Looking for grant money for your research?

Times are tight. It's tough getting grants from NIH and NSF, but the government has heard your plight and has responded by opening up new avenues to request support: apply for an NCMHD Innovative Faith-Based Approaches to Health Disparities Research grant!

Purpose. The purpose of the NCMHD Innovative Faith-Based Approaches to Health Disparities Research (R21) is to solicit applications that propose translational and transdisciplinary interventions on health disparities, social determinants of health, health behavior and promotion and disease prevention, especially those jointly conducted with faith-based organizations or faith-motivated programs and the research community.  The ultimate goal is to foster empirical, formative, evaluative and intervention research on effective faith-motivated initiatives, concepts and theories that have played an important role in addressing health disparities.  Funding is also intended to provide support for early and conceptual stages of exploratory and developmental research projects.  This focus will allow studies to evaluate the impact of faith-based initiatives and programs in health disparity populations, formulate hypotheses about the role and unique characteristics of faith communities in addressing health disparities, design targeted interventions and track the efficacy of faith-motivated efforts that result from a participatory approach to research in the community. These studies may involve considerable risk but may lead to a breakthrough in addressing health disparities or the development of a model or application that could have a major impact on the field of health disparities research.

It's not quite as vile as it sounds — they aren't endorsing the efficacy of faith-based approaches to health, they're just saying that there are all these churches around and people go to them more easily than they do to clinics, so explore that and see if you can sneak in some science to go with their superstition. Probably. It's all imbedded in typical murky NIHese, and it does involve forming partnerships with faith-based institutions, so some of your $275,000 direct funds will end up supporting the nonsense we ought to be working against.

Does 'These studies may involve considerable risk' mean that you will be ran out of town by pitchfork bearing villagers complaining about "you an' yurr fancy larnin'"? Or does it mean that the faith-based organisation will break off the partnership as soon as they realise that the raw data shows that religion is pure placebo and you're left with nothing to publish?

By bloodredsun.my… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

We looked into recruiting healthy control volunteers through churches as part of some studies on aging and dementia, but -- and this is not a joke -- it was too difficult to differentiate faith from frontotemporal signs.

The ultimate goal is to foster empirical, formative, evaluative and intervention research on effective faith-motivated initiatives, concepts and theories that have played an important role in addressing health disparities.

Get yer filthy empirical data away from our faith! We'll be having none of that "scientific research" in here!

By alysonmiers (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

@bloodredsun: They mean the latter. Pitchforks are rarely used by modern churches. Semiautomatic weapons now...

Perhaps one can get around the rules by simply forming a "Church of the Placebite." That way one can get grant funding using the faith-based control group receiving placebos.

It's a bit clunky, but then again, the grant process already was.

By Acronym Jim (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hmmm... R21. So it is a high-risk type of grant, with no expectation of a definitive outcome. Figures.

effective faith-motivated initiatives

Wow! My irony meter just blew! What, like the "abstinence only" program?

By Kausik Datta (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm trying to think of examples of what sorts of research programs would be applicable here:

1.) Are some religious beliefs correlated with refusing or ignoring particular therapies or medical modalities, and would it be useful for churches to help 'get the word out' on the value of regular health check-ups, vaccinations, birth control, Living Wills, etc.?

Maybe. Could be useful.

2.) Are 'spiritual modes of healing' like reiki and prayer effective?

Waste of time and money.

3.) Would people prefer that their religious leaders become involved in making decisions on what is, and isn't, sound medical practice, and should the scientific community therefore bow to these moral strictures and Other Ways of Knowing?

Scary. No.

I'm not really sure then what they're aiming at.

headslap!

By NewEnglandBob (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

What a priceless piece of prose - I have sympathy with the satirists when they say it's impossible to keep up with reality....
But this is the brave new world of Obama, the liberal agenda, inclusiveness....blah, blah blah....

By clausentum (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Maybe they'd buy my study if I spun it right...I'm writing a pilot study to try to improve sleep quality for hospitalized patients. Do you think that if I changed it to "enhanced opportunity for prolonged quit meditation and spiritual contemplation" (aka sleep and dreaming) they'd fund it?

Oooh! Oooh! Infiltration and subversion. :)

By Abdul Alhazred (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

The major problem with this is that it privileges "faith based" partners. There are plenty of community based organizations and social institutions that are not religious, but they are excluded.

And it would be one thing to study religion and religious communities as factors in health determination -- which obviously could be positive or negative. But to say you have to do it in collaboration with the very same institutions you are studying, or no dough, is not exactly scientific.

By cervantes (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

But this is the brave new world of Obama, the liberal agenda, inclusiveness....blah, blah blah....

Wrong! Epically wrong! This had its genesis in GW Bush's "Faith Based Initiative." To label this as part of the Obama's "liberal agenda" is utterly assinine. Where have you been for the past decade?

By cervantes (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Holy crap - after 3 weeks movable type finally sent me the confirmation e-mail! Must be a faith thing.

On the one hand I wonder whether this provides grounds for showing that the woo-woo faith based initiatives set up by Bush are ineffective and should therefore be discontinued.
On the other it is possible that the social networks provided by churches form a valuable and perhaps measurable function for some members - so identifying which types of organizations do good versus those which are actively malignant might be a useful way to spend some research money.

Well, I do like the image of ushers weighing and measuring you and telling you your BMI before escorting you to your pew. BMI over 30? Walk to the front row and park in back of the lot!

The "faith based initiative" thing always was a bipartisan screw, even if some Democrats were always against it.

By Abdul Alhazred (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

We might have a solution to the confirmation e-mail problem. I don't know what it was, but I did a cunning and evil thing: I set up an email filter that automatically forwarded every complaint about the damned non-response to our helpful Seed intermediate. She may have yelled at the techies just to make the flood stop.

cervantes #14
ok, but perhaps it's bipartisan liberal c...p, but the fact is that conservative parties are forced to compete nowadays on moronic "egalitarian" initiatives. Bush's "no child left behind" campaign, which apparently has had a disastrous effect on educational standards, being, another case in point.

By clausentum (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

There were some who said that appointment of Francis Collins to head of NIH would be just fine because his beliefs with regard to the relationship between science and religion wouldn't matter to his job and it was discrimination to claim they would. Those people have just been proven wrong.

By Steven Mading (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hmm.. Possible study under this: "What are the most effective ways in disasters to convince people to *convert*, before offering real aid, and how many of them will accept solar powered bibles instead?" lol

I don't really see anything wrong with this. It's researching the effectiveness of reaching out to "health disparity populations" (eg poor people, probably brown people) via churches. When did we become afraid of research?

Well, if atheism is a "religion," then secular medicine is just another form of "faith-based medical practice," and mainstream science should get that money! Am I right?

#16:

Well, I do like the image of ushers weighing and measuring you and telling you your BMI before escorting you to your pew. BMI over 30? Walk to the front row and park in back of the lot!

And then the priest could examine your kids.

I thought there was some sort of separation of church and state there in the U.S.. This is a pretty shameful example of mixing the two. It's sort of frightening for those of us outside the U.S. to see what direction you guys are headed.

By Janice in Toronto (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

PZ #18 - whatever it was, it worked for me (I did send an e-mail) so thank you.

Steven #20 - you can't seriously think that every RFA that comes out of NIH goes across the directors desk. Whatever your thoughts on Collins beliefs (and I shared the reservations) I haven't seen any evidence that they have in any way influenced his effectiveness in this role. The guy is really bright, a good scientist and a very competent administrator. He just happens to believe stuff which I, apparently you, and likely most of the other people reading this blog, consider crazy. You might take a look at this link which gives an interesting perspective on thought processes.

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/01/an-ill-wind-in.html#more

@25 we even vote in churches, omgbbq, theocracy!

Seriously blogs like this discredit more legitimate criticism. Doing research on how to reach underserved populations is a *good* thing. Casting scientific scrutiny on supposed 'faith-based' initiatives is also a good thing.

1.) Are some religious beliefs correlated with refusing or ignoring particular therapies or medical modalities, and would it be useful for churches to help 'get the word out' on the value of regular health check-ups, vaccinations, birth control, Living Wills, etc.?

The NIHese leads me to believe that this is almost certainly what this RFA is about, in which case it's not as nutty as some would make it sound. In fact, it's fairly reasonable. It appears to be all about looking at health disparities in underserved populations and whether churches and other faith-based organizations can develop programs to help decrease these disparities. Those are the groups that are there "on the ground." As long as the money doesn't end up going for proselytizing, I really see little to get upset about.

"The ultimate goal is to foster empirical, formative, evaluative and intervention research on effective faith-motivated initiatives, concepts and theories that have played an important role in addressing health disparities".

...effective faith-motivated initiatives...

Effective?
And what exactly might they look like?
The horror of establishing such a resource is that their will be little 'scrutiny', for most of the grantees will be from within the 'faith' community itself. This is a piss poor experiment, and costly in more ways than you think.

We might have a solution to the confirmation e-mail problem.

Yup. They've gone back to the days when your posts just sat there, none-responsive. After 5 minutes, I resubmitted....and double-posted. Sigh...

PS I couldn't get babelfish to translate that proposition into English. Well, at least it didn't use the dread 'modalities' word.

The NIHese leads me to believe that this is almost certainly what this RFA is about, in which case it's not as nutty as some would make it sound. In fact, it's fairly reasonable. It appears to be all about looking at health disparities in underserved populations and whether churches and other faith-based organizations can develop programs to help decrease these disparities. Those are the groups that are there "on the ground." As long as the money doesn't end up going for proselytizing, I really see little to get upset about.

I agree with this. I just think it's really funny to see all that empirical woo-defying language in the same paragraph as "faith-based initiatives." It's an eye-catching juxtaposition.

By alysonmiers (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

These grants are to study disparities in health care access. So for example "why are religiously sponsored/operated hospitals in the inner cities and the for-profit ones are not" would also fall under the topic. I remember during the discussions about the threat by the Catholic church to close its hospitals if they had to provide reproductive services it was mentioned they were providing half of the inner city hospitals. So in regards to disparities, this might actually be a worth wile subject to study.

I thought it read as though religion were trying to get into politics while masquerading as medicine.

Can we get money to vaccinate Jehovah's Witless and Seventh Day Adventists? Maybe we can even do some quick blood tests and try to identify children with Type 1 diabetes.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

My first instinct was the same as Steven Mading's. I hope that the interest is actually in finding out more about disparities resulting from different faith motivated approaches to medicine, and finding ways to encourage the faithful towards a better way of looking at health care within their respective traditions.

Then again, if the money for this kind of grant goes towards proselytizing, or towards organizations which disguise proselytizing with a medical facade, then people should probably speak up, possibly even start calling for Francis Collins' head, if the situation is absurd enough and he tries defending it. Yeah hypothetical situations.

Here's an example of what kind of program this addresses: HIV is rampant in among many African American communities, driven largely by the stigma perpetuated by the church. Getting primarily black churches on board with advocating HIV testing among the congregants, esp. via the pastors getting tested publicly, opens the way for prevention and treatment efforts in those communities hardest hit.

The fact: these populations trust their pastors more than scientists.

Work with the pastors if you care for practical public health efforts.

Damn you PZ, I saw the title and was excited for a new grant organization...until I read the post.

There IS a way to get "comments" over there...sort of...in a potentially most annoying manner.

Click on "praying" at the bottom of Ham's posts gets you into an inner sanctum of ludicrous, where prayers certain "prayers" evidently considered of worthy import are characterized as "Projects"...and DEADLINES (believe it or not) are emplaced on some of them.

If thou is impatient, help thyself to the following link:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/prayer/

Scroll past the garbage and you will find a blue box with a lkist including one headed "CONTACT US" - including "Map & Directions" apparently offering a means of locating them, a "Report Newsworthy Story" link no doubt spewcifically designed for outraged Christians (hint hint), and providing relief for those poor souls who suffer any "Technical Problem" (further hint hints).

What Pharyngulites can do for polls, they might do as well for "Reporting Newsworthy Events" or vent frustrations related to Technical Problems".

DAMN...and with all those typos I presumed I had corrected. I will not apologize for them.

I HATE how my machine slows down to a CRAWL under the influence of ScienceBlogs.

I HATE IT.

I don't understand the logic: people can more easily VISIT let alone COMMENT on places like Huffington Post and NewScientist.

There seems to be no reason for the constipation here...except a few bozos who are covering their asses after having started something 15 months ago that none of them has since admitted was a crock of shit.

Every other website everywhere works fine and dandy. Every other blog is easy to access without the threat of a system-wide crash.

ScienceBlogs has managed to fix up something so uselessly complicated that they still can't figure out how to get rid of the bugs. WTF is the POINT???

"Report Newsworthy Story" link no doubt spewcifically designed for outraged Christians

I though that was inspired snark! Now you are telling me it was just a typo? I may need to borrow that. "spewcifically" LOL!

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

BSlind Squirrel FCD says,

"I though that was inspired snark! Now you are telling me it was just a typo? I may need to borrow that. "spewcifically" LOL!
BS"

How stupendously thoughtful of you to point out the bleeding obvious. I don't give a SHIT what you think. I went through numberlesws hoops and hundreds of crashyes to SAY SOMETHING, okay? (Oops, it looks like you left out a "t" on "though"...FASCINATING...).

Never mind the possibility that my machine runs so slowly and erratically every time I visit this site, that commands by key or mouse take ten or twenty seconds or more to execute...and often render open windows a gobbledegook mess that inevitably leads to a crash.

And in trying to complete a message and proof-reading it, the unresponsiveness that palls over my machine - as an automatic result of visiting the site - renders those options (which you so much enjoy as a matter of routine) gives you a "reason" to dis the disadvantaged ones for having problems not of their making.

But for 15 MONTHS now this shit has been going on, okay bub? And I'm sick and tired of seeing assholes just like you declare it is all perfectly hunky-dory just because they don't have any problems.

You know what? You remind me exactly of the kind of idiot who places his faith in the certainty of what you THINK is all the evidence at hand. Too bad you can't bother about looking into what others say about the subject.

To me, that makes you as assinine as a Ken Ham.

Oh no. You are one of the chosen. You don't have any problems. GOOD FOR FUCKING YOU. Might as well swipe at the relatively few people who are hard-headed enough to keep trying to get through, huh? And you'd never DREAM slighting anyone who's been a regular and devoted visitor of Pharyngula since WELL BEFORE PZ switched over to ScienceBlogs, would you?

There are a LOT of us, and THEY'RE ALL FED UP.

You would not have lasted a WEEK under those same circumstances, pal. A newbie like you, who so quickly absorbs the Schtick of Appearances would have chucked it all REGARDLESS of the superb content that Pharyngula (and other ScienceBlogs sites) pretend to provide. You would not have gone anywhere near what I and hundreds of others have had to go through in order to get so much as a single comment in...not when your machine crawls down to a character every 10 seconds.

So, if I may say from the bottom of my heart, in the most straightforward sincerity I can muster: you know not what the fuck you are talking about.

To alleviate your concerns, I have suffered two [strike that - NOW THREE (pending its actual posting) [NO!!! FOUR!!!] crashes, about 40 minutes [no, now nearly 2 hours] on JUST TO POST a single message] requiring reboots just to get this comment across in a decent proof-read state.

It is NOT a pleasant exercise and I do NOT expect it to be become a routine every time I visit Pharyngula. I would rather fight.

I repeat: ScienceBlogs, as it currently operates, sucks absysmally.

That estimation in NO WAY impinges on the content, which has always been superb...otherwise I would never have bothered to keep visiting.

All of this makes it triply ludicrous: here I am trying to DEFEND myself against an IDIOT who thinks I'm just making all this up...the first chance in MONTHS that I've had to comment (and only whenever PZ turned the filter off) instead of being freely able to comment on issues brought forth by PZ (as I was once freely able to).

BS? I would sincerely suggest the possibility that you are even more blind than you give yourself credit for.

Oh, and BTW, your self-imposed "FCD" rating means (drumroll here) NOTHING. Placing that after your handle is just as sincere as your apparent devotion to this site is.

So I will say this while I am currently able: fuck the hell off, and find something better to apply your limited skills to. OKAY, BUB?

Wow.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

What the...?

*glances around kind of uncertainly*

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

*agape*

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

violent misinterpretation cleanup on aisle 40

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

hee hee...that's some kind of rant gives these hardened maniacs pause.

By Antiochus Epiphanes (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

PZ @ #18:

We might have a solution to the confirmation e-mail problem. I don't know what it was, but I did a cunning and evil thing: I set up an email filter that automatically forwarded every complaint about the damned non-response to our helpful Seed intermediate. She may have yelled at the techies just to make the flood stop.

I wonder if this might just a wee bit late to repair the damage for some people. Just wondering, No reason in particular.

I'm unsure as to whether I'm amused, scared or extremely turned on.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

someone call that man an ambulance!

Well, at least Blind Squirrel FCD got the "spew" part right.

By aratina cage o… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

You know, it's because we've all become lightweights when it comes to the "dummy spit" that we think it's odd. We just don't have tantrums now like they did in the 70's and 80's. We've gotten all soft and group-huggish.

In fact, in my personal opinion, there hasn't been a true meltdown since McEnroe retired.

..until now of course.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

*blink*

*blink*

*blink*

*crickets*

By Jadehawk, OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I give that post a 10 out of 10

By joshddunn (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

If he turned up to explain it, I'd give it a 100 out of 100.

Not likely though cause I imagine he's lying in some foetal position somewhere getting over his apoplexy.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 21 Jan 2010 #permalink

I've read it several times now. It's most entertaining. My favorite part:

You would not have lasted a WEEK under those same circumstances, pal. A newbie like you, who so quickly absorbs the Schtick of Appearances would have chucked it all REGARDLESS of the superb content that Pharyngula (and other ScienceBlogs sites) pretend to provide.

Is he visiting a blog or training to be a Navy Seal?

I have decided I shall now dub, anytime I'm about to explode, a "starfart". In fact I think, in honour of our recently departed friend, this would be a wonderful name to keep his spirit alive and I shall use it next time I engage some fundie freak.

Example:

Creotard: ..but the bible says so!

B of S: No it doesn't.

Creotard: no really it does , Lord Jesus said so

B of S: Your might want to fuck of, I'm about to Starfart.

By Bride of Shrek OM (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey, Sciblogs is bad, but it isn't that bad. Something tells me starfart has a f***cked up system at home. Maybe time to replace that ancient Win 3.1 system?

Health disparities in religious communities are caused by relying on witchdoctors instead of medicine. Where is my check?

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'd say a starfart is a supernova. So, according to Sagan, we all owe our very existence to starfarts.

my dreams of becoming a faith-based engineer are near!

That's the first time I've ever witnessed a person imploding on here. Impressive.

So starfart, if you ever do manage to recover and decide you still want to post here (why the fuck I am encouraging this, I have no clue. Must be SIWOTI syndrome)... then do what a sane person would do in the case where your computer is acting dodgy:

Compose your post *outside* the browser in a text editor like Notepad, and save it to file. Then nick into your speed-challenged browser, paste your screed in, and hit Submit. You don't lose hours of work that way...

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

...oh, and it probably would be a good idea for starfart to check his puter for worms and virii.

...and where the hell is BS to take the credit so richly deserved for being the monkey wrench in this poor wretch's brain?

B of S: Your might want to fuck of, I'm about to Starfart.

Damn you, BoS, I'm still suppressing my guffaw reflex and it's been like 20 minutes since I read that...

I simply can not wait for that exact line to be used in appropriate context.

By Celtic_Evolution (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

..and where the hell is BS to take the credit so richly deserved for being the monkey wrench in this poor wretch's brain?

I gave up on the thread when the comment rate fell off. Possibly a good thing?

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

I gave up on the thread when the comment rate fell off. Possibly a good thing?

you're kidding?

I'd say #40 is evidence to the contrary!

best implosion rant I've seen in weeks and weeks!

Perhaps Joni Mitchell said it best:

We are starfarts
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh, I just laughed so hard that I had to get a tissue for all the tears streamng down my face! I feel for Starfart, I really do, but Bride of Shrek, you are so damn funny. Am still giggling like a complete fool. Good thing my office door is closed, I probably sound like a loon!!

By ctenotrish (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey, starfart, update your browser!!!

As I already said in another thread.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ichthyic, what I meant spewcifically (hehehehe Dog, but I am evil) was that after my initial comment almost two and a half hours passed with no further comment, so I gave up on refreshing the page.
Now here is a scary thought: Starfart may even now be trying to compose (if that comment at #40 could be said to be composed) a further comment. after all, we haven't heard from starfart since, have we?

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

two and a half hours passed with no further comment

ah.

It's two and a half hours to you, but that's like two minutes in starfart-browser time.

Starfart, I feel your pain. I've been trying to comment on the poll thread for the last 30 minutes. No dice.

BS

By Blind Squirrel FCD (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's two and a half hours to you, but that's like two minutes in starfart-browser time.

Moggie FTW!

By MetzO'Magic (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wasn't he the guy from that movie, Office Space?

By redrabbitslife (not verified) on 22 Jan 2010 #permalink

Poopyhead@18:

We might have a solution to the confirmation e-mail problem. I don't know what it was, but I did a cunning and evil thing: I set up an email filter that automatically forwarded every complaint about the damned non-response to our helpful Seed intermediate. She may have yelled at the techies just to make the flood stop.

This problem still exists; namely, e-mail to Teh SciBorg Webmaster <webmaster@scienceblogs.com> continues to bounce back with some bizarre reference to Generalissimo Google™ Groups.

I'm unsure as to whether I'm amused, scared or extremely turned on.

Why choose?