This page lists and addresses questions that were anticipated or received related to the CDC-RFA-DP18-1809: High Obesity Program – Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)External. Please view the question and answers (Q&As) below for responses to submitted questions.
Q: When submitting our application, is the work plan supposed to be uploaded as a separate document or should it be included as part of the narrative?
A: The work plan is part of the narrative section and should be uploaded with the narrative as one document.
Q. Can the font on the work plan be smaller than 12 points?
A. It is acceptable to decrease the font in the work plan to no smaller than 10 points and narrow the margins if needed.
Q. There is a blank space on page 8 under iv. Funding Strategy. Should there be some language?
A. “Not Applicable” should have been stated under this heading.
Q. The NOFO states the work plan should be one document with a specific file name and the project narrative is another document with a specific file name. Do both of these documents get uploaded separately or together?
A. The work plan is included as part of the project narrative and as such is part of the narrative’s 20 page limit for the narrative. The work plan does not need to have a separate file name and should be submitted as part of the entire project narrative. The directions on pages 12 for naming and submitting a separate work plan file is incorrect.
Q. How were the counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% determined?
A. The list of counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% are estimates generated from the use of small-area statistical modelling. Model-based estimates of prevalence of obesity for all 3,142 US counties were generated using the multilevel logistic regression and post-stratification (MRP) approach and 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system (BRFSS) data. In the multilevel model, obesity was defined as having a body mass index [weight (kg)/height (m)2] ≥ 30; explanatory variables were age, sex, and race/ethnicity from BRFSS data, and county-level percentage of adults below 150% of the poverty line which was obtained from 2011-2015 American Community Survey data. The model also included state-level and county-level random effects. The regression coefficients from the model were then applied to the 2010 Census population data to generate the estimates by county through post-stratification.
Q. In the application instructions it identifies that “not more than one land grant university from an eligible state will receive funding to coordinate this program across the state in eligible counties”. My question is, can several land grant universities work together from more than one state to submit an application package together? We are seeking to apply for the funding with one land grant university serving as the lead entity, and the other land grant universities serving as sub-awards under that lead entity.
A. No. Applicants should follow the application directions as stated in the NOFO.
Q. I need to confirm that no counties in my state qualify for this program. Could you confirm how eligibility was determined?
A. Eligible applicants are Land Grant Universities that have counties in their state with an adult obesity prevalence over 40%. The list of counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% are estimates generated from the use of small-area statistical modelling. Model-based estimates of prevalence of obesity for all 3,142 US counties were generated using the multilevel logistic regression and post-stratification (MRP) approach and 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system (BRFSS) data. In the multilevel model, obesity was defined as having a body mass index [weight (kg)/height (m)2] ≥ 30; explanatory variables were age, sex, and race/ethnicity from BRFSS data, and county-level percentage of adults below 150% of the poverty line which was obtained from 2011-2015 American Community Survey data. The model also included state-level and county-level random effects. The regression coefficients from the model were then applied to the 2010 Census population data to generate the estimates by county through post-stratification.
Q. We understand how the counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% were determined, however can we propose another analysis that will show additional eligible counties?
A. The analysis used to identify the eligible counties listed in the NOFO is the only acceptable analysis. CDC will not accept other analysis which may show additional eligible counties.
Q. Can the university applicant be a land-grant college or non-land grant college?
A. Only Land Grant Universities are eligible applicants. See page 15 of the NOFO under the Additional Information on Eligibility section.
Q. Is the American Samoa Community College eligible for the High Obesity Program? It is a Land Grant College – and the only IHE in American Samoa.
A. Land Grant Universities located in states with eligible counties are eligible to apply for funding. The eligible counties are listed starting on page 15 of the NOFO. American Samoa did not have 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data which was needed to determine which counties had an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40%.
Q: We are considering an approach to evaluation that would include a longitudinal study design- that is, enrolling individuals and following their behavior and outcomes over time. Is this an acceptable approach to include in the evaluation?
A: The proposed concept seems acceptable. Please note that this NOFO supports program evaluation and not research.
Q. The work plan template on page 12 shows “Short Term Outcomes.” I thought recipients were to report intermediate and long-term outcomes not short-term. Is this correct?
A. You are correct. The template should include the intermediate and long-term outcomes, not the short-term outcomes. Please make this change in the work plan you submit as part of your application.
Q. Can you provide more information or detail regarding the Data Management Plan?
A. Applications involving data collection must include a Data Management Plan (DMP) as part of their evaluation and performance measurement plan. The DMP is the applicant’s assurance of the quality of the public health data through the data’s lifecycle and plans to deposit data in a repository to preserve and to make the data accessible in a timely manner. See web link for additional information: https://www.cdc.gov/grants/additionalrequirements/ar-25.html.
A DMP for this NOFO is needed if a new public health data set is being collected. Public health data is digitally recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as a basis for public health findings, conclusions, and implementation. A DMP is not needed if the applicant is proposing to use publically available or other existing data sets or is only collecting data for program improvement, and not for decision making or generalizability.
If applicant determines a DMP is not required, the applicant should include one sentence from the following language in the Project Narrative: “A DMP is not being submitted for one or more of the following reasons (select only those applicable):
- 1) Applicant is using other publically available data;
- 2) Applicant is only collecting data for program improvement, and not for decision making or generalizability;
- 3) Applicant proposes to utilize other available data sets.”
If an applicant determines that a DMP is required, it is acceptable to include very limited, basic information addressing the key components within the Project Narrative and provide additional details only if and when an award is granted. Detail beyond basic information may be provided in attachments, but is not required at the time of application.
Q. Our C&G folks are telling us we need a 5 year budget since the NOFO reads the budget can be extended for up to 5 years. For previous CDC cooperative agreements, we wrote one year budget and associated justification. Can you please clarify the timeframe you need for the budget and justification? I could not find specifics on pages 25, 26, or 32.
A: A budget narrative should be submitted for only the first 1 year of funding.
Q: The NOFO states on page 26, under section 12 Budget Narrative, to allow for 5 staff to participate in a five day training, and 2 staff to participate in the evaluation training. Is the “recommended” number or an “absolute” number? I would like to include 6 staff for the five day training and 3 staff for the evaluation training. Is this acceptable?
A: The NOFO stated number of staff participating in the trainings is the minimum requirement. You can include additional staff if the training will be beneficial to their proposed NOFO work.
Q. As we are preparing our 1809 application we have noticed a new budget line, “consultant costs”. Could you define what should be in this budget section?
A. Consultant costs are a standard item that can be considered in developing a budget. This category should be used when hiring an individual to give professional advice or services (e.g., training, expert consultant, etc.) for a fee, but not as an employee of the grantee organization. More information about consultant category can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/grants/documents/Budget-Preparation-Guidance.pdfCdc-pdf [PDF-415KB]
Q. Page 32 of the NOFO, second bullet of project management and staffing section, reads:
“provides adequate staff with the appropriate expertise…..at a minimum include a principal investigator, a full-time program manager, and at least one lead cooperative extension staff within each county.”
Our state has only 1 eligible county. In this scenario, does the expectation for a full time program manager apply?
A. Yes, this is an expectation for all funded programs.
Q: Could you please provide clarification on what is meant by construction and equipment as unallowable expenses? I have searched the NOFO and the additional guidance here: https://www.cdc.gov/grants/additionalrequirements/index.html#ar12 and am not clear on what may or may not qualify beyond the statement, “e.g. construction of sidewalks, construction of running trails”.
A: Using the federal regulations and policies found at the CDC Grants webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/grants/federalregulationspolicies/index.html as a reference, applicants should use their best judgement to determine what is considered an allowable or unallowable cost. If an application is funded and the recipient has proposed activities later considered to be potentially unallowable, the recipient and CDC will discuss whether or not the activity and its related costs are allowable and what to do in the event they are unallowable.
Q. Though the eligibility requirements are based on adult obesity, can we focus some strategies on youth in the eligible communities?
A: Yes, this is acceptable however focus on families with youth may be more effective.
Q. We are planning on offering educational workshops, technical assistance, and mini-grants to the communities in our counties to make enhancements or changes. If some of the communities or regions or workshops could benefit more in early years from a consultant, could we budget that as part of the mini-grants/county support? We would not be able to have MOUs for the grant application as we do not know what consultants are needed but could get CDC and our Agency approval (and forms/MOUs) as need is determined. We could provide a list of suggested consultants/groups that might be requested.
Is this “allowable”?
A: This is allowable.
Q: Developing and strengthening coalitions is not explicitly included as a key strategy in the logic model, but language in the NOFO indicates the importance of this element to accomplish work in both healthy food access and physical activity. The NOFO states: The community participatory model should include development and/or support of community coalitions comprised of diverse stakeholders, and prioritizing opportunities that increase demand for and access to healthier foods and makes physical activity easier and more accessible. Should activities in the work plan reflect inclusion of coalitions, or is it preferable to include this in generally in narrative text?
A: This information should be included in the work plan to provide a clear description of how the coalition’s work will support the implementation of the strategies. Additional information can be provided in the narrative if needed.
Q: Is CDC receptive to land-grant universities in the same state collaborating on one project with one as the lead and the other as a sub-awardee?
A: This is an acceptable approach.
Q: The RFA references county extension activities. Does this include the land-grant university’s existing extension activities in the community and other extension activities offered by the county or other agencies?
A: Yes, the county extension activities can be supported by either the Land Grant University or the county or another agency.
Q: Are we responsible for submitting a work plan that reflects work that addresses the 3 bullets under the nutrition strategy (page 9 of the NOFO) or can we select 1 or 2 bullets?
A: It is expected that the work plan has work that addresses all 3 bullets.
Q: The logic model provided in the RFA lists under the strategy for increasing access to healthier foods, “Make improvements to state and local programs/systems …” Please provide additional information on this activity or a link with additional information.
A: We regret that we are unable to respond to these kinds of questions. The purpose of the FAQs is to provide clarification on the funding opportunity announcement, not to provide specific technical assistance.
Q. CDC has received several questions about how to conduct a specific activity or task or what type of interventions would be appropriate for the FOA. These include questions such as: 1) Give an example of a group purchasing collective, 2) what is an improved land use or environmental design that is acceptable to this NOFO work?
A. We regret that we are unable to respond to these kinds of questions. The purpose of the FAQs is to provide clarification on the funding opportunity announcement, not to provide specific technical assistance.
Q. I noticed that there aren’t 2 different tracks this year (Community versus ECE). Is it still allowable to focus some of the community work within the ECE environments for this new round of funding? We would like to do a community and ECE hybrid.
A. Your proposed community and ECE hybrid concept is acceptable.
Q. In reference to the physical activity strategy: Is it acceptable to include work to improve “everyday destinations”? For example, if the community assessment identifies improvements to a park, ECE or playground as a priority, can this work under this NOFO?
A. This work is acceptable but must be clearly defined as to how it will accomplish the strategy.
Q. On page 11, there is guidance that applicants should propose a minimum of one cooperative extension lead in each region. Does this need to be a full-time employee? Can the position be split between more than one person?
A. Applicants must provide a staffing plan that is sufficient to achieve the project outcomes. It is expected that there is a full-time cooperative extension lead for each region given the proposed work. If sufficient justification is provided, it is acceptable to split the position between more than one person.
Q: How often is this funding opportunity offered?
A: We are unable to predict future funding opportunities as they are based on availability of funds.
Q: In our current 1416 award, we have access to technical assistance from, for example, Mark Fenton. Are we to assume that the 1809 awardees will also have access to TA from CDC contractors such as this? Or should we build into our budget for the TA?
A: CDC plans to provide similar support as was provided for NOFO DP14-1416 and DP16-1613. See details on page 13 of the NOFO.
Q. On page 11 there is a reference to include “milestones” in the work plan. Please provide a definition of “milestones”.
A. A milestone represents a significant achievement in the work plan, such as the completion of a project phase, a key event that occurs, or the completion of a major report or product. The purpose of milestones is for CDC and recipients to have mutually defined critical process steps that must occur to ensure success of the proposed work plan strategies.