Health Services Research & Development

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Nominating a topic for the VA Evidence Synthesis Program

    ESP Reports in Progress

Would an independent and rigorous review of the scientific literature help your office plan or implement a program, develop a guideline or directive, make a health policy decision, or inform future research needs? The Evidence Synthesis Program (ESP) is soliciting nominations from VHA leadership for review topics for FY 2020. The ESP offers a range of products from rapid review evidence briefs to full systematic reviews, tailored to the needs of decision-makers. Because of high demand, review topics are prioritized based on the following criteria:

  • Topic nominated by system-level leadership: the proposed evidence review will be incorporated into health system decision-making and is likely to make a significant impact (eg, clinical guidelines, VHA Directive, formulary guidance, resource allocation, or research agenda development).
  • Significant issue for VHA: the topic represents important uncertainty for decision makers (eg, benefits/harms, variation in care, new emerging technology, or controversy) and will help resolve health care dilemmas.
  • Not duplicative: the topic is not already covered by an available or soon-to-be available high-quality systematic review by AHRQ or others.
  • Feasible: published literature (eg, RCTs, observational studies, systematic reviews) is available to address proposed research questions(s).
  • Engaged operational partner: nominator of the proposed review has been responsive and engaged during the topic development phase and has provided timely input regarding the proposed scope.

Nominations addressing high-priority national goals are given preference and will be evaluated on the operational partners' 1) plans for a rapid uptake of the evidence synthesis (into the development of clinical guidelines, VHA Directives, performance measures, educational programs, coverage policies, or other strategies for improving the quality of health care services), 2) approach for dissemination of findings, and 3) willingness to assess the impact of the proposed ESP review.

Nominations are accepted by downloading the PDF version of the form. Once completed please email the form to

Once received, the ESP Coordinating Center (ESP CC) will contact you to inform you of the status of your request. If your nomination is prioritized for development, we will work with you to determine the feasibility of a review on your proposed topic, refine the scope of the proposed review, craft a set of preliminary key questions, and develop a proposal to be approved for funding by HSR&D leadership. If approved, your nomination may be assigned to one of our ESP Centers for the next assignment cycle.

Nomination Deadline

Notification of Selection

Project Start Date

FY 2020

May 1, 2019

October 15, 2019

November 1, 2019

October 1, 2019

February 15, 2020

March 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

May 15, 2020

June 1, 2020

Reports generally take nine months to complete. If your need is more urgent, please state that in the nomination form. We have limited capacity for rapid review evidence briefs and may accommodate this once we learn more about your needs.

As an operational partner of an assigned review, you will be involved in the ESP review process in a variety of ways. Please refer to this document for further information.