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NIA’s Role in the NIH HEAL Initiative

Diverse people being active NIA is playing a major role in the NIH’s The Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative (HEAL), a trans-agency effort focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management. Launched in April 2018 with funding from Congress, the NIH HEAL InitiativeSM brings new hope for people, families, and communities affected by the national opioid public health crisis.

NIA-Supported HEAL Initiative Projects

NIA is managing the following HEAL research projects:

Tailored Non-Pharmacotherapy Services for Chronic Pain: Testing Scalable and Pragmatic Approaches

Through this multicenter comparative effectiveness trial, scientists are examining the effectiveness of a web-based cognitive-behavioral therapy for chronic pain program compared to a live, coach-led, virtual (telephone and/or video conference) program. Both intervention arms will be compared to usual care. The researchers are evaluating differences in participants’ pain severity and quality of life, and other goals include examining the cost and cost-effectiveness of the interventions. Learn more about this research project on the NIH HEAL website.

Subchondral Bone Cavities in Osteoarthritis Pain

This preclinical study is aimed at examining mechanisms of osteoarthritic disease progression in mice and the potential effects of a novel therapeutic that specifically targets a layer of bone in the knee joint.

Non-pharmacological Options in Postoperative Hospital-based and Rehabilitation Pain Management (NOHARM)

Designed to promote uptake of non-drug pain care approaches, this pragmatic clinical trial is focused on assessing the feasibility and effectiveness of an evidence-based, pain management intervention embedded in patients’ electronic health records. The intervention includes conversation guides and clinical decision support tools that consider a patient’s preferences for complementary health treatments for pain prior to their surgery.

Current NIA-Supported HEAL Funding Opportunities

FOA Number


Release Date

Expiration Date

RFA-NS-22-050 HEAL Initiative: Discovery of Biomarkers and Biomarker Signatures to Facilitate Clinical Trials for Pain Therapeutics (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional) 2/8/2022 2/24/2023

HEAL Initiative: Discovery and Functional Evaluation of Human Pain-associated Genes & Cells (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

2/4/2022 3/10/2023


Emergency Awards: HEAL Initiative: Translational Science Career Enhancement Awards for Early and Mid-career Investigators (K18 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)




Emergency Awards: HEAL Initiative-Early-Stage Discovery of New Pain and Opioid Use Disorder Targets Within the Understudied Druggable Proteome (R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)




Emergency Awards: HEAL Initiative - New Innovator Award (DP2 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)




HEAL Initiative: Planning Studies for Initial Analgesic Development Initial Translational Efforts [Small Molecules and Biologics] (R34 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)




HEAL Initiative: Team Research for Initial Translational Efforts in Non-addictive Analgesic Therapeutics Development (U19 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)



RFA-NS-21-029 HEAL Initiative: Planning Studies for Initial Analgesic Development [Small Molecules and Biologics] (R61 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 06/08/2021 10/11/2023
RFA-NS-22-070 HEAL Initiative: Development and Validation of Non-Rodent Mammalian Models of Pain (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) 09/09/2022 03/07/2024


HEAL Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research




HEAL Initiative Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Development and Validation of Pain-Related Models and Endpoints to Facilitate Non-Addictive Analgesic Discovery

07/14/2022 06/25/2025

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