research investigators to identify and leverage potential synergies across research projects and to disseminate results broadly.
  • Participate actively both in research dissemination and translation mechanisms organized by the national coordinating center and RWJF, including research-in-progress webinars, blogs, podcasts, research meetings, and policy briefings.
  • Identify and pursue opportunities for research expansion, replication, and follow-on studies from RWJF and other research funding agencies.
  • Attend RWJF’s Annual Sharing Knowledge Conference and 4Action Conference each year the grant is active

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, and scientific publication. Applicants from nonacademic settings, which do not have an embedded research unit, are strongly encouraged to partner with a research institution to provide this expertise. As part of this funding award, RWJF may suggest that selected applicants get training and technical assistance from one of several excellent resources like those at RESDAC, SHADAC, All-In, and AcademyHealth.