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Children's Health Protection

EPA Opening Remarks from the November 30, 2004 Pre-proposal Assistance Call


  1. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to identify projects that will build state and tribal capacity to address the environmental triggers of childhood asthma. This solicitation focuses on building capacity first in the course of improving the environmental health of children. EPA staff at Headquarters and in our Regional offices are very small in numbers. The only way that we can hope to improve children’s environmental health is through others. We must work through others to develop awareness and to take action to address the environmental triggers of childhood asthma. We must work through the states and tribes to address children’s environmental health. Our work with the states over the last few years has convinced us that environment and health agencies must work together to address children’ s environmental health that represents, by definition, the nexus of their responsibilities. Sometimes this work can be accomplished by the state or tribal agencies alone and in other cases they work together in the context of an asthma coalition. In either case, the state or tribe must have documented significant sustained involvement of senior representatives of their environment and health departments.


  2. The emphasis on environment and health departments of the states or tribes working together to build capacity to address the environmental triggers of childhood asthma drives the selection criteria in the solicitation. The building of this capacity is designed to reach beyond the focus of your specific project.


  3. EPA’s goal includes the protection of human health. However, statutorily EPA is limited to funding environmental projects. In this case we must focus on the environmental triggers of childhood asthma. While we recognize that asthma is a health issue, we cannot fund, for instance, the inhalers or flow meters used to control the asthma or measure the severity of the asthmatic’s condition. If there are health interventions within a project, those costs would have to be broken out and funded through some other mechanism.


  4. Measurable public health outcomes are desirable at the end of these projects although no one in my office is expecting to be able to identify a specific child whose life has been saved through this intervention. EPA is being pushed to move beyond counting outputs (beans) and on to measures of environmental results. Please consider this in your proposal and help us meet this challenge as much as possible.


  5. This is the 2nd national RFA from our small office, the Office of Children’s Health Protection. However, we are joined by a team of 10 Regional Coordinators. If your proposal is selected for funding, they may serve as valuable advisors to your projects.


  6. In the way of a profile: we received 35 Letters of Intent from 19 states; several proposals from several states; all nine eligible regions represented with proposals; many asthma coalitions; and 11 Tribal applicants (1st year for tribes).


  7. It is our intent to make this a fair competition throughout.


  8. The Funding Authority Section for this solicitation is Section 103 of the Clean Air Act. This is important because it is the Statutory Authority that dictates what we can and cannot fund. This issue is discussed in the Solicitation under Statutory Criteria. You will notice an emphasis on a learning concept rather than fixing a specific environmental problem by a tried and true method. This funding opportunity is not for things like implementing Tools For Schools in still more school buildings. We want to advance the state of knowledge or transfer information to other practitioners. This might be the 1st application of an approach/demonstration project or innovative approach. Research is allowable in terms of breaking some new ground through a new approach to help us all improve things for children’s environmental health. Applicants should talk about proposed activities in terms of ambient and indoor pollution, the statutory authority and how it relates to what we can pay for.


  9. The Target Investment Area section is intended to signal that there should be a focus on communities, especially to communities at greatest risk in your areas, or in other words, areas of disproportionate risk.


  10. Target Project Areas represent general areas of focus for activities. This section lists such things as the chartering of new asthma coalitions with the requisite significant involvement of senior state/tribal environment and health department officials. Projects might involve a new effort to include the management of environmental triggers of asthma in the licensing programs or inspections of childcare facilities, Headstart programs, homeless shelters etc.


  11. Proposals may be for grants or cooperative agreements. It is the applicant’s choice which they should define in their proposal. Applicants should recognize that with a grant, the applicant accomplishes the proposal on its own as negotiated with the Agency. If the project requires a survey, this can only be accomplished through a grant. Under a cooperative agreement, the applicant requests a greater involvement of EPA personnel in the project. The terms of this interaction are agreed to during award negotiations. Technical assistance is an example of what the Region might provide.


  12. EPA expects to be able to fund seven to nine projects from $25,000-50,000 each. The funding amount will vary with the project. Projects that are not selected will be retained for up to one year from receipt of proposal in case we get supplementary funding or find others interested in funding them. You will find us slow to tell you we have not selected your project as we try to identify funding for as many good proposals as possible.


  13. Remember that Federally recognized tribes will need to provide documentation of their status.


  14. SPOC List: Some states want to review any grants proposals that come in. For those states (as listed on the OMB web site) you must notify your state when you send in an application to EPA. The state then must notify EPA that it’s acceptable to make an award.


  15. Projects require substantial involvement of both the environment and health departments of the state or tribe. Published selection criteria won’ t score a project very well if the state or tribe simply passes funding along to a 3rd party.


  16. Pre-award costs are not covered under this solicitation. No costs can be incurred until after the date specified in your award agreement.


  17. Cost sharing is not required.


  18. The Solicitation outlines Initial Review Criteria. We won’t go searching for information through the application. The order of materials should follow the order specified in the Solicitation. We don’t want to miss information. Completeness is key in initial screening. We don’t want your project to fail because we cannot find the information or because items were not included. You will have worked too hard for that to happen.


  19. Timeliness of submission is important – proposals must be shipped by Feb 1, 2005. See the details in the Solicitation.


  20. Proposal submissions must include an original, signed in contrasting ink (to identify it as the original), and nine complete copies. Include no extra materials. They involve extra work and we won’t review them.


  21. An applicant may submit multiple proposals but only one proposal per applicant will be awarded under this solicitation.


  22. Please follow the revised due dates as found on the web page and in the second Federal Register Notice.


  23. The required forms listed in the solicitation will be posted on the web page in the next few days. You will need to complete an SF 424 front and back; full application with details regarding your organization, background, accomplishments in the past, involvement with Federal government or other private firms in projects like you are suggesting; an outline of what your project will be; and detailed budget with narrative. You also will need to follow the proposal requirements listed in the Solicitation.


  24. All certifications must be signed by an individual in your organization who can legally commit your organization in a binding contract. This is often a budget person. EPA awards to the prime organization, the one with the DUNS number & RIN number listed on the application. So, if you don’t have a DUNS and your co-partner does and they don’t qualify, you could be disqualified. So, make sure that if you are partnering, the other organization has valid numbers. Refer to the Solicitation for information on how to get a DUNS number for your organization.


  25. Remember that you must also do a work plan proposal narrative even if it seems redundant with the EPA Application Kit.


  26. Appendices include letters of commitment from each state, tribe and major partners. Letters must be project specific! Include resumes for key personnel and focus on their role in this project. Do not include general letters of support.


  27. A summary of the Pre-proposal Assistance Call will be posted on the web site on December 7, 2004.


  28. The last Q&As will be posted on January 19th (Jan. 20 is Inauguration Day and the office will be closed). This closing of Q&As allows all applicants to complete their proposals without additional information coming online.


  29. Proposals must be shipped on or before Feb 1, 2005. It is hard for EPA Headquarters to receive US Mail because it must be irradiated. This results in severely delayed deliveries and alteration to the quality of the paper. Therefore, the use of a commercial delivery service (e.g., Fed Ex, UPS, DHL) is strongly suggested. If you must use the US Mail, a private postage meter must not be used because the timeliness clock is based on time of receipt by the courier or the U.S. Post Office.


  30. Accepted projects will be announced by early summer 2005.


  31. The projected start date is approximately July 15, 2005.


  32. The budget period is 12 months from date of award.


  33. Pay attention to eligible and ineligible expenses as defined in the Solicitation.


  34. Evaluation criteria (administrative and technical) are detailed in the Solicitation.


  35. Ten Bonus points reflect the special factors that might influence the quality of the proposal.


  36. Projects will be evaluated, scored and ranked by EPA (HQ and Regional ) and possibly external reviewers against published criteria. Other factors listed under "Review and Selection Process," will be applied to the highest ranking projects as we do the final tweaking of the list.


  37. Cost Analysis will be done after the projects are scored and ranked to verify allowable and allocable charges.


  38. Examples of potential projects are provided at end of the Solicitation.


  39. All addresses are included in the Solicitation.


  40. As I read the Letters of Intent, there were often hints of relationships that might or might not have been responsive to eligibility. In the full proposals, applicants (especially coalitions) must be very specific in describing your relationship with the states or tribes to be considered eligible.


  41. HIPPA PRIVACY regulations: be very careful that you discuss the HIPPA requirements of your project and explain how the project is feasible within those regulations.


  42. We cannot pay for blood tests, medical interventions, biological testing, or medical plans, etc. The preponderance of effort must be environmental.


  43. Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) will be required for human subject work.



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