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This summer, PCORI’s Board of Governors approved a set of eight broad topic themes that will inform PCORI’s funding opportunities over the next several cycles. The themes speak to everyday health issues facing large numbers of Americans including children, youth, and older adults, and address timely topics such as violence and trauma, substance use, and mental and behavioral health. They were distilled from the wealth of public input received from a broad spectrum of stakeholders including formal public comments made during PCORI’s recent strategic planning effort.

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The topic themes, clustered into three groups, are as follows:

Populations
  1. Promoting healthy children and youth
  2. Promoting health for older adults
Health behavior
  1. Addressing violence and trauma
  2. Addressing substance use
Health conditions
  1. Improving cardiovascular health
  2. Managing pain
  3. Promoting sleep health
  4. Improving mental and behavioral health

The themes will be further developed with continuing stakeholder input, but our intention is that the announcement of these broad themes will provide the patient-centered outcomes research community with more time to identify collaborators, obtain stakeholder input on potential projects, and develop responsive, high-quality proposals. The themes will guide both focused funding opportunities and broader, investigator-initiated opportunities.

We developed these themes to help guide our focused funding opportunities on issues that matter to patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders where there are important information needs and research questions to be addressed.

PCORI will also continue to develop focused funding opportunities related to four ongoing key topics—improving outcomes for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, preventing maternal morbidity and mortality, COVID-19, and rare disease—in addition to the regular, broader calls for proposals on a variety of topics through funding announcements such as those issued under Broad Pragmatic Studies and PLACER.

Extensive Stakeholder Input Shapes Theme Development

We developed these themes to help guide our focused funding opportunities on issues that matter to patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders where there are important information needs and research questions to be addressed.

Input to inform the selection of these themes was gathered through multiple sources—including stakeholder convenings, systematic reviews, PCORI Advisory Panel discussions, and research agendas produced via convenings funded by PCORI Engagement Awards—as well as public comment received on the draft National Priorities for Health and Research Agenda during the development of PCORI’s Strategic Plan. The themes are intentionally broad, and additional stakeholder engagement will drive further refinement of the areas of focus within the themes.

“These themes represent areas for potential comparative clinical effectiveness research and other related activities identified from across our stakeholder community," said PCORI Executive Director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. "We encourage the broad patient-centered outcomes research community to begin thinking about possible partnerships and projects that will produce evidence to help patients and others make decisions across these important populations, health behaviors, and health conditions."

PCORI utilized several criteria to guide the distillation of stakeholder input into the eight themes approved by the Board:

  • Alignment with the National Priorities for Health and Research Agenda
  • Representation of high-burden and high-impact conditions or issues for patients, caregivers, and healthcare systems
  • Resonance with multiple stakeholders
  • Areas in which PCORI funding will make an impact

Funding announcements and other updates related to these themes will be issued in the coming months and we encourage stakeholders to sign up to receive PCORI funding announcement emails.

What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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