Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems

2021 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: April 19, 2021 | Application Deadline: Mon, 28 Jun 2021

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to building a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. Since 2017, the Foundation’s Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems (RTHS) program, managed by AcademyHealth, has helped advance this vision by supporting rigorous, empirical studies that help policymakers, practitioners, stakeholders, and others understand the effects of current or potential policies to transform health and health care systems.


The Medicaid program is facing tremendous opportunities and challenges at a time when its role is so vital. States and the federal government have implemented numerous temporary changes to Medicaid in response to the pandemic—such as making it easier to access, qualify and enroll in state coverage and affordable health care services.

With states having the option to make some policies permanent once federal declarations end—it is essential to understand how Medicaid policies being implemented or considered in response to the pandemic may advance racial equity—or, alternatively, reinforce or exacerbate structural racism. Evidence on these issues is needed to inform Medicaid policy in the months and years after the pandemic ends, and to help state and federal Medicaid policymakers identify and eliminate policies that contribute to racial inequities in access, care, and outcomes.

The purpose of this 2021 RTHS call for proposals is to fund research studies that evaluate or predict how enrollees are effected by Medicaid policy changes enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, we are requesting studies that examine the impact of Medicaid policies on communities of color and/or explore how current or proposed policies may alleviate or exacerbate racial inequity and structural racism in the context of Medicaid. The goal of this funding opportunity is to generate rigorous evidence on the effects of recent Medicaid policy changes on enrollees, states, and others, and to inform and advance equitable policies and racial equity in Medicaid.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • Preference will be given to applicants that are 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 Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • Projects may be generated from disciplines including health services research; economics; sociology; program evaluation; political science; public policy; public health; public administration; law; business administration; or other related fields.
  • Consistent with our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Commitment, we particularly encourage applicants with project directors or team members from backgrounds historically underrepresented in research disciplines as a result of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, or other factors.

Key Dates

April 19, 2021
Call for proposals released.

May 3, 2021 (3–4 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar.

June 28, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of brief proposals.

September 13, 2021
Applicants notified whether invited to submit full proposals.

November 1, 2021 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of full proposals.

March 4, 2022
Notification of finalists.

May 1, 2022
Grants start.

Total Awards

  • Up to $1.75 million will be available under this CFP.
  • Funding will range from $150,000 to $350,000 per project to accommodate studies of 12 to 36 months. Applicants should request the amount of funding they will need to complete the proposed research and to translate and disseminate the results. Applicants should propose a grant period that supports the timely dissemination of findings to inform policy.
  • We expect to fund a diverse range of studies with varying budgets and time lines.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
June 28, 2021, 3:00 p.m. ET

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