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SBIR E-learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44)

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Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Program/Year: SBIR / 2014
Solicitation Number: RFA-ES-14-003
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Open Date: June 25, 2014
Close Date: July 25, 2014 (closing in 2 days)
001: Funding Opportunity Description
Description:

Research Objectives

NIEHS encourages applicants to this SBIR FOA to review the relevant program documentation, to pursue partnerships and collaboration with awardees of the WETP program (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/), and to design new Advanced Technology Training (ATT) (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/programs/att/index.cfm) or e-learning products that can extend the existing NIEHS supported curricula and training programs into the digital world. Applications to assist NIEHS with its internal management and operations are not encouraged under this SBIR FOA. To avoid being non-responsive to this SBIR FOA, applicants must review the descriptions of current and prior NIEHS SBIR awards found at http://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/programs/att/index.cfm and avoid duplicating the curricula and subject matter content of these awards. The following three areas describe the type of products that will be supported under this SBIR FOA. Note that all products must be directly related to the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers, emergency responders, and skilled support personnel; for community and citizen preparation and resiliency; and for ATT tools to assist in research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters.  Examples include but are not limited to:

A. Products to support e-teaching in safety and health training:

E-teaching in safety and health training encompasses products that assist trainers/instructors in developing and delivering safety and health training for a number of environments ranging from classroom to remote learning situations. Potential products include, but are not limited to, products aimed at peer-trainers or worker-trainers; trainers needing assistance with language, literacy or cultural differences in the classroom; trainers needing assistance in developing small group activities and other teaching methodologies and technology applications for broadcasting safety and health classes and resources to remote learners.

B.  Products to support e-learning in safety and health training:

E-learning in safety and health training involves technology deployment to provide individualized or small group based training in learning centers, in a technology-enabled "smart classroom" or to a learner's desktop, cell phone, tablet, or PDA. This might also utilize social media applications such as ‘twitter’.  As an ATT option, e-learning is used to enable individualized learning, at the learners' convenience and own pace, prior to, as part of, after, or in place of classroom training. Potential products include but are not limited to the creation of topic oriented products that address clearly identified health and safety issues involving hazardous materials and emergency and disaster response.

C. Products to support the training of community citizens and researchers involved in disaster responses: 

Much important environmental health research can only be done during the response to, and recovery from, a major disaster (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/index.cfm?id=556).  In the aftermath of numerous disasters, there has been an acknowledged and urgent need for public health research, and a number of topical areas and research questions have been identified including those that, if addressed, would impact recovery as well as future preparedness efforts. These topics included community resilience, evacuation and policy decision making, the public health and healthcare system response, mold mitigation and health issues, characterization of the morbidity, disability, and mortality among impacted populations (including behavioral health outcomes, and outcomes for responders), community and worker education and training, communications, and the use of social media.  Products that assist in the training of researchers in order for them to participate safely and productively are encouraged.

In addition, numerous disasters have made clear that the term 'responder' often applies to citizens protecting themselves, their property and communities during and recovering from these events. Thus, there is likely a need for short, incident specific awareness training that can be delivered during the disaster recovery period including training on issues such as confined spaces, blood borne pathogens, personal protective equipment, hazard assessment, fire watch, first aid/CPR, site safety, working around heavy equipment, physical threats such as heat stress, fatigue, shift work, fall protection, and psychological stress (http://tools.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/index.cfm?id=2528).