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SAMHSA And CMHS Seek Candidates For Grant Application Peer Review Committee

For Immediate Release, 22 Dec 99
Contact: Chris Marshall

The following is a notice published in the Federal Register(Vol. 64, No. 231/Thursday, December 2, 1999) from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) of the Department of Health and Human Services that calls for applications from candidates to serve as peer reviewers on standing committees designed to initiate the review process of competitive grants. Applications for standing committees forming for the year 2000 must be received no later than January 15, 2000. However, letters will be reviewed after January 15 for further consideration as additional standing committees are formed. All contact information and requirements appear in the following notice.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Request for Standing Review Committee Nominations

AGENCY: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Request for Standing Review Committee Nominations.

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to invite qualified people to serve as peer reviewers for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) standing committees to review competitive grant and cooperative agreement applications.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and its three Centers, the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), depend on the quality of its extramural grant program. Applications for competing grant and cooperative agreements are subject to a review process. The first stage of this process involves peer review by a group of qualified experts, referred to as the Initial Review Group (IRG).

The IRG's review of applications is intended to provide peer review, in the sense that reviewers are selected for their expertise in the profession and disciplines relevant to the application. The central purpose of that review is to provide a competent and objective evaluation of the merit of each application and to identify those applications that are of the highest quality so that program officials will have a sound basis for making funding decisions.

The review system rests on the assumption that advice on the scientific/technical merit of an application can be obtained best by selecting and engaging appropriately qualified reviewers of the highest caliber in the committee process that enables them to discuss each others' views on individual applications relative to established review criteria.

Members of the standing committees will be expected to attend no more than three meetings per year in the Washington, DC, area, held over a span of up to 5 days. Members will serve a three-year term (except for initial appointments which will be staggered to ensure IRG continuity) for each standing committee, but occasionally may be also asked to serve on ad hoc committees.

Typically, committees are managed by a Chairperson, a non-Federal person, and a Review Administrator, a Federal staff person to ensure that SAMHSA guidelines are being followed. Members are expected to review applications according to the published Guidance for Applicants (GFAs) and write critiques of the applications based on the review criteria in the GFA. Travel, lodging, and meals will be paid by SAMHSA; reviewers also will receive an honorarium.

Cultural competency is an important part of every committee as well as an appropriate balance of membership by expertise, gender, ethnicity, geographic distribution, and representation of consumers, families, and community-based organizations. SAMHSA particularly wishes to ensure that women, ethnic/racial minorities, and persons with disabilities are adequately represented on its peer review committees.

Candidates must have substantial expertise in the mental health, and/or substance abuse prevention/treatment fields or HIV/AIDS. Standing committees may review applications for different GFAs, which can vary by year or can be standing announcements. SAMHSA program areas can cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Coalitions/ Partnerships/Linkages; Communications/Media/Public Information; Violence; Evaluation; Managed Care; Organizational Development; Program Management; Research; Services; Test Development; and Training.

Grant announcements often focus on specific populations and/or experiential groups such as:

Criminal Justice; Dual Diagnosis; Early Childhood Development; Elderly; Family Units; Hardcore Substance Abusers; Homeless Populations; Persons With Disabilities; Rural Populations; Welfare Recipients; and the Workplace.

For more information on SAMHSA, its Centers, and current GFAs see SAMHSA's web site at

To Apply:

Prospective members should send a one page cover letter and curricula vitae or resume. The cover letter should state the person's name, address, contact information, and current affiliation/ employment. The curricula vitae may be in any format or length but must include sufficient information to evaluate the person's credentials, including education and experience.

These documents should be mailed to Ms. McMenamin, Director of DEAPR, Parklawn Building, Room 17-89, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. Documents can also be sent via e-mail to or fax to (301) 443-1587 or (301) 443-3437. For further information, call Ms. McMenamin at (301) 443-4266.

Although letters should be received by January 15, 2000, to be considered for standing committees forming in fiscal year 2000, letters will be reviewed after January 15 for further consideration as additional standing committees are formed. Potential nominees will be contacted by SAMHSA staff to further discuss responsibilities and expectations. Members will be notified of their selection after committees are formed and approved by the Administrator.