DHS Safety Net Innovation Award (FY23-24)


Award Summary

Topic Projects that develop, implement and/or evaluate interventions that are designated by DHS stakeholders as high priority
Desired Outcomes Projects should be designed to demonstrate improvements in patient health outcomes and one more of the following: access to care, quality of care and efficiency of care.
Eligibility Principal Investigator must be an employed faculty member at USC. Co-investigators should include DHS personnel.
Application Process Assemble team, submit Letter of Intent here, and submit full application if invited
LOI Deadline EXTENDED 5pm PST, February 12th, 2024
Award Duration 2 years
Maximum Budget $125,000 (over two years)



The Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS) are partnering to develop and test interventions to enhance quality, patient‐centeredness and outcomes of care provided at the LAC DHS. These partners are committed to fostering the professional development of clinician-investigators and translational scientists as they strive to close the knowledge-to-practice gap in our regional healthcare delivery systems. This solicitation requests letters of intent that describe ideas for such projects. More detailed applications for funding will be solicited from a subset of the submitted intent letters.

Description of Pilot Grant Program

The SC CTSI and the DHS intend to issue one or more grants of up to $125,000 each for up to 24 months to support the design and implementation of interventions within DHS that will achieve the goals of quality, improved health, and patient-centered care. Priority will be given to projects that develop, implement or evaluate interventions that are designated by DHS personnel and/or patient groups as high priority (https://sites.usc.edu/hdscenter/our-priorities/). We encourage submissions from researchers whose projects build on established partnerships and engagement from stakeholders across DHS. The DHS will provide operational support for the selected projects, as well as mentorship by DHS operational leaders. The partners intend to support scientific endeavors that provide value to patients receiving care from DHS within the project period and generate results that support larger scale implementation or further application of the strategies tested in the project. Proof of concept studies that support applications for secure extramural funding are encouraged but not required. Acceptable funding mechanisms that applicant teams can indicate that they would pursue include, but are not limited to, NIH R01, R21, R03; PCORI, AHRQ, CDC, and CMS Center for Innovation.

This RFA focuses on implementation, which refers to the systematic uptake of proven clinical treatments, practices, organizational, and management interventions into routine practice with the intent of improving health. The expected impact of this program on the DHS system includes a positive impact on patients such as access, experience, health outcomes, and reduction in health disparities.

The proposed study design should suit the specific problem and align with DHS priorities and guidelines for the RFA. Viable approaches/methods to consider include behavioral economics, design thinking, systems engineering, improvement science, and implementation science. We encourage team science in which people come together from different disciplines. We also encourage disruptive innovation, by which we mean introducing new, innovative ideas for approaches to care delivery that fundamentally transform aspects of how care is delivered and that are well suited to the population that DHS serves.


This funding mechanism intends to support teams composed of a principal investigator who is an employed faculty member at USC, plus co-investigators at DHS and, where relevant, USC.  Multisite collaboration (e.g., with other universities and health systems) is strongly encouraged.

Key Dates

    • EXTENDED Deadline for Letters of Intent: February 12, 2024
    • Invitation to Submit Full Proposal: March 1, 2024
    • Receipt Deadline for Full Proposals: April 1, 2024
    • Notification of Awardees: April 19, 2024
    • Award Start Date: May 1, 2024

For more information, see RFA

Information Session