Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Federal Funding Opportunities Through The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

By Barbara Becker-Cottrill, Ed.D.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer many grant funding opportunities in a variety of areas that lend themselves well to behavior analysis. The CDC is one of the major operating components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and is considered the lead federal agency for protecting the health and safety of people - at home and abroad. The CDC includes 12 Centers, Institutes and Offices. Of these, perhaps of most interest to behavior analysts would be the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health promotion, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


CDC encourages strong partnerships in fulfilling its mission. Within these partnerships, there is a growing trend for establishing interdisciplinary collaboration between epidemiology, medicine, and a variety of other disciplines including behavioral science. A few current examples of grant opportunities that call for collaborative efforts among disciplines include education programs in occupational safety and health, development and validation of measures to assess outcomes of mild traumatic brain injury, a cooperative agreement program for fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) prevention, and a cooperative agreement for assessing folic acid knowledge and behaviors.


"Healthy People 2010", the national agenda on preventative health, has several focus areas and grants available that are well suited for behavior analysts. Many of these are related to the development, implementation and evaluation of community-based interventions. One objective set forth in "Healthy People 2010" is to reduce motor vehicle-related fatalities to no more than 9.2 per 100,000 from a baseline of 15.6 per 100,000 persons in 1998. Behavioral science has already had an impact on seat belt use. Current research sponsored by the CDC calls for further interventions and collaborative efforts in this area; specifically to(1) reduce alcohol-impaired driving among high-risk groups; (2) increase safety belt use among low-use groups; and (3) increase the use of child safety seats, with an emphasis on booster seats.


The CDC has an excellent reputation with regard to its relationships with grantees and collaborative partners. From personal experience, their grants management office and technical assistance personnel provide a superior level of support at every phase of grant development and implementation. The West Virginia Autism Training Center (WVATC) at Marshall University successfully applied for a grant from the CDC in 1996 to develop a model of prevention of some secondary conditions of autism (i.e. familial stress, self-abusive behavior). To date, this model has been implemented with over 300 West Virginia families and their children with autism. In 1999, the WVATC began to conduct population-based surveillance of autism spectrum disorders based on CDC methodology. The addition of an epidemiologist to our staff has enabled us to conduct this type of research and has opened new doors to research. We now work collaboratively with nine additional states that have been awarded similar grants. Grantees come from public health, medicine, education and behavioral science backgrounds. As work goes forth with this group of grantees, it becomes very clear that it will take this type of interdisciplinary collaboration to move forward in the field of autism and many other fields.


In summary, the CDC offers many research opportunities for behavioral scientists interested in public health issues. Collaboration with other disciplines is most often essential and considered a credit to a proposal. Funding opportunities with the CDC can be found easily on their website at There is a link on the home page that will take you to funding opportunities. Under funding opportunities, specific grants are listed by focus area. Requests for proposals are detailed and most often, the request states what resources must be in place in order to be considered. Addressing each point listed in the RFP in detail, and ensuring the appropriate resources are available is essential. Grant forms are available on line and can be located at the CDC funding site. Specific questions of a budgetary or technical nature related to a proposal submission are always welcome.




Modifed by Eddie Soh