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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Innovative Community Engagement Strategies to Reduce HIV-related Stigma and Disparities Challenge

Engaging Communities to Reduce HIV-Related Stigma and Increase Prevention and Treatment Among Racial and Ethnic Minority People

Department of Health & Human Services - Office of Minority Health

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $760,000
Type of Challenge: Ideas, Software and apps, Creative (multimedia & design), Technology demonstration and hardware
Partner Agencies | Federal: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP)
Submission Start: 07/26/2021 8:00 AM ET
Submission End: 09/23/2021 11:59 PM ET

Description

IMPORTANT UPDATES - Last updated: 9/1/2021:

Challenge Overview

Through the Innovative Community Engagement Strategies to Reduce HIV-related Stigma and Disparities Challenge, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) in partnership with the OASH Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP), is seeking innovative and effective approaches (e.g., models, strategies, best practices and/or tools) for community engagement and mobilization to reduce HIV stigma and improve pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) utilization among racial and ethnic minority individuals who are at increased risk for HIV infection or are people with HIV (PWH). The Challenge mechanism provides an opportunity for on the ground voices to participate in developing novel innovative approaches that can be successfully implemented within their local communities.

Background

HHS OMH is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that help eliminate health disparities. OMH awards and other activities are intended to support the identification of effective policies, programs and practices for improving health outcomes and to promote sustainability and dissemination of these approaches. This effort aligns with other HHS activities, including: (1) HHS Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) strategies to prevent new HIV transmissions and treat people with HIV; (2) recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Minority Health (ACMH) to increase community engagement and reduce stigma to reduce HIV incidence in groups that have been marginalized; (3) National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of AIDS Research and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Division of AIDS Research workshop on HIV-related intersectional stigma research; (4) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) principles of community engagement that are cornerstones of efforts to improve public health and address health disparities1; and (5) the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s longtime commitment to implementing community engagement activities to improve care for people with HIV.2

PrEP and ART are effective prevention methods against transmission of HIV.3 PrEP is an HIV prevention method in which people who don’t have HIV take PrEP medicine daily to reduce their risk of acquiring HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus. ART is a combination of medications taken daily that help people with HIV stay healthy by reducing the amount of HIV in their blood and reducing the risk of HIV transmission to others. Persons with HIV who benefit from HIV treatment are estimated to have similar life expectancies compared to persons without HIV4. Despite the development of HIV prevention and treatment approaches, disparities exist among racial and ethnic minority populations in their utilization of these strategies.

Racial and ethnic minority populations have disproportionately higher rates of new HIV infections and HIV diagnoses, and lower rates of PrEP and ART awareness, initiation and adherence. A CDC analysis shows that nearly 80 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 occurred from the nearly 40 percent of PWH who either did not know they had HIV, or who had been diagnosed but were not receiving HIV care.5 Black persons accounted for 14 percent of the U.S. population but 41 percent of new HIV infections in 2019.6,7 The rate of new HIV diagnoses among Black adults is eight times that of White adults and more than twice that of Hispanic/Latino adults. The rate for Black males was four times the rate for Black females. (Hispanic/Latino persons accounted for almost 29 percent of all HIV infection cases in 2019.8 American Indian/Alaska Native persons have the highest percentage of estimated diagnoses of HIV infection attributed to injection drug use, compared with all other races/ethnicities.9 Among persons with HIV, the largest percentage of persons with undiagnosed HIV infection was that among American Indian/Alaska Native persons (20.5%), followed by Hispanic/Latino persons (16.4%), Black/African American persons (13.4%), Asian persons (13.4%), multiracial persons (11.1%), and White persons (10.8%).10 The latest estimates indicate that effective HIV prevention and treatment are not adequately reaching those who could most benefit from them.11 Although Black persons accounted for approximately 40 percent of persons with PrEP indications, nearly six times as many White persons were prescribed PrEP as were Black persons. Only 26 percent of Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and 30 percent of Hispanic MSM reported taking PrEP within the past year, compared with 42 percent of white MSM.12

Research indicates that HIV-related stigma is one of the factors that contributes to poor uptake of prevention tools and treatment. HIV-related stigma is rooted in a fear of HIV and is defined as negative attitudes and beliefs about people with HIV.13 It is the prejudice that comes with labeling an individual as part of a group that is believed to be socially unacceptable. Discrimination related to HIV status often leads to internalized stigma (development of negative self-image) and external stigma (experience of unfair treatment by others). Stigma can lead to feelings of shame, fear of disclosure, isolation, and despair which can keep people from getting tested and treated for HIV.14 Data on the effects of HIV-related stigma on treatment adherence show that those who had experienced stigma tended to report lower adherence. Lower treatment adherence leads to poor rates of undetectable viral load (amount of HIV in the body so low that a test cannot detect it) in PWH with subsequent increased HIV transmission15 and can result in drug resistant strains. The White House Office of National AIDS Policy and the EHE have both identified reduction of stigma as a critical step toward decreasing HIV disparities and reducing barriers to utilization of HIV prevention and treatments.

Community engagement and mobilization have been a priority within HIV prevention strategies and increasingly recognized as vital to expand access to quality care, prevent disease, and achieve health equity. Community-based organizations that serve racial and ethnic minority and other groups that have been marginalized are uniquely positioned to identify and reach racial and ethnic minority individuals at increased risk for HIV and PWH. Community engagement has been critical to HIV prevention and was a critical part of the development of the EHE. During the 2019 ACMH Meeting, the ACMH discussed the incorporation of new strategies to engage communities with significant numbers of new HIV infections. The ACMH also recommended the identification of mechanisms to reduce stigma and discrimination for individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations to maximize HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Ultimately, increased knowledge and implementation of community engagement and mobilization strategies to support stigma reduction among racial and ethnic minority populations could result in increased initiation of and adherence to PrEP or ART to prevent new infections, reduce HIV transmission and incidence rates, and help PWH achieve and maintain viral load suppression.

Purpose

OMH is creating a national competition to identify innovative and effective approaches to enhance community engagement and mobilization on the reduction of HIV stigma and disparities. Desired outcomes include improved utilization of PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority PWH or racial and ethnic minorities who are at increased risk for HIV infection. Participants will have access to subject matter experts (SMEs) for group and individual coaching throughout the Challenge phases. This Challenge seeks to achieve its desired outcomes through supporting innovative and effective approaches for racial and ethnic minority populations that:

  • Identify types of stigma to be addressed (e.g., internalized, enacted, anticipated, ageism, racism)
  • Incorporate validated stigma measurement tools (e.g., HIV Stigma Scale, Everyday Discrimination Scale, Intersectional Discrimination Index, Multiple Discrimination Scale, Gendered Racism Scale)
  • Use community engagement and mobilization strategies
  • Increase knowledge and skills in reducing HIV stigma among community-based organizations serving racial and ethnic minorities
  • Evaluate scalability of developed approaches

Subject and Scope of Prize Competition

Projects must result in innovative and effective approaches that utilize community engagement and mobilization strategies to reduce stigma related to PrEP and ART within racial and ethnic minority populations. The approaches will be shared with the general public.

The competition has three phases. All eligible submissions will be evaluated, and separate prizes may be awarded for each of the three phases.

Key Dates

Challenge Posting Date: Thursday, July 22, 2021

Registration Deadline: Friday, September 24, 2021

Phase 1: Design of Concept

Phase 2: Development of Approach

  • Submission period begins: Monday, November 1, 2021
  • Submission period ends: Thursday, March 3, 2022, 11:59 pm EST
  • Winners announced: March 2022

Phase 3: Refinement of Approach and Small-Scale Testing

  • Submission period begins: Monday, March 28, 2022
  • Submission period ends: Thursday, July 14, 2022, 11:59 pm EDT
  • Winners announced: July 2022

Prizes

Total Awards: $760,000 in FY21 funds

Prize Breakdown

Phase 1 (Design of Concept): Participants will develop concepts for community engagement strategies to reduce stigma related to HIV prevention and treatment within a specific population. Up to 15 submissions may be selected to each receive a prize of up to $20,000.

Phase 2 (Development of Approach): Participants selected to receive a Phase 1 prize will create well-developed approaches for community engagement strategies to reduce stigma related to HIV prevention and treatment. Up to 7 submissions may be selected to each receive a prize of up to $40,000.

Phase 3 (Refinement of Approach and Small-Scale Testing): Participants selected to receive Phase 2 prize will test dissemination and uptake of their approaches at a small scale/community level. Up to 3 submissions may be selected; the winners may receive a prize of up to $60,000.

All winners will be notified via email.

The winners are expected to present their project findings and participate in post-award activities within six months after the end of the competition. This presentation may be virtual or in-person and prize funds are expected to be used to facilitate this presentation.

Rules

Eligibility Criteria

  • To be eligible to win a prize under this Challenge, a Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity):

    • Shall have registered to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by HHS as published in this announcement;
    • Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth in this announcement;
    • In the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; however, non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents can participate as a member of a team that otherwise satisfies the eligibility criteria. Non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents are not eligible to win a monetary prize (in whole or in part). Their participation as part of a winning team, if applicable, may be recognized when the results are announced;
    • May not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment;
    • May not be a Federal employee of the Department of Health and Human Services (or any other component of HHS) acting in their personal capacity;
    • Who is employed by a Federal agency or entity other than HHS (or any component of HHS), should consult with an agency Ethics Official to determine whether the Federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize under this Challenge; and
    • May not be a judge of the Challenge, or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the Challenge or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child).
  • Federal grantees may not use Federal funds to develop their Challenge submissions unless use of such funds is consistent with the purpose of their grant award and specifically requested to do so due to the Challenge design as described in this announcement. Federal grantees who use Federal funds to develop their Challenge submissions must also obtain written prior approval from the appropriate grants management or program officer and provide documentation of prior approval upon request by HHS.
  • Federal contractors may not use Federal funds from a contract to develop their Challenge submissions or to fund efforts in support of their Challenge submissions.
  • Submissions must not infringe upon any copyright or any other rights of any third party.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal government and its related entities (as defined in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, as amended), except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
  • Based on the subject matter of the Challenge, the type of work that it will possibly require, as well as an analysis of the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, property damage, or loss potentially resulting from Challenge participation, no Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) participating in the Challenge is required to obtain liability insurance or demonstrate financial responsibility in order to participate in this Challenge.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) agrees to indemnify the Federal government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.
  • A Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) shall not be deemed ineligible because the Participant used Federal facilities or consulted with Federal employees during the Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all Participants participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.
  • By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) warrants that he, she, or it is the sole author or owner of, or has the right to use, any copyrightable works that the submission comprises, that the works are wholly original with the Participant (or is an improved version of an existing work that the Participant has sufficient rights to use and improve), and that the submission does not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which the Participant is aware. In addition, each Participant grants to the HHS an irrevocable, paid-up, royalty-free nonexclusive worldwide license to reproduce, publish, post, link to, share, and display publicly the submission on the web or elsewhere, and a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice, or have practiced for or on its behalf, the solution throughout the world. Each Participant will retain all other intellectual property rights in their submissions, as applicable. To participate in the Challenge, each Participant must warrant that there are no legal obstacles to providing the above-referenced nonexclusive licenses of the Participant’s rights to the Federal government. To receive an award, Participants will not be required to transfer their intellectual property rights to HHS, but Participants must grant to the Federal government the nonexclusive licenses recited herein.
  • HHS reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to (a) cancel, suspend, or modify the Challenge, and/or (b) not award any prizes if no entries are deemed worthy.
  • Each Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) agrees to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Each Participant (whether an individual, group of individuals, or entity) participating in this Challenge must comply with all terms and conditions of these rules, and participation in this Challenge constitutes each such Participant’s full and unconditional agreement to abide by these rules. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements herein.

Additional Information

Participants shall not use the OMH or HHS logos or official seals in their submissions and must not claim endorsement.

Participants agree that HHS may disqualify the submission if, in HHS’ judgment, the program is inconsistent with HHS’ public health mission, may be ineffective or harmful, or any other reason deemed necessary.

Payment of the Prize:

Prizes awarded under this competition will be paid by electronic funds transfer and may be subject to Federal income taxes. HHS will comply with the Internal Revenue Service withholding and reporting requirements, where applicable.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

impartial, may not have a personal or financial interest in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of, any entity that is a registered participant in the competition, and may not have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered contestant. The panel will make winner selections based upon the criteria outlined below and in compliance with the HHS Competition Judging Guidelines. Entries not in compliance with the submission requirements outlined below will be ineligible for further review and prize award.

The Award Approving Official will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health will take into consideration the following additional factor(s): Equitable geographic distribution of awards.

Judging Criteria

Phase 1: Design of Concept - Scoring Criteria

Up to 100 points may be awarded for Phase 1. Specifically, up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact,” up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation,” up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility,” and up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.”

  • Impact - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact.” Aspects of “impact” that we may consider are:

    • How well does the applicant describe the intended population of focus and community of focus? How well does the proposed solution fit local needs, resources, and values of the target population? To what extent is the proposed solution culturally and linguistically appropriate?
    • How well does the project incorporate community engagement and mobilization strategies into the solution (i.e. involvement of priority population in the co-design and implementation of the strategy)? Does the process and structure of the concept allow for all stakeholders to be heard and equally valued?
    • How well does the project outline clear goals, objectives and expected outcomes?
    • How well does the project measure stigma reduction, PrEP and ART utilization?
    • How potentially effective is the solution (approach) to reducing stigma related to PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or at increased risk for HIV infection?
  • Innovation - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation.” Aspects of “innovation” that we may consider are:

    • How innovative is the proposed solution in reducing stigma through community engagement/mobilization in the community of focus? Among specific racial and ethnic minority groups? Among individuals who are PWH or at increased risk for HIV infection?
    • How innovative is the project in engaging the community/ stakeholders/ partners in the conceptualization of the solution? Were they involved in establishing the project goals and objectives
    • How well does the applicant ensure community members are involved throughout the project?
    • How innovative is the proposed solution in its ability to be tailored to culturally and linguistically diverse audiences, including users with low health literacy or limited English language proficiency?
    • To what extent is the proposed solution informed by evidence, but adding to (rather than duplicating) the existing body of knowledge on effective models and practices for community engagement/mobilization to reduce stigma?
    • If technology is a part of the solution, how innovative is the use of technology to maximize reach and accessibility for the project?
  • Accessibility (to be made available to, reachable) - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility.” Aspects of “accessibility” that we may consider are:

    • How accessible is the proposed solution across social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence HIV treatment and care?
    • How accessible is the proposed solution to the population of focus (e.g., community members, targeted racial and ethnic groups, racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or at increased risk for HIV infection)?
    • Will the program reach the intended audience inclusive of the diversity within the population?
  • Sustainability - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.” Aspects of “sustainability” that we may consider are:

    • How well does this proposed innovation have the ability to continue beyond the end of the competition
    • How achievable are the project’s goals and objectives based on the outlined concept?
    • Can the proposed solution be scaled-up and adapted in other communities, if proven effective?

Phase 2: Development of Approach - Scoring Criteria

Up to 100 points may be awarded for Phase 2. Specifically, up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact,” up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation,” up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility,” and up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.”

*Please note criteria in italics are the same as phase 1 to ensure they will continue to be addressed in phase 2.

  • Impact - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact.” Aspects of “impact” that we may consider are:

    • How potentially effective is the solution to reducing stigma related to PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or who experience at increased risk for HIV infection? How well does the project outline clear strategic, measurable, ambitious, realistic, time-bound, inclusive and equitable (SMARTIE) goals, objectives and expected outcomes?
    • How well does the project incorporate community engagement and mobilization strategies into the solution (i.e. involvement of priority population in the co-design and implementation of the strategy)? How well does the project integrate the targeted population into solution?
    • How well does the project address changes that need to occur in the environment to ensure success of project activities?
    • How well does the applicant present a theory of change or explanation of how the proposed solution would result in the intended impact?
    • How well does the proposed solution fit the local needs, resources, and values of the target population?
    • To what extent does the project identify appropriate measures to assess the solution’s impact?
    • How well does the project incorporate evaluation plan for the small-scale testing of the approach in the proposal?
    • How well does the project describe the dissemination of the findings?
    • Is the proposed solution achievable given available resources?
  • Innovation - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation.” Aspects of “innovation” that we may consider are:

    • How compelling is the case for innovation in this idea? How likely is the proposed solution to succeed when other ideas to address similar problems have not?
    • How innovative is the proposed solution in reducing stigma through community engagement/mobilization in the community of focus? Among specific racial and ethnic minority groups? Among individuals who are PWH or at increased risk for HIV infection? How innovative is the project in engaging the community/stakeholders/partners in the development of the solution?
    • How innovative is the proposed solution and its ability to be tailored to culturally and linguistically diverse audiences, including users with low health literacy or limited English language proficiency?
    • If technology is a part of the solution, how innovative is the use of technology to maximize reach and accessibility for the project?
  • Accessibility (to be made available to, reachable) - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility.” Aspects of “accessibility” that we may consider are:

    • How accessible is the solution across social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence HIV treatment and care?
    • How accessible is the solution to the population of focus (e.g., community members, specific racial and ethnic groups, racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or at increased risk for HIV infection)
  • Sustainability - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.” Aspects of “sustainability” that we may consider are:

    • How well does the solution fit into daily life for PWH or individuals at increased risk for HIV?
    • How achievable are the project’s SMARTIE goals and objectives based on the outlined concept?
    • Are the proposed project and solution feasible with the time and money available?
    • How likely is the potential for the solution to be sustained through community resources and partners or embedded in the operations of community organizations?
    • For technology/software-based approaches, how well does the solution address device lifecycle and/or software management?

Phase 3: Refinement of Approach and Small-Scale Testing - Scoring Criteria

Up to 100 points may be awarded for Phase 3. Specifically, up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact,” up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation,” up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility,” and up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.”

Impact - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “impact.” Aspects of “impact” that we may consider are:

  • Overall, how promising is the solution in terms of its ability to reach the population of focus?
  • How did the solution positively impact outcomes for the population of focus? How well the expected outcomes were met (or were they exceeded)? Did the project achieve goals set in Phase 1 and 2?
  • Based on the small-scale testing, to what degree did the solution achieve the results?
  • Can the solution be adapted to address unexpected results and/or user feedback and experiences?
  • How much potential does the solution demonstrate for having a large-scale impact?
  • How adequate and rigorous was the evaluation design for the small-scale testing?
  • What kind of learning has occurred, for the target population, community and applicant? How have community members learned about evaluation or research methods? Did co-learning take place?
  • How well has the team described next steps beyond the Challenge?

Innovation - Up to 30 points may be awarded for “innovation.” Aspects of “innovation” that we may consider are:

  • How has the work demonstrated the participant’s ability to succeed at creating a viable, scalable innovation, where others have not?
  • How innovative is the project in engaging the community/stakeholders/partners in the implementation and testing of the solution?

Accessibility (to be made available to, reachable) - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “accessibility.” Aspects of “accessibility” that we may consider are:

  • Did the refinement of the proposal and small-scale testing demonstrate that the solution has the potential to be accessible to the population of focus, including considerations of social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence access to HIV treatment and care?

Sustainability - Up to 20 points may be awarded for “sustainability.” Aspects of “sustainability” that we may consider are:

  • Was the solution compelling and useful enough to the population of focus to encourage them to use it?
  • Based on the testing, has the participant demonstrated the viability of the solution for addressing the problem?
  • How likely is the project to continue after the competition ends? How well does the project and/or solution demonstrate strong potential for scalability and sustainability, including potential for replication in other communities?
  • How feasible is the dissemination of project findings, and how likely will the dissemination be successfully conducted as planned?

How to Enter

Required Registration Email:

To enter the competition, participants are required to register by sending the following information to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov. Registration for this competition is due by September 24, 2021.

  • In this email, you must identify only one Official Representative for each competition registration. The registration email must be sent by the Official Representative
  • Include a subject line stating “HIV Competition Registration.” The Official Representative must provide the following information in the body of the email:

    • Official Representative first and last name,
    • Official Representative phone number,
    • Official Representative email address,
    • State location, and
    • Attestation statement: “I affirm on behalf of the participant (individual, team, or legal entity), that he or she has read and consents to be governed by the competition rules.”

Questions concerning this competition should be sent by email to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov.

Phase 1: Design of Concept

Submissions for Phase 1 of this competition are due by September 23, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT. The identified Official Representative (individual, team or legal entity) may apply for this competition by submitting the proposed concept by email to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov. The submission for Phase 1 of the competition shall meet the following requirements:

  • Written entries must consist of PDF files with font size no smaller than 11-point Arial
  • Supplemental video entries shall be uploaded to YouTube as an unlisted video file and the link should be sent in the email.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Participants must not use HHS or other government logos or official seals in the submissions and must not otherwise give an appearance of Federal government endorsement
  • Submission details should be sent to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov:

    • Title the email subject line “HIV Competition Phase 1 Proposal.”
    • Email sender (person and email address) must be Official Representative/person of contact for the team.

Phase 1 of the competition aims to identify innovative approaches for community engagement and mobilization to reduce stigma and improve utilization of PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or are at increased risk for HIV infection. The Phase 1 submission focuses on the presentation of the approach concept. The Phase 1 submission should include a written concept (3 pages or less) and supplemental video (10 minutes or less) of the project. The video will be a supplement to the written submission and may be utilized to highlight uniqueness and innovation of the approach.

The submission shall include:

  1. A one-paragraph executive summary that clearly identifies the innovative approach and describes how it will use community engagement and mobilization strategies to reduce stigma and improve utilization of PrEP and ART among racial and ethnic minority individuals who are PWH or are at increased risk for HIV infection.
  2. A description of the population of focus, including demographic and geographic characteristics. A description of the nature and scope of HIV-related disparities, stigma and PrEP and ART utilization within the target population, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. A description of the need for the approach for engaging the community in stigma reduction, and expected impact on the population of focus.
  3. A description of how innovative the use of technology is to maximize reach and accessibility for the project, if technology is a part of the solution.
  4. A description of how the approach will potentially affect racial and ethnic minority groups; specific subgroups within those populations, and other interested stakeholders as identified.
  5. A description of how the approach is innovative in targeting gaps/barriers and accessible across social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence HIV treatment and care.
  6. A description of how the project will utilize community engagement and mobilization strategies specific to the target population in the proposed approach. A description of how people from the priority population are involved in the co-design and implementation of the strategy.
  7. A description of the proposed goal(s) and major objectives.
  8. A description of the proposed measures used to assess stigma reduction, PrEP and ART utilization.
  9. A description of the nature of the activities to be undertaken for the approach, how they address gaps and identified issues, and how they will assist in achieving the overall project goals and objectives.

Phase 2: Development of Approach

Submissions for Phase 2 of this competition are due by March 3, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST. Only participants who received an award for their Phase 1 submission are eligible to apply for Phase 2. The identified Official Representative (individual, team or legal entity) may apply for this phase by submitting the proposed approach by email to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov. The submission for Phase 2 of the competition shall meet the following requirements:

  • Written entries must consist of PDF files with font size no smaller than 11-point Arial.
  • Supplemental video entries shall be uploaded to YouTube as an unlisted video file and the link should be sent in the email.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Participants must not use HHS or other government logos or official seals in the submissions and must not otherwise give an appearance of Federal government endorsement.
  • Submission details should be sent to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov:

    • Title the email subject line “HIV Competition Phase 2 Proposal.”
    • Email sender (person and email address) must be Official Representative/person of contact for the team.

Phase 2 of the competition builds upon the work of Phase 1. Phase 2 is focused on developing the approach, based on the concept presented in Phase 1. Participants will have equal access to SMEs for group and individual coaching throughout the phase. Each participant will have one consultation session with an SME. The 15 semi-finalists will come together as a small community of practice in Phase 3. Using digital tools (e.g., video conferencing, digital whiteboards) HHS will facilitate knowledge sharing among the group. Over a three-session series, HHS will provide training on proposal writing, model development, customer/patient engagement, budgeting, project planning, partnership building, planning for testing within the community, assessment of information/data, implementation evaluation planning and measurement, and techniques/methods for communication and dissemination. The Phase 2 submission will expand on the concept to describe an approach and also provide a plan for small-scale testing of the approach. The Phase 2 submission should include a comprehensive written description (10 pages or less) and a supplemental video (30 minute or less). The video will be a supplement to the written submission and may be utilized to highlight uniqueness and innovation of the approach.

The submission shall include:

  1. A description of the population and community of focus, including demographic and geographic characteristics. A description of HIV-related disparities, stigma and PrEP and ART utilization within the target population, in quantitative and qualitative terms. A description of the need for the approach/tool for engaging the community in stigma reduction, and expected impact on the population of focus.
  2. A description of how the approach will potentially affect racial and ethnic minority groups; specific subgroups within those populations, and other interested stakeholders as identified.
  3. A description of how the approach is innovative in targeting gaps/barriers and accessible across social, cultural, and environmental aspects that influence HIV treatment and care. If technology is a part of the solution, a description of how innovative the use of technology is to maximize reach and accessibility for the project.
  4. A description of how the approach will utilize community engagement and mobilization strategies specific to the target population. A description of how community stakeholders will be involved in a meaningful way in the planning and implementation of the proposed project.
  5. A description of the proposed goal(s) and major objectives and development of a SMARTIE goal.
  6. A description of the proposed logic model for the project (i.e., inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes: short, intermediate and long term).
  7. A description of the proposed measures used to assess stigma reduction, PrEP and ART utilization.
  8. A description of a theory of change or explanation of how the proposed approach would result in the intended impact.
  9. A description of the small-scale testing and dissemination plans.
  10. A description of the nature of the activities to be undertaken in the project, how they address gaps and identified issues, and how they will assist in achieving the overall project goals and objectives.
  11. A description of major barriers anticipated for the project and a plan to address them.
  12. A description of how the approach will be evaluated and the methods that will be used to evaluate whether or not the approach achieves its measurable outcome(s) and to assess and evaluate the impact of activities proposed.
  13. A description of the method that will be used to disseminate information about the approach in easily understandable formats to the population served, policymakers, community organizations and other stakeholders.

Phase 3: Refinement of Approach and Small-Scale Testing

Submissions for Phase 3 of this competition are due by July 14, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT. Only participants who received an award for their Phase 2 submission are eligible to apply for Phase 3. The identified Official Representative (individual, team or legal entity) may apply for this phase by submitting the refined approach by email to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov. The submission for Phase 3 of the competition shall meet the following requirements:

  • Written entries must consist of PDF files with font size no smaller than 11-point Arial.
  • Supplemental video entries shall be uploaded to YouTube as an unlisted video file and the link should be sent in the email.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Participants must not use HHS or other government logos or official seals in the submissions and must not otherwise give an appearance of Federal government endorsement.
  • Submission details should be sent to HIVChallenge@hhs.gov:

    • Title the email subject line “HIV Competition Phase 3 Proposal.”
    • Email sender (person and email address) must be Official Representative/person of contact for the team.

Phase 3 builds upon the work of Phase 2. Part of the scoring criteria for Phase 3 evaluates whether the approach was successfully tested at a small scale/community level to demonstrate acceptability, usefulness and feasibility. Participants will have equal access to SMEs for group and individual coaching throughout the phase. Each participant will have one consultation session with an SME. The seven semi-finalists will come together as a small community of practice in Phase 3. Using digital tools (e.g., video conferencing, digital whiteboards), HHS will facilitate knowledge sharing among the group. Over a two-session series, HHS will provide training to increase skills in how to assess and document successes and lessons learned while implementing and testing the approach. Participants are expected to successfully implement, test and disseminate the approach: (1) within the target population in their community; (2) in another sub-group in their community; (3) by increasing the size and/or reach of the approach. The winners are expected to present their project findings and participate in post-award activities within six months after the end of the competition.

The Phase 3 submission shall include a comprehensive written description (5 pages or less) and a supplemental video (30 minutes or less) of the approach testing process and results. The video will be a supplement to the written submission and may be utilized to highlight uniqueness and innovation of the approach.

The submission shall include:

  1. A description of the effectiveness of the approach in reducing stigma related to HIV/AIDS using community engagement/mobilization strategies in racial and ethnic minority groups; specific subgroups within those populations, and other interested stakeholders as identified.
  2. A description of how the overall project goals and objectives were achieved.
  3. A description of the demonstrated outcomes.
  4. A description of what learning has occurred, for the target population, community and applicant. How have community members learned about evaluation or research methods? Did co-learning take place?
  5. A description of how the project engaged the community/stakeholders/partners throughout the project, including implementation and evaluation.
  6. A description of the small-scale testing process and findings, and how well it demonstrated that the innovation has the potential to be accessible to the population of focus, including considerations of social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence access to HIV treatment and care. A description of testing results related to the approach usability, acceptability and feasibility among the population and community of focus.
  7. A description of how the approach could be supported or implemented within their communities at a larger scale, and the resources required for next steps beyond the Challenge.
  8. A description of the method that will be used to disseminate the project’s findings, including the approach, in a timely manner and in easily understandable formats to the population served, the general public, and other parties who might be interested in using the results of the project.

Footnotes

1https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/communityengagement/pdf/PCE_Report_508_FINAL.pdf

2https://hab.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hab/Publications/careactionnewsletter/community-engage.pdf

3https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/hiv-prevention/potential-future-options/long-acting-prep

4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703840/

5https://www.hiv.gov/federal-response/ending-the-hiv-epidemic/overview#:~:text=Further%2C%20recent%20analysis%20from%20CDC,were%20not%20receiving%20HIV%20care

6https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/fact-sheet/facts-about-the-us-black-population/#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20there%20were%2046.8%20million%20people%20who,with%20varied%20racial%20and%20ethnic%20identities%20and%20experiences

7https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-supplemental-report-vol-26-1.pdf

8ibid

9https://www.ihs.gov/hivaids/stats/

10https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/reports/surveillance/cdc-hiv-surveillance-supplemental-report-vol-26-1.pdf

11https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics

12https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6837a2.htm

13https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-stigma/index.html

14https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-stigma/index.html#:~:text=HIV%20stigma%20is%20negative%20attitudes,of%20people%20can%20get%20HIV

15https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/art/index.html

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