NIH launches $30 million pilot to test feasibility of a national primary care research network

June 7, 2024
Initiative aims to improve health outcomes by integrating research in everyday primary care settings.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing approximately $30 million in total over fiscal years 2024 and 2025 to pilot a national primary care research network that integrates clinical research with community-based primary care.

The new initiative called Communities Advancing Research Equity for Health – or CARE for Health – seeks to improve access to clinical research to inform medical care, particularly for those in communities historically underrepresented in clinical research or underserved in healthcare. Informed by the health needs of these communities, CARE for Health will help to grow an evidence base that contributes to improved patient outcomes, provide communities access to the best available scientific research and expand opportunities to participate in clinical trials and studies. NIH Director Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., lays out her vision for CARE for Health in a Science Editorial that was published on June 6.

Supported through the NIH Common Fund, CARE for Health will initially leverage existing NIH-funded clinical research networks and community partners to establish the infrastructure that will support research at select primary care sites. Initial awards will fund organizations that serve rural communities and are expected to be made in fall 2024.

Participating clinical sites will be able to choose research studies based on health issues affecting and prioritized by their communities. Patients will be able to contribute their data to research in order to generate results that are clinically meaningful to them. Final study findings and aggregate results will be shared with research participants. CARE for Health will expand NIH-funded research studies to increase engagement with people from communities historically underrepresented or underserved in healthcare and clinical research. This includes people from certain racial and ethnic groups, those who are older, those who live in rural areas and those who have low socioeconomic status or lower educational attainment. Studies will seek to address common health issues, as well as disease prevention.  

As CARE for Health expands, the program will launch new studies across the network and further establish study sites, training capabilities, data management and increased interoperability. By expanding collaborations to integrate research data into clinical practice and clinical data collection into research studies, the network will facilitate the use of innovative practices and trial designs to minimize burden of research on primary care providers and patients.

NIH release