One of the missions of the NIDCD is to improve the health outcomes for individuals with deafness and other communication disorders. Scientifically-validated prevention and treatment approaches will lead to better personal and public health only if they are translated effectively into routine practice. Translational research can be separated into early and late stage translation. Late stage translation typically occurs only after the efficacy of a treatment or intervention has been established in a tightly controlled research protocol. Outcomes research (also often referred to as effectiveness research) is the next step along the translation continuum, determining how an intervention performs in the complex and variable context of real-world practice, in various clinical practice and provider settings, and with a broad and diverse patient population.
The NIDCD recently completed its National Strategic Research Plan for 2012-2016. One of the four overarching goals, Improving Outcomes for Human Communication, seeks to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into practice, to increase access to health care, and to enhance the delivery, quality and effectiveness of care, with the goal of improving personal and public health. This FOA responds to this new strategic goal.
In 2009, the NIDCD held a Working Group on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults with Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss. Many of the research recommendations were focused on outcomes and health services research, requiring collaborative multidisciplinary investigations with researchers who have expertise in disciplines that are absent or only minimally represented in the current NIDCD research portfolio (such as health services, health outcomes, economics, biostatistics, data management, survey research, epidemiology, evaluation, public health and policy). These research recommendations targeted new research directions for the NIDCD.
NIDCD has encouraged and continues to actively encourage early-stage translational research in its seven mission areas (hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language). With an emphasis on research on hearing health care and the new NIDCD Strategic Research Plan, NIDCD is now actively encouraging late-stage translational research as well.
The NIDCD research portfolio has a paucity of effectiveness, outcomes and health services research, research designed to assess, monitor and enhance the quality of care. Translating these research findings may also lead to strategies for use by public and private decision-makers as well as enabling individuals to make personal choices about their care. To address this research gap, this FOA seeks to encourage effectiveness, outcomes and health services research in hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech and language.