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Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program (RHSE)

Grants to USA IHEs to Improve Health
and the Quality of Life in Rural Communities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Deadline Date:

06/30/17 5:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA colleges and universities to enhance the quality of life for rural communities by promoting safety and health in the context of agriculture, food, human sciences, and natural resources. This program supports community-based, outreach and educational programming.

Programs will provide individuals and families with: Information as to the value of good health at any age; Information to increase individual or family’s motivation to take more responsibility for their own health; Information regarding rural environmental health issues that directly impact on human health; Information about and access to health promotion and educational activities; and Training for volunteers and health services providers concerning health promotion and health care services for individuals and families in cooperation with state, local and community partners.

The RHSE program addresses the health and well-being of rural America through supporting the development and/or implementation of projects focused on (1) individual and family health education programs with specified contents; (2) rural health leadership development education programs to assist rural communities in developing health care services and facilities and assist community leaders and public officials in understanding their roles and responsibilities; and (3) farm safety education programs to provide information and training to farm workers, timber harvesters, and farm families.

New for FY 17: Proposals will be accepted in two areas: 1) chronic disease prevention and management and 2) the prevention and/or reduction of opioid misuse and abuse.

Area 1: Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

A chronic disease is a disease lasting three months or longer. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and stroke are the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 40 million Americans are limited in their usual activities due to one or more chronic health conditions.3 Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year, and treating people with chronic diseases accounts for 86% of the nation’s health care costs.4 In addition to being among the most prevalent and costly health conditions, chronic diseases are also among the most preventable of all health problems. Many chronic conditions can be prevented by not smoking, being physically active, and eating nutritious foods.

Rural health is adversely affected by a number of unique issues which contribute to the prevalence of chronic disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported Americans living in rural areas are more likely to die from five leading causes than their urban counterparts. Four of the five leading causes of death were chronic diseases. Specifically, the CDC study found that in 2014, many deaths among rural Americans were potentially preventable, including approximately 25,000 from heart disease, 19,000 from cancer, 12,000 from unintentional injuries, 11,000 from chronic lower respiratory disease, and 4,000 from stroke.

Adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors can extend longevity and improve quality of life by preventing chronic disease and injury. However, the limited access to certain services and health communications in rural areas leaves many without information regarding the benefits of such behaviors. Evidence- based programs, resources, and approaches offered through an extension delivery model could address health literacy and provide valuable information and skills on leading healthy lifestyles. Because extension is uniquely positioned to address across the nation, chronic disease prevention and management was chosen as one of six program priorities for Cooperative Extension Health Programs in the Cooperative Extension National Framework for Health and Wellness. This framework was developed as a system wide effort with input from diverse representatives across the system and ultimately adopted by the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy.

All projects and approaches must be research-informed. Proposed projects implementing programs and approaches with documented evidence of impact on chronic disease prevention and management will be given priority consideration. Programs and approaches currently developing an evidence base will also be considered.

Area 2: Prevention and/or Reduction of Opioid Misuse, and Abuse

Opioid abuse is a critical issue across the United States. Prescription opioids are a class of pain- reducing medications that include prescription oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine, among others, and have both benefits as well as potentially dangerous, harmful risks. These medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used as prescribed. Heroin is considered an opioid drug as well. Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug processed from morphine. In 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths including 28,647 people who died from a drug overdose involving some type of opioid, including prescription pain relievers and heroin, which is more than in any previous year on record.7 The annual societal costs of opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence have been estimated at $78 billion, a figure that includes direct healthcare costs, costs related to lost productivity, and costs to the criminal justice system.

This epidemic has significantly affected rural communities. Between 2000 and 2014, there was a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths attributable to non-medical pain relievers and heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people in rural communities are more likely to overdose on prescription pain medications than people in cities, and the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in non-metro counties is 45 percent higher than in metro counties. Rural adolescents are also more likely to use prescription opioids non-medically than are their urban peers. Non-medical prescription drug use has been associated with social and health consequences among these rural adolescents, including dropping out of school, deteriorating relationships, poorer health status, and mental health challenges.

According to the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, evidenced-based programs can significantly reduce substance misuse and abuse if implemented well.12 However, many schools and communities are using programs with the least evidence. In FY 2017, RHSE is seeking to support the implementation of evidence-based, outcome-based approaches and programs delivered through an Extension model which promote protective factors and reduce the impact of risk factors leading to the prevention of opioid initiation, misuse, and abuse. Since the occurrence and context of risk behavior is complex, applicants are encouraged to address intersecting factors that have the potential to also prevent or reduce opioid initiation, misuse, and abuse.

All projects and approaches must be research-informed. Proposed projects implementing programs and approaches with documented evidence of impact on preventing and/or reducing opioid misuse and abuse will be given priority consideration. Programs and approaches currently developing an evidence base will also be considered.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 155310

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected number of awards: 4 - 5

Estimated Size of Grant:

Proposed budgets must not exceed $350,000 total for a two-year project period. Estimated minimum award size is $250,000.

Term of Contract:

The project start date should be September 1, 2017 and the end date should be August 31, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may be submitted by 1862 and 1890 Land Grant colleges and universities that are eligible to receive funds under the Act of July 2, 1862 (7 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), and the Act of August 30, 1890 (7 U.S.C. 321 et seq.), including Central State University, Tuskegee University, West Virginia State University and the University of the District of Columbia. Applications also may be submitted by any of the Tribal colleges and universities designated as 1994 Land Grant Institutions under the Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994, as amended.

Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the time of application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Centers of Excellence:

Pursuant to Section 7214 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79), beginning in Fiscal Year 2015, for applicable competitive research and extension programs, NIFA will recognize and provide priority in the receipt of funding to applications from “centers of excellence” that carry out research, extension, and education activities that relate to the food and agricultural sciences. NIFA held listening sessions in July 2014 and accepted written comments from stakeholders to inform NIFA’s implementation of the COE provision. Information from the webinars and a summary of the input are available on NIFA’s website at

A COE is composed of one or more of the following entities that provide financial or in-kind support to the COE:

(A) State agricultural experiment stations;
(B) Colleges and universities;
(C) University research foundations;
(D) Other research institutions and organizations; (E) Federal agencies;
(F) National laboratories;
(G) Private organizations, foundations, or corporations;
(H) Individuals; or
(I) Any group consisting of two or more of the entities described in (A) through (H).

COE designation is available only to CAP and standard grant applicants. Part IV, B., 3. of the RFA contains additional requirements for COE consideration.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on June 30, 2017 via

In FY 2017, you may submit a new or resubmitted application to the RHSE Program:

-New application: This is a project application that has not been previously submitted to the RHSE Program. Staff will review all new applications competitively using the screening for administrative requirements, review panel evaluation of proposals using evaluation criteria and selection process described in the RFA.

-Resubmitted application: This is an application that had previously been submitted to the RHSE Program but not funded. For FY 17, resubmitted applications can only reflect projects which focus on chronic disease prevention and management or preventing opioid misuse and abuse. Project Directors (PDs) must respond to the previous review panel summary (see Response to Previous Review, Part IV). Resubmitted applications must be received by the relevant due dates, will be evaluated in competition with other pending applications in appropriate area to which they are assigned, and will be reviewed according to the same evaluation criteria as new applications.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For more information, contact:

Ahlishia J'Nae Shipley, National Program Leader
P: (202) 401-6854
F: Number: (202) 720-9366

For electronic access problems, contact:

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming