First, HRSA can be difficult to communicate with. Like most of us, they are overworked and understaffed. Voicemail for Program Officers is often full, making it difficult to leave a message. Emails are usually returned, although there is often a long time period before receiving a response. It pays to be persistent, because when you find someone, either by phone or email, they can help you with questions about your proposal.
The HRSA Call Center is very good about returning calls regarding requests for technical help (how to upload grants, technical problems with progress reports).
You may want to ask SoN faculty and staff who have submitted past HRSA training grants your questions before contacting HRSA.
How to Start
Budget: The best way to start is to begin with a draft of your budget. This can help you determine who will be involved in the project, and how much you can afford to include in the project. Next, you will want to draft your objectives.
Objectives: Remember, the more objectives you include in the proposal, the more you will have to write (methodologies, evaluation for each objective, etc.).
Summary Statement: Although HRSA suggests completing your Summary Statement after you have completed the grant proposal, we recommend that you do it early on. This can help you pinpoint your priorities, and can serve as a reminder to keep you focused on these priorities.
To Do Early in the Process
Collect information to support the need for program (i.e., support nurses who will deliver care to medically underserved/diverse populations, with goal to diversify the nursing workforce). You may want to review the School of Nursing Survey of Washington State Employer Survey Report (2005, PDF) and Nurse Needs Survey Report(2005, PDF). You might want to create a survey to be distributed to current students, CNE attendees, other conference attendees.
Get the necessary SoN approvals.
In order to get the required SoN approvals, you need to follow the instructions on Memorandum 39, "New & Revised Training Grants, Programs, and Focal Areas."
If your program will have new or revised courses, you will need to follow the directions on Memorandum 38, "New or Revised Courses."
If your grant involves a Certificate Program, you will need to follow the directions Memorandum 37, "Graduate Certificate Program in Advanced Practice Nursing."
Determine whether you want to have a Modeling Party. If you want help shaping ideas and determining who might be internal and external partners, you will want to have a modeling party early. If you want help fine-tuning the grant, you can plan a modeling party mid-stream, when the grant is ready for review. However, the downside of having a modeling party later on is that you may be tempted to change dramatically the content of the grant, and you may not have time to do this sufficiently. Click here to schedule a modeling party.
Create a Schedule for preparation that all working on the grant refer so that nothing slips through the cracks, and you keep to your targeted schedule.
REMEMBER: The Office of Sponsored Programs REQUIRES receipt of a FINAL COMPLETED GRANT three working days to process electronic submissions.
If the HRSA deadline is December 8, you MUST have a completed grant to OSP by December 5st. Although OSP has been flexible about deadlines in the past, they have not been flexible about this. Click here for a sample schedule (Word, Note: sample schedule is from 2006 - not yet updated!).