AHRQ Views: Blog posts from AHRQ leaders
Seeking Applications to Curb the Public Health Impact of Unhealthy Alcohol Use
Unhealthy alcohol use is the third leading cause of early death after tobacco use and unhealthy diet combined with physical inactivity. Nearly 30 percent of Americans report unhealthy alcohol use, which refers to the full spectrum of alcohol misuse, including risky or hazardous drinking, harmful drinking, alcohol abuse, and alcohol use disorder.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians routinely screen adults for unhealthy alcohol use and provide behavioral counseling to people who engage in risky or hazardous drinking. But among those diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, only about 7 percent of adults receive any type of treatment.
The time to address the problem is now. Clinicians, researchers, public health officials, and others must work together to help people avoid or stop the unhealthy use of alcohol.
Because primary care clinicians are the most likely to first see patients engaged in unhealthy alcohol use, AHRQ has released a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to fund research that can help primary care clinicians improve screening and treatment for unhealthy alcohol use. AHRQ plans to invest up to $13.5 million over 3 years to support up to six awards.
AHRQ’s new FOA seeks applications from grantees who propose a variety of strategies to increase the dissemination and implementation of research findings for identifying and managing unhealthy alcohol use. Applicants are expected to focus their proposals on screening and behavioral interventions (SBI) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
AHRQ’s new funding announcement follows previous work by the Agency to support primary care clinicians and their efforts to help patients struggling with alcohol. A research review released in 2016 was the basis for two publications—one for clinicians one for patients—designed to increase shared decisionmaking and make the best use of evidence in treating alcohol use disorder.
Our expectations are high that AHRQ’s new grants will lead to significant progress. The negative impacts of untreated unhealthy alcohol use—on patients, their families, and their communities—can be devastating. These consequences are powerful incentives for us to work together and increase the use of evidence to tackle this urgent public health concern.
We look forward to your research applications, which are due on January 4, 2019. Selected grantees will be notified in mid-2019. A technical assistance call on October 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET will provide a summary of the initiative and address frequently asked questions. Access additional information on submitting a letter of intent, registering for the technical assistance call, and submitting questions in advance of the call. In the meantime, please feel free to send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Chesley is Director of the Office for Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations.