Within HRSA HAB, both Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part A Supplemental and Part C EIS Funds have historically been awarded through competitive grant applications, using Objective Review Committee scores provided by the Division of Independent Review to inform the award decisions. However, this resulted in limited differentiation in funding levels, while requiring a large amount of federal and recipient resources. HRSA HAB initiated a process to change this approach in 2014 when the WRMA Team began working with HRSA HAB to conduct a feasibility study examining alternate approaches for Part A Supplemental Funding. In April 2015, HRSA HAB contracted with the WRMA Team to evaluate methods for the RWHAP to award Part C EIS grant funding. Both Part A and the Part C Phase I-funded activities resulted in customized Excel tools developed for HRSA HAB to use in testing different alternatives for funding allocations.
In Phase II, the WRMA team built upon these activities. For Part C, the WRMA team incorporated both new factors as well as modified existing factors including need, geography, and performance in the Excel tool to further examine the impact that different approaches have on funding allocation. The WRMA Team also supported the implementation of the new methodology for Part C, running parallel runs and conducting additional analyses to address specific situations where overrides or other approaches needed to be implemented. For Part A, the WRMA Team continued to work with HRSA HAB in testing the feasibility of the new methodology and enhanced the Excel tool to include additional content related to choosing parameters, reviewing results, and supporting project officers in understanding what factors impact awards.
Currently in Phase III, WRMA is building upon the prior activities to support the implementation of the methodologies for each Part. For Part A, the WRMA Team is running two scenarios and providing instruction in key areas to support HAB’s ability in the future to implement the methodology. Up to four technical assistance (TA) materials will also be developed for both internal and external use; given that the methodology has not yet been implemented, these materials will include information regarding the rationale for the change to the new approach as well as an explanation of what factors were chosen. These materials and workflows will be integrated into the Part A Instruction Manual.
Given that HAB has implemented the Part C Funding Allocation Methodology, their current activities focus on different needs. The WRMA Team will provide technical assistance (TA) and training regarding creating new factors as well as modifying output tables in the Excel tool. As in past years, the WRMA Team is also conducting parallel runs and supporting HRSA HAB staff in troubleshooting any issues. Additional scenarios are also being run, with TA/training provided regarding how to review the results. The WRMA team is also continuing to provide special analyses as needed, inclusive of making recommendations to handle special situations and updating the Part C Instructional Manual with solutions as needed. In alignment with these changes, the WRMA team will update documentation as well as present summary reports at the culmination of the project period.