AOTF Health Services Research Grant Program

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) awards Health Services Research Grants as part of its mission to advance the science of occupational therapy to support people's full participation in meaningful life activities.

Health Services Research (HSR) examines how people get access to health care, how and what care is delivered, the cost of that care, and what happens to patients as a result of receiving or not receiving care.  Specifically, HSR is a multidisciplinary field that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and costs of health care, and ultimately, the health and well-being of health care consumers. 

Health Services Research has a high value to both individuals and society. Past research has yielded information on intervention trends and risk factors, outcome of treatments, and patterns of care.  It has established new health policies, led to significant discoveries, and to the development of new therapies.

A listing of Health Services Research grant recipients is available here including the 2019 awardees.

There are two options for a HSR grant.

HSR Pilot Study Option #1: 

Includes pilot studies examining an occupational therapy-related question using data from administrative or healthcare dataset(s) (e.g. Medicare Administrative data, Health System Electronic Medical records).  

Funding Required: $100,000 per grant. 

Funding may be used to cover full-time equivalent (FTE) for Principal Investigator and other key personnel, data acquisition costs, software for data analysis, consultant fees, and dissemination activities. These studies may run up to 2 years given the time necessary to purchase administrative data, clean the data, and conduct analysis before manuscript development.

HSR Pilot Study Option #2: 

Includes pilot studies examining a rehabilitation question using data from publicly available datasets (e.g., Health and Retirement Survey, National Health and Aging Trends Study, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, LTCFocus).  

Funding Required: $50,000 per grant. 

Funding may be used to cover full-time equivalent (FTE) for Principal Investigator and other key personnel for work and statistical consulting. Data sets for these studies are free and thus would not require purchasing of data or paying for health systems IT personal. These studies may run up to 1 year.  

AOTF HSR Ideal Target

The AOTF HSR is ideally targeted to principal investigators who do not currently have substantial extramural research awards as an independent principal investigator (e.g., R01, PCORI, Research Program Project Grant, Veterans Administration Merit Award, Field-Initiated Project). Typically, the principal investigator (PI) will have a funding history associated with early stage, emerging, or early midcareer investigators that may include small research grants and training-related or mentored career awards. The PI must also have a commitment from an experienced research mentor who has an established record of substantial extramural grant funding, peer-reviewed publications and supervision and mentoring of researchers.

Effectively answering HSR questions often requires a multidisciplinary team with diverse yet complimentary expertise.  Thus, this funding mechanism does not require that the Principal Investigator be an OT, but does require the research topic to be relevant to the field of occupational therapy. However, if the PI is not an OT, the team must include a major role by an occupational therapist to ensure the OT perspective is reflected in all aspects of the study (e.g. question development, study execution, analysis and interpretation, and dissemination).

The Health Services Research grant program receives major funding from The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). 

Questions: Contact the AOTF.  Please note: it may take a few days for a reply.

2019-2020 AOTF Health Science Research Grant

 Letters of Intent Submissions Open 9/15/19! Register to submit your LOI at: https://aotf.smapply.io/.




Forms needed for HSR Letter of Intent and Application: 


August 2019

  • August 16  -- RFP announced
  • RFA and award guidelines are posted on AOTF website. Review the research priorities, objectives, approaches, and eligibility criteria found in the RFA.
  • Review award guidelines.
  • Develop the initial framework for a Letter of Intent and an application.

September 2019

  • September 15: Online submission site for Letter of Intent opens.

October 2019

  • October 14 11:59 p.m. CST  Online submission site for Letter of Intent deadline.

November 2019

  • November 11. Invitations to submit an application are extended to principal investigros who meet eligibility criteria and whose LOI is accepted by AOTF. Invitees can begin application.

December 2019

  • December 2: 11:59 a.m. Application deadline

March 2020

  • Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.