Sandi Amaral, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor, Nephrology
Project Title: "Using a Mobile Game Application to Improve Healthcare of Self-management in Adolescents with Solid Organ Transplants: A Pilot Study"

Laura Figeroa-Phillips, MD
PHEOT Fellow
Project Title: "Development of a Clinical Prediction Model for Pediatric Outpatients at Risk for Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI)"

Sabrina Gmuca, MD
Fellow, Division of Rheumatology
Project Title: "Treatment and Outcomes in Neuromyelitis Optica"

Congratulations to Drs. Amaral, Figeroa-Phillips and Gmuca! Thanks to all who submitted proposals for consideration. We encourage all interested investigators to submit their proposals to the CPCE Pilot Grant Program in the future.

Click here to see past CPCE Pilot Grant Award recipients

Pilot Grant Program

CPCE offers awards twice each year through its Pilot Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to promote and support CHOP investigators in clinical effectiveness pilot research studies that will attract external support for large-scale studies. Investigators from all CHOP departments and divisions, including fellows in their final year of fellowship transitioning to a faculty position at CHOP, are encouraged to apply. Selected proposals will be supported for up to a maximum of $10,000 for one year. Projects should be able to be completed within one year.

Important Eligibility Notes:
1) Only proposals meeting the following definitions will be reviewed and considered for award.

Clinical Effectiveness Research is research designed to produce evidence of what works best for treating, diagnosing and preventing disease.
We are also interested in Qualitative Research that can inform Clinical Effectiveness Research. Descriptive studies need to clearly state how they will inform future CER studies.

A Pilot Study is a small study, conducted in preparation for the larger research study, in which study feasibility is tested and preliminary data are collected.

2) Studies already in progress or partially funded will not be supported.

3) Re-submissions are by invitation only. We will notify you if your submission qualifies to be resubmitted for a future funding cycle.

4) The review process will consist of two rounds. Round one will determine if your proposal meets the definition of clinical effectiveness pilot study and is of sufficient quality for further review. ONLY PROPOSALS THAT QUALIFY FOR THE SECOND ROUND WILL BE CRITIQUED AND SCORED.

Application and Submission Process:

  • Please submit proposals in NIH format to include project summary/abstract, specific aims, and a research strategy section which includes significance, innovation and approach. (5 page maximum)
  • Proposals must also include a cover page, an investigator biosketch in NIH format and project budget, budget justification, and references. (not included in 5 page maximum)
  • Budgets must be reviewed by your business manager prior to submission.
  • Funding may not be used for investigator salary support. Staff salaries are allowable budget items.
  • There are two submission deadlines per year. The 2015 deadlines are Wednesday, April 1 (awards announced in mid-May) and Thursday, October 1 (awards announced in mid-November).
  • Selected applications must show documentation of IRB submission within 30 days of award notification.
  • Proposals submitted for other awards (e.g., Foerderer) are not eligible for CPCE pilot grant consideration.
  • Please submit the proposal as a single Word document via email to Deb Hillman, at no later than 4:00 p.m. on the deadline date.

For a submission template, please click here.

Review Process and Selection Criteria

As detailed above, the review process will consist of two rounds. Applications meeting the definitions (above) for pilot clinical effectiveness research studies, and judged by the Pilot Grant Steering Committee to be of sufficient quality for further review, will be assigned to a reviewer, critiqued and scored. Reviewers will meet in a study section to discuss the merits and limitations of the competing proposals and to determine the awardee(s). All applicants whose proposals qualify for round two will receive a copy of reviewers' comments and score. Those applications that do not qualify for round two will be returned to the applicant without further review, critique or score.

The following criteria will be used to score the proposals. They are adapted from NIH Study Section Criteria.

  • Significance of Study: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?
  • Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
  • Likelihood of Impact of Clinical Effectiveness: If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
  • Appropriateness of Budget: Is the proposed budget and period of support appropriate in relation to the proposed research?
  • Likelihood of Future Research: If the aims of the project are achieved, will the results lend themselves to future research?
  • Innovation: Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

The above criteria will be scored on a scale from 1 (high impact) to 9 (low impact).

Common Pitfalls of Past CPCE Pilot Grant Applications:

  1. Failure to anticipate difficulties or address limitations
  2. Uncertainty regarding future direction or funding
  3. Incomplete significance section; failure to adequately describe rationale
  4. Overambitious for pilot study; unrealistic timeline
  5. (Budget) Underestimate of biostatistical support needed to complete aims

Although projects may be funded up to a maximum of $10,000 priority will be given to those projects that include a prudent spending plan. CPCE will attempt to fund all requested budgets in full, but may elect to partially fund certain protocols in order to increase the number of funded proposals.


  • Principal investigators must submit a report at the end of the grant period for review by the Pilot Grant Program steering committee. The reports should include progress, expenditures and plans for disseminating results. Subsequent reports will be requested to include publications and extramural funding resulting from the research.
  • Funds unspent at the end of the one-year grant period will be returned to CPCE. However, requests for rollover of funds for an additional year will be considered with adequate justification. We are very excited about the opportunity to support fellows and junior faculty who are interested in advancing CPCE's goals.


Contact Megan Foley at with any questions about the CPCE Pilot Grant Program or submission process.

The Healthcare Analytics Unit is a service unit of CPCE and PolicyLab. The HAU serves as a resource for investigators who want to use administrative or other existing data to answer research questions. HAU offers the services of programmer/analysts to pull, clean, manage, model and analyze data. The unit provides access to and expertise in the use of PHIS, KID, Medicaid, Premier, NHDS, NAMCS and other databases.

Examples of databases to which the HAU provides access and expertise:

  • Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS)
  • Kids' Inpatient Database (KID)
  • Medicaid
  • NAMCS (National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey)
  • NHDS (National Hospital Discharge Survey)
  • Premier Perspective Database

To see samples of articles published using PHIS data, click here

To see samples of poster presentations using PHIS data, click here

For PHIS Data Use Forms, click here

HAU Staff

Yuan-Shung (Vera) Huang, MS, Director
Programmer/Statistical Analyst
3535 Market Street, Room 1404

Ms. Huang has over 20 years of research data management and programming experiences in the areas of medical, mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice studies. As a biostatistician she has experience working with large and complicated data sources, including national administrative and survey data (e.g., Medicaid and NSCAW), data from State and local agencies, and medical and clinical trial data (e.g. PHIS, Multum), and helps end-users assessing data usability for specific needs.

Wu Gong, MS, MPH
Programmer/Statistical Analyst
3535 Market Street, Room 1409

Lanyu Mi, MS
Programmer/Statistical Analyst
3535 Market Street, Room 1406

William Quarshie
Programmer/Statistical Analyst
3535 Market Street, Room 1406

Lihai Song, MS
Programmer/Statistical Analyst
3535 Market Street, Room 1405

Requesting Data Services from the HAU

Contact us via email at We will contact you to schedule an appointment to discuss your project's feasibility and cost.


The IRB has increasingly judged large datasets, such as those obtained from PHIS, to contain data that is not readily identifiable and therefore, outside the requirements for prospective IRB review and approval. Regulatory statements have made clear that "readily identifiable" does not mean possibly or potentially identifiable. This lowers the barriers for receipt and use of these datasets.

HIPAA does apply to the receipt/use of these datasets.
- If the dataset is a limited dataset, then all that is required to obtain and use it would be a data use agreement (no IRB approval required) with the data source (e.g. CHCA for PHIS data).

For research that utilizes datasets containing identifiable PHI, or for which data will be prospectively collected, IRB review/approval will continue to be needed.

It is the responsibility of the investigator to obtain IRB review and approval for those studies that require it, and to complete any data use agreements required by the data source. For more complete information regarding what must be reviewed by the IRB, the use of registries/repositories for research, and other related topics, please see the ORCRA website on the research intranet at:


When submitting a manuscript for publication, for a study that utilized PHIS or a comparable large and not readily identifiable dataset, and which therefore did not require IRB review/approval, the following boilerplate text can be used when needed during the journal's submission process. There are two versions, please choose the appropriate one, depending on the nature of your dataset.

1) In accordance with the Common Rule (45 CFR 46.102(f)) and the policies of the The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia IRB, this research, which utilized a de-identified dataset, was determined to not meet the definition of human subjects research.

2) In accordance with the Common Rule (45 CFR 46.102(f)) and the policies of the The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia IRB, this research, which utilized a limited dataset according to the terms of a valid data use agreement, was determined to not meet the definition of human subjects research.

HAU Tools

Sample Table To help define your population and measures, inclusion/exclusion criteria, etc

ICD 9 codes -- Use ICD 9 codes in your table to define population of interest

CTC codes (©2008 Thomson Healthcare) please use the appropriate PDF from the list below:

  1. Pharmacy
  2. Medical Supplies
  3. Laboratory Services
  4. Imaging Services
  5. Clinical Services
  6. Other Transacted Services


If you have questions about HAU services, please contact:
Yuan-Shung (Vera) Huang, MS
HAU Director