The Innovations Grant application process is open.

University of Chicago Medicine Innovations Grant

Now in its 8th year, the UChicago Medicine Innovations Grant Program supports impactful projects that use research-quality methods to design, implement, and/or evaluate innovative solutions to health system operational challenges. UChicago Medicine aims to identify and develop investigators, to provide seed support for critical projects that improve quality and safety at our institutions and create value for our patients.

New Parameters for 2021 Innovations Grant Program:

Innovation Grant ideas ought to align with either UChicago Medicine’s Annual Operating Plan and/or its 2022 Quality Scorecard (links will be provided when they are available). In addition, HDSI requests that Innovation Grant submissions address at least one of the following themes:

  • Social Determinants of Health of UChicago Medicine Patients and Families
  • Advance Care Planning in our health system
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the intervention design
  • Hospital at Home

Your proposal will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


  • Does this project help improve an important problem affecting healthcare or operations at UChicago Medicine?
  • In what way will the project create value for UCM patients and/or the delivery system?
  • How will our understanding of healthcare delivery be improved by achieving the aims outlined?
  • Are the results of this project likely to be generalizable to other areas or institutions? Could they result in additional grant funding in the future to further explore the area?


  • Is the proposed project original and innovative?
  • Does this project propose to employ innovative concepts, approaches, processes or tools?


  • Does this project incorporate high-quality evaluation of the proposed innovation?
  • Have limitations been adequately addressed?
  • Is the team compelling and able to carry out the project?
  • Is the team multidisciplinary? (Teams that consist of only one discipline of provider/investigator are less likely to be funded.)
  • Do team members have a track record of successful implementation?
  • Do one or more team members have a credible track record of research experience, applicable to the proposed project?


  • Can this project feasibly be completed in a one-year period?
  • Is there evidence of support and a plan for engaging necessary stakeholders?

UCM Resources

If the success of your project depends on use of (or change in) existing UCM staffing, data collection, new technology or other interventions, HDSI offers you the following assistance in making sure your grant application is the most comprehensive as possible:

PRIOR (Pilots, Research & Innovation Operational Review)  consultation process introduces investigators to operational leaders to provide guidance and coordination during the project design phase. HDSI Innovations Grant applications will receive priority access to this complimentary service.

In addition, the following individuals are available for research project design consultation:

  • Research methods and analysis: John Fahrenbach, PhD Data Scientist, Healthcare Delivery Science & Innovation
  • Research data requests:
  • Access to data and changes to health system IT devices:
    • John Moses, MS, Director, IS Clinical Systems & Research
    • Shariq Ata Executive Director Data Analytics, Architecture, Integration & Innovation
  • Quality Performance Improvement: Sam Ruokis, Executive Director, Quality Performance Improvement and Safety


All UChicago Medicine staff, trainees and faculty are eligible to apply. Research teams must include members of more than one discipline. One or more members of the team must have research experience that is adequate to design and carry out a rigorous evaluation of the targeted innovation.  Trainees must work with a faculty mentor. Recipients of the Innovation Grant must be prepared to offer a 1-year commitment to their UChicago Medicine-centered project.


The Innovations Grant funding is generously supported by a private philanthropist with matching support from the Office of the UCM President. The Center for Healthcare Delivery Science & Innovation will fund up to $50,000 for each one-year project. Budgets should take into consideration appropriate salary support, supplies, costs associated with fulfilling CRI data requests and/or project management and statistical expertise.

Submission Deadline: Monday, August 30, 2021

If you have questions, please reach out directly to the HDSI team.

Format of Proposal

The document should follow NIH standard formatting: 11-point Arial font, 0.5 inch margins, and single-spaced.

Proposal PDFs and filenames

Please submit two PDFs:

  1. Submit one PDF document that includes items 1-7 outlined below. Name the file of your application: LastName_FirstName_CEGrant21.
  2. Submit one PDF document that includes the Detailed Budget. This is the only file that should include specific salary information, and we ask for it as a separate file so that it may remain limited in distribution. Name the file of your Detailed Budget: LastName_FirstName_CEGrant_Budget21.

PDFs can be submitted to

Proposal Format and Structure

  1. Specific Aims – LIMITED TO 1 PAGE
    • Provide a clear overview of the measurable problem your project intends to address, the measurable goals of your proposed innovation, and your plan for implementing and evaluating the impact of your innovation.
    • Clearly list the specific aims of the project proposed (e.g., to create a novel design, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing clinical practice, address a critical barrier to healthcare or operations).
  2. Project Narrative – LIMITED TO 3 PAGES, not including references (sections a-e)
    • Organize the Project Narrative in using the following headings – Significance, Innovation, Approach, Limitations, and Dissemination.
    • Cite relevant literature in the project narrative and provide the full reference in the References Cited section.
    • Significance
      • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to healthcare or operations that the proposed project addresses.
      • Clearly articulate how this project aligns with the UCM 2021 Annual Operating Plan Goals or the Clinical Effectiveness Priority Metrics.
      • Explain how the proposed project will impact that problem and the effects this will have on UCM patients and/or processes.
    • Innovation
      • Explain how the project is original and innovative in addressing a hypothesis or key barrier to progress. Describe how the project will employ any novel theoretical concepts, methodologies, tools, processes, or approaches to addressing the problem.
    • Approach
      • Describe the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted.
      • Discuss potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims.
      • Any preliminary data may be presented in this section but is not required.
      • Describe the project team and each member’s role in executing the proposed process. Include why that member is qualified for their role, providing their research experience and relevant accomplishments.
    • Limitations
      • Describe limitations you anticipate in achieving your desired aims through the implementation of your innovation. Explain how your approach addresses these limitations and evaluation strategies to minimize the impact of these limitations.
    • Results Dissemination
      • Describe your plan for disseminating results from this project, including any ideas for publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, presenting at specific national meetings, etc.
  3. Budget Narrative- LIMITED TO 1 PAGE
    • Provide an overview of the total direct costs associated with planning, implementing, and evaluating of your healthcare innovation.
    • Describe your budget by category (i.e. supplies, personnel, services, data fulfillment, analysis, etc.) and the assumptions used to allocate these funds.
    • Provide information about the role and FTE proposed for each individual supported through the budget. Do not include any salary information in the budget narrative. Include how each individual’s role in the project relates to their position here at UCM.
  4. Timeline and Plan for IRB Approval- LIMITED TO 1 PAGE
    • Provide a summary timeline for the project that includes key milestones around planning, implementing, and evaluating your innovation. This timeline should include a deadline for completing the analysis and preparing a manuscript.
    • Include in this timeline the required submission of an interim project report no later than six-months into the project period as well as a final report due no later than 30 days after the end of the project period.
    • Include your plan for acquiring IRB approval OR formal determination as quality improvement.
  5. CV, Resume, or Biosketches (preferred)- LIMITED TO 5-PAGES PER PERSON
    • Include a Biosketch for key personnel (Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator) to be supported through this project. 
  6. List of all Team Members- LIMITED to 2 PAGES
    • Provide a list of all team members participating in proposal.
    • Include their Name, Title, Role, and Discipline (e.g. John Doe MPH, Senior Quality Analyst, Project Analyst, Data & Analytics).
  7. References Cited- LIMITED to 2 PAGES
    • Provide references for any articles cited in the grant application or consulted when developing this project. 
  8. Letters of Support- LIMITED TO 3 LETTERS max 1 PAGE EACH
    • Include letters of support from any department heads, senior managers, or operational leads that will be impacted or involved in your project.
    • Include a letter of support from your supervisor or manager.
    • Residents and Fellows should submit a letter of support from the faculty member overseeing their project as well as from their training program director. 
  9. Detailed Budget (Confidential)- LIMITED TO 1 PAGE
    • Provide a short, detailed budget identifying proposed funding allocation to salary support, supplies, data fulfillment, data analysis, and other expenses.

Summary of Page Limits

Specific Aims 1 page
Project Narrative (sections a-e) 3 pages
Budget Narrative 1 pages
Timeline and Plan for IRB Approval 1 page
Biosketches 5 pages per person
List of Team Members 2 pages
References Cited 2 pages
Letters of Reference 3 letters

(1 pages per letter)

Detailed Budget (Confidential) 1 page


Past Innovations Grant Winners

Sam Mulroe

Health & Housing: A Solution for Patients Experiencing Homelessness

Sam Mulroe, MS, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project aims to increase the number of homeless patients that are discharged directly to transitional housing, create better linkages to care, and improve important throughput, readmission, and financial outcomes.


Frailty Screening in Preoperative Surgery Clinics to Identify At-Risk Patients and Implement Interventions

Maria Lucia Madariaga, MD, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project aims to determine the feasibility and ease of implementing expanding frailty screening to all general surgery patients undergoing major cancer resections.


Using Technology to Address Disparities and Promote Healthcare Equity in Type 1 Diabetes

Celeste Thomas, MD, MS, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project aims to address disparities in Type 1 Diabetes by creating a registry of high-risk adult patients with T1DM. It plans to incorporate real-time CGMS into the care of adult patients with T1DM and two or more hospitalizations for DKA in the last five years. Additionally, it will collect information from participants regarding changes, if any, in diabetes self-management practices.


Using Digital Navigation to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates, Improve Bowel Preparation Quality during Colonoscopy and Decrease Colonoscopy No-Show Rates

Neil Sengupta, MD, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project aims to improve colorectal cancer screening rates by developing a shared decision-making tool (SDMT) that provides individuals their choice of screening test (patient choice increases the likelihood of successful screening completion, especially among minority populations) and through implementation of a preliminary digital navigator program.


Reducing Compassion Fatigue in UCMC Health Care Workers

Royce Lee, MD, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project proposes to design and deploy a compassion fatigue reduction program by adapting the Accelerated Recovery Program to best fit the needs of the UCMC using the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model of quality improvement.

megan corsi

Examining the Post-Crash Wreckage: Finding the What, Why, and How Behind Medication Error

Megan Corsi, PharmD, MBA, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This project proposes the development and deployment of a risk information tool/repository, similar to the “black box” methodology deployed in aviation that evaluates orders for risks associated with ordering and verification user activity to get a view of what safety checks were or were not in place at the clinician level to aid in system level safety-proofing efforts. This data monitoring/flagging tool would look at how users interact with the EHR when processing and entering medication orders to identify risky behavior/poor review of records versus quality behavior when placing and verifying these orders to allow for identification of errors as well as to allow for trends to be identified in systems.


ACT VALUE Program for Asthma and COPD: Ambulatory Care Transformation using Value-based Assessment and Learning or Under-recognized Etiologies: Asthma & COPD

Valerie Press, MD, MPH, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
This is a two-phase project meant to identify patients with COPD who are at high risk for hospitalization and provide them with guideline recommended care in the ambulatory setting. The first phase is to develop an ED-based program that partners our Chronic Disease APNs who lead our COPD readmissions reduction program with ED providers to identify patients in the ED who require ambulatory follow-up visit in the 1-2 days post ED discharge. The second phase of the project is to identify existing primary care patients who are at high risk for admission and to provide them with ambulatory COPD consults and disease education. Our ultimate aim is to ensure patients receive high value ambulatory COPD-based care and ultimately help them avoid exacerbation that would have otherwise decreased their quality of life and possibly resulted in a hospital admission.

Implementation of Point-of-Care Pharmacogenomic Decision Support in Postoperative Pain Management

David Dickerson, MD & Peter O’Donnell, MD, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
Effective pain control without undue toxicity stands as one of the single most important addressable healthcare challenges. Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetic factors governing drug response and toxicity. Our goal for this application is to overcome barriers to effective and safe analgesic management by instituting and studying an operational implementation to deliver genomic information at the point-of-care to permit genomic-informed pain medication prescribing.

Managing Diabetes to Gain Opportunities for a more Active Life (My Diabetes GOAL)

Elbert Huang, MD, MPH, FACP, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project that aims to develop and test an electronic health system based program that will engage older patients in personalized goal setting and improve diabetes care management.

Optimizing Our Ileostomy Outcomes through Pathways and Protocols

Radhika Smith, MD & Janice Colwell, RN, MS, CWOCN, FAAN, APN, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project that aims to develop a perioperative pathway for patients undergoing ileostomy creation to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Improving End-of-Life Care for Oncology Patients at UCM

Robert Daly, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project that aims to develop a precision algorithm to identify patients at high risk for avoidable aggressive end-of-life care so that advance care planning and palliative care interventions can be activated in a timely manner.

Implementing Computerized Adaptive Testing and Embedded Care for Depression Screening and Management in Primary Care

Neda Laiteerapong, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project that uses a self-administered predictive algorithm to screen for depression and embed mental health providers into primary care.

Effect of a goal-directed acute decompensated heart failure clinical pathway on hospital readmission and cost of care

Corey Tabit, MD, Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project focused on standardizing care transitions and improving patient and caregiver education to reduce readmissions, with rigorous evaluation methods.

“Prudence” Surgical Cost Reduction Initiative

Alexander Langerman, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery and a specialist in head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgery, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project using Lean-based methods to examine ways to reduce operating room costs related to wasted and unnecessary surgical supplies.

Improving the Health of our Patients: The COPD Readmissions Intervention

Tina Shah, MD, MPH, a pulmonary and critical care fellow, supported by a multidisciplinary team.
A project centered on treatment models for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.