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HPA Grant Application Instructions
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Purpose of Grant Program 

The purpose of the Section on Health Policy and Administration Grant Program is to stimulate, encourage and support research activities that enhance the body of knowledge related to health policy, clinical administration, global health, and the use of technology in physical therapy.  The grants provide funding to assist new physical therapist investigators, or established investigators who are embarking on a new research agenda in these areas of physical therapist practice, leadership, administration, or education. Through this grant program, the Section hopes to encourage the development of proposals that will seek financial support from external agencies. 

1-2 research grant awards of up to $15,000 are available to Section members to assist with a 1-year research study that investigates a question or questions of importance to health policy or clinical administration. Grants may be renewable (no-cost extension) for up to 1 year.  


Relevant Research Topics 

A number of existing APTA clinical research agenda questions is relevant to HPA. In addition, the Section has identified additional areas and questions that may be suitable for funding through this mechanism. The list of questions below is not meant to be all-inclusive, but to provide examples of questions in these topic areas. 

Health Policy:

1. What research evidence is needed to influence Medicare and other payor reimbursement policy for physical therapy? 
2. What areas of physical therapy effectiveness/efficacy research can be most influential in policy change? 
3. What is the cost-effectiveness of physical therapy and how can cost-analysis be used to influence program evaluation and policy? 
4. What are the effects of prevention programs on cost and utilization of physical therapy resources? 
5. What is the effect of state/federal regulation on patient outcomes in physical therapy? 
6. What is the impact of health behavior promotion on costs of physical therapy care? Physical therapy outcomes? Utilization of physical therapy services? 
7. What are best practices to address health policy advocacy and education?

Clinical Leadership and Administration:

1. What is the most effective way to disseminate research to physical therapy practice? 
2. What are the best methods and models to change physical therapist behavior? 
3. What skills are needed by practitioners to provide evidence-based patient care, patient advocacy and/or cost-effective care? 
4. What is the effect of physical therapy care extenders (aides, assistants) on patient outcomes, cost and quality of care? 
5. What alternative measures of physical therapist productivity exist and how do they compare, How do they impact patient care? 
6. What characteristics are necessary for quality documentation systems in physical therapy and what is the cost-benefit effect of each? 
7. What are the effects of changes in the demographics of PT educational program enrollment on practitioners and managers? 
8. What is the effect of residency level education on patient outcomes? 
9. How does the level of mastery of leadership skills by clinicians impact on patient care delivery? 
10. What are best practices to address advocacy and education?

Global Health:

1. As a profession, what are best practices for engaging in global health initiatives locally and abroad?
2. What are best practices to address global health initiatives for advocacy and education?
3. What are best practices to address health disparities in physical therapy practice, education and advocacy? 
4. Describe community-based research approaches to address health care disparities for racial and ethnic participants in physical therapy.


1. What effect does technology have on translating research and/or scholarship into practice?
2. What is the influence of technology on the practice of physical therapy?
3. What are the core technology skills in the practice of physical therapy?
4. What is the cost effectiveness of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems in physical therapy practice? 
5. How does EHR effect practice (productivity, evidence-based practice, outcomes)?
6. How does telehealth impact the cost-burden on the healthcare system and specifically in physical therapy models of practice?


All HPA Section members are eligible to apply for Research Grants. Collaborative research with non-section members is permissible as long as the principal investigator is a member of the Section on HPA. An HPA Section member may submit only one proposal per year for which he or she is the Principal investigator. Although entry-level masters and doctoral students who are HPA members are eligible to submit proposals, priority will be given to researchers at the post-professional level (faculty, advanced graduate-level research). 

Investigators who submit a proposal that is not funded are eligible to resubmit one time at the next grant cycle if they believe they can adequately address issues raised by the review committee. Resubmissions are not reviewed separately, but rather are considered in the pool of all applications for the grant cycle. 

Types of grants 

Although two types of grant proposals will be considered, a priority will be given to Research grants (Type a)

a. Research grant - A grant to support a stand-alone research project or a part of a larger series of projects 
b. Development grant - A research development award to assist in the development of research projects that will be submitted to an institution or public or private agency for funding. The purpose of the award is to provide seed money to fund the development of a competitive grant proposal. (Money can be used for faculty release time to do pilot work, hiring of consultants or purchasing supplies.) 

Funding Focus 

Priority will be given to studies that are consistent with the identified HPA research agenda, that have a sound research design, and that have a strong likelihood of contributing to the existing knowledge base of health policy, administration, global health and technology in physical therapy. It is expected that research results will be disseminated through appropriate channels such as Physical Therapy or PTJ-PAL/HPA Resource and American Physical Therapy Association sponsored continuing education programs. 
Physical therapists receiving funding from this program will be expected to report their findings at a Combined Sections Meeting within 3 years of receipt of funding. 


Proposals are due at the end of December of each year. Notification of the funding would be by the end of March with an earliest start date of mid-April. Institutional Review Board documentation must be provided before the funding will be released. Refer to the Research Page of the HPA website for specific annual deadlines:

Proposal format 

The proposal should include sufficient information to allow scientific review, but be presented in a concise format. A clear, brief presentation of the proposal is an indication of the researcher’s ability to have a focused approach to the research project. All proposals should use the American Medical Association’s writing and format guidelines. The proposal should include the attached cover pages and the sections described below. The Research Plan should not exceed 10 single-spaced pages (11-point type or larger, 1 inch margins), excluding references. All pages should be numbered. Specific details on what to include in the Research Plan, Dissemination of Results, and Budget Sections are outlined below. In addition, please include a one page abstract. All application forms are available in electronic form, upon request to the Executive Director of the Section. Applicants should submit a research proposal that includes: 
Application Cover sheet 


The abstract should be one page or less, and structured using the following headings: 
1) Rationale and Objectives: Why is it important to study this issue? What are the objectives or specific aims of the project? 
2) Research Design: What type of study is this? (e.g., randomized trial, observational, etc.) 
3) Methods: Describe the procedures used to accomplish the aims/objectives of the study. Describe the sample, measures, methods of data collection, and data analysis.   
4) Impact: What is the importance of this project to physical therapy and the HPA section?  

Research Plan 

The Research Plan should answer the following general questions:  
1) What do you intend to do?  
2) Why is the work important?  
3) What has already been done?  
4) How are you going to do the work?  

Use the following headings to organize the research plan 

1. Specific Aims (What do you intend to do?) 

Concisely state the overall objectives/goals of the proposed research.  Include the research questions (APTA clinical research agenda, HPA research agenda or other) that will be addressed. Specifically state what the project is intended to accomplish and hypotheses (if applicable) that will be addressed. One page is recommended.  

2. Background and Significance (What has already been done? Why is this work important to physical therapy?) 

Summarize the background information that directly relates to the purpose of the study. Critically evaluate existing knowledge, and specifically identify the gaps that the project is intended to fill. Clearly indicate how the results of your proposed study will contribute to the existing knowledge of health policy and administration in physical therapy. Do not exceed two pages. 

3. Preliminary Studies

Use this section to provide an account of the Principal Investigator’s or Investigators’ preliminary studies pertinent to the application and/or any other information that will help to establish the experience and competence of the investigator(s) to pursue the proposed project. 

4. Research Design and Methods (How are you going to do the work?) 

Describe the research design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Either qualitative or quantitative designs are acceptable, but must include sufficient rigor appropriate for the design. Include: 

a. Study Design. What kind of study is it? Describe the overall methodology and design. Does the design match or is it appropriate for the research question and objectives?
b. Subjects. Provide a complete description of subjects that will be studied, the sampling and recruitment strategies. Comment on the feasibility of obtaining the desired number of subjects. 
c. Instrumentation/Methods of Measurement. Describe your measurement tools, including the validity and reliability of proposed measurement tools. If secondary data are being examined, clearly define study variables and how these are or will be constructed. For qualitative or mixed method designs address the data gathering methods.
d. Procedures. Describe the procedures that will be used to collect data. Discuss potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures. If secondary data are being examined, describe the data in regard to representativeness, comprehensiveness, and limitations in addressing the study questions. For qualitative studies or mixed method studies, describe the methods used to generate the data.
e. Data Analysis and Interpretation. Describe how the data will be analyzed. For quantitative studies, describe how each variable will be treated in the statistical analysis. For qualitative or mixed method studies, address the procedural rigor, analysis method/s planned to address trustworthiness and triangulation of the findings; describe the decision trail and rules of analyses along with the plan for transforming data,
f. Significance/Impact. Summarize the significance of the research, its degree of innovation, and its intended audience.   
g. Human Subjects.
     i. Provide evidence that approval for the proposed study has been granted by the Institutional Review Board of the institution of the Principal investigator. If approval has not been received at the time proposal is submitted, indicate when a response is expected.  
     ii. Describe the composition of the proposed study population in terms of gender and racial/ethnic group. Address the inclusion of women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations. Provide a clear and compelling rationale for exclusion of women and/or members of minority groups.  
h. Project Management and timetable. 
     i. Provide a description of the project management plan and expected time to complete each part of the study. 

5. References 

List references in order of citation according to Guidelines for Instructions to Authors in The Resource. Single-space reference list. 

Dissemination of Results 

Describe how the results of the study will be shared with physical therapy colleagues. Grant awardees are encouraged to submit abstracts at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting as well as publish manuscripts in appropriate journals. The Principal investigator will be required to send a final report to the Chairperson, Research Committee, Section on HPA no later than 18 months after funds are released. Reprints of manuscripts published from the project will be sent to the Section on HPA. Investigators should acknowledge support from the Section on HPA in any presentations or manuscripts. 

Budget and Justification 

The section on HPA will fund projects for 12 months. Funds can be requested only for costs necessary to conduct the study. These include expenses for personnel, equipment, supplies and travel of the investigators or subjects associated with data collection. The enclosed Budget Form and a budget justification must be provided on a separate sheet that explains how costs were calculated, and why the expense is necessary. The Section will not pay overhead or indirect costs. Grant awards will be made directly to the Principal investigator unless the Principal investigator designates their institution as the payee. 


Please include a biosketch following NIH format. The biosketch should be no more than 5 pages. Sections should include: Education and Training; Personal Statement (Briefly describe why your experience and qualifications make you particularly well-suited for your role in the project that is the subject of the application); Positions and Honors; Contribution to Science; and Research Support as directed on the NIH BIOSKETCH Form. To see an example of a biosketch, go to or see linked form on the HPA Research Grant website. 

Submission Process 

All proposals must be submitted electronically by the due date to be eligible for review. 

Monies not awarded in one year may be awarded during latter grant cycles. Calls for submissions are routinely advertised in the PTJ-PAL/HPA Resource. 

To apply, submit an electronic copy of the entire proposal as one file in .pdf format through the submission form at the bottom of the HPA Research Grant webpage:

Review Procedure 

A subcommittee of at least one primary and two secondary reviewers from the Section on HPA 
Research Committee will review the proposals. Each reviewer will independently read and evaluate the proposal using published HPA grant review guidelines. The primary reviewer will evaluate the study, the investigator’s ability to perform the proposed work based on the biosketch, and secondary reviewer comments. The subcommittee as a group will discuss all applications and make funding decisions. The Research Committee Chair will notify applicants of funding decisions. Each applicant will also receive a copy of the review summary.


access Budget Form Below:



Note: Applications for the Section on HPA Research Grant may not include overhead or indirect costs. 

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