Request for Applications (RFA): Forge AHEAD Pilot Award Program

Request for Application

Apply for Health Equity Research Funding

At the Forge AHEAD Center, we are committed to advancing health equity through innovative research. The Pilot & Feasibility Scholars Program plays a pivotal role in our mission, offering a unique opportunity for investigators to engage in cutting-edge health equity research. This page serves as your guide through the application process for our Pilot Award Program.

Program Overview

The Forge AHEAD Center is at the forefront of addressing health disparities through research that delves into the contextual factors and social determinants affecting health equity. With a focus on cardiometabolic diseases, our Pilot & Feasibility Scholars Program is tailored to foster innovative translational (T3/T4) research, offering up to 6 pilot awards per cycle for projects that are poised to make significant strides in understanding and mitigating health disparities in multiple cardiometabolic diseases.

Eligibility and Funding Opportunities

Our program welcomes early-stage investigators or new investigators from institutions of higher learning in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, with a focus on including researchers from historically black colleges and universities. Up to 6 projects will receive funding of up to $50,000 for one year.

Benefits for Scholars

Selected Forge AHEAD Scholars will receive:

  • A dedicated mentoring team.
  • Opportunities for disseminating study results within scientific and local communities.
  • Support in advancing pilot studies into competitive grant applications.
  • Participation in hybrid enrichment programs for skills and career development, alongside pilot research execution and peer networking.

Meet Our Recent Scholars

Discover the innovative minds driving health equity research forward. Our Forge AHEAD Scholars exemplify the dedication, creativity, and scientific rigor that the Pilot & Feasibility Scholars Program seeks to support. By featuring their stories, we hope to inspire future applicants and demonstrate the breadth of research and collaboration fostered by our program.

Key Dates & Deadlines

Letter of Intent (LOI) Due June 25, 2024
Invitation for Full Application August 1, 2024
Full Application Deadline October 1, 2024
Scientific Merit Review October 2024
Award Notification November 2024
Program Start Date (Tentative) January 1, 2025

Application Guidance

Letter of Intent Instructions:

Applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) comprising:

  • A concise one-page summary detailing the project title, PI information, key personnel, institutions, community partners, and eligibility declaration.
  • A two-page research statement outlining the aims, background, methods, T3/T4 focus areas, and anticipated impact on regional cardiometabolic health, including community outreach or partnerships.
  • A one-page overview on how the project aligns with Center themes (obesity, diabetes, hypertension) and addresses social determinants of health.
  • A lay summary (1 page) explaining the project’s goals, significance, innovative approach, community engagement strategies, and expected community impact.
  • Current NIH biosketches for the applicant and proposed mentor.

Please compile your LOI documents into a single PDF and submit via the link provided by 5:00 pm CT on June 25, 2024. Decisions on LOIs will be communicated by August 1, 2024. For further details or inquiries, please contact Dr. Trudi Horton at

Join Our Mission

The Forge AHEAD Center is dedicated to creating a future where health equity is a reality for all. We invite you to join our journey, apply to our Scholars Program, and help shape the landscape of health equity research. For more information and to begin your application process, click here to access the RFA document.