Merck Foundation Seeks Proposals

The Merck Foundation’s new initiative “Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care” aims to improve access to high quality diabetes care and reduce health disparities for vulnerable and underserved populations with type 2 diabetes in the U.S.

The Initiative’s Call for Proposal funding has an award ceiling of $1,500,000 for up to five years. Annual budgets for the proposed program can’t exceed $300,000 in any single year with $10,000,000 to be the total amount for funds.

The initiative is in place to promote health equity through sectoral collaborations to bring public and private organizations together to represent the healthcare sector, social, and environmental sectors.

Another important goal of the Initiative is to transform the delivery of primary care by implementing a coordinated team-based approach to comprehensive diabetes care by tailoring care based on the patient’s level of risk.

Studies of teamwork in the primary care setting have identified ways to overcome challenges to care coordination. Team members roles should be clearly defined at the outset, Channels or mechanisms should be specified for timely and consistent communication across the team or among team members to ensure high quality and well-coordinated care.

The Foundation’s Initiative is similar to the CMS Accountable Health Communities Model, which seeks to find innovative ways to improve the care and outcomes of vulnerable and underserved populations within the context of their geographic location. The next step is to integrate health interventions with solution that address the broader social determinants of health.

The Initiative is utilizing health IT including personnel and infrastructure such as EHRs to analyze data and plan patient care. Health IT can identify patients whose cardiovascular risk factors are poorly controlled or have not visited the clinic in months or years.

Also, health IT is providing individualized clinical performance data to all practitioners and technology plays a critical role in coordinating care and facilitating communication among team members. Health IT serves as a platform for tracking the medical and social services that patients receive to meet their care plans.

Eligible applicants for funding can include 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations such as healthcare organizations, academic institutions, community-based or nongovernmental organizations, and state or local governments.

Go to to view the details for the “Call for Proposal.” A Letter of Intent needs to be submitted by January 24, 2017 with the full proposal due April 17, 2017.

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