• Family Medicine Discovers Rapid Cycle Scientific Discovery and Innovation (FMD RapSDI)

    Building research capacity for family medicine scientific discovery by funding practicing family physicians to generate new evidence and innovative models for “what works” in real-world primary care settings.

    Family Medicine Discovers Rapid Cycle Scientific Discovery and Innovation (FMD RapSDI) is a signature program funded by the AAFP Foundation in collaboration with the AAFP National Research Network (AAFP NRN). 

    How the RapSDI Program Works

    FMD RapSDI supports short-term innovative and high-impact projects led by practicing family physicians. No previous research experience is required. Physicians selected as FMD RapSDI Scholars will serve as Principal Investigators for their projects, and will receive support and mentorship from AAFP NRN staff to develop and refine a research protocol, perform project activities, and conduct data analysis. Scholars have the opportunity to participate in one or more research conferences/meetings and author a manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.

    Two practicing family physicians will be selected as 2022 FMD RapSDI scholars. Each scholar will receive a $40,000 grant for project associated costs and/or to offset time/salary required to conduct research. The AAFP Foundation does not provide grant funds for indirect or overhead costs, including facility and administration costs.

    RapSDI Application

    The 2022 FMD RapSDI Application runs July 1 through August 23, 2021 (application portal closes at 5:00 p.m. CT). Application submissions are divided into two competitive rounds. All complete Round 1 submissions will be reviewed, and notifications with decisions will be sent in November/December 2021. Successful Round 1 applicants will be invited to apply for Round 2.  

    If invited to submit for Round 2, selected applicants will work with a mentor to develop a research plan and budget. If an applicant has not identified a mentor at the time of application, they will be matched with an AAFP NRN staff member and/or outside research mentor. Round 2 applications are due March 15, 2022.

    "Our goal is to help practicing family physicians thoughtfully try to solve issues they see in their office. FMD RapSDI allows doctors who don’t typically do research to explore and scale great ideas, quickly.” - Dr. Rebecca Jaffe, president of the AAFP Foundation Board of Trustees

    RapSDI Eligibility

    To be eligible to apply, the applicants must be:

    • AAFP member
    • Practicing family physician
    • Any stage of career, post-residency
    • Willing to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) of proposed project over 12-month timeline
    • Preference will be given to qualified applicants with no/little previous research experience.

    Proposed projects must meet the following requirements:

    • Topic or clinic-inspired question should be relevant to family medicine, and generalizable or scalable.
    • Project scope feasible to achieve in less than 12 months and within available budget ($40,000).

    Key Dates

    • July 1, 2021 | Round 1 application period opens
    • July 8/July 27/Aug. 12, 2021 | Online information sessions
    • Aug. 23, 2021 | Round 1 application period closes at 5:00 p.m. CT
    • Nov./Dec. 2021 | Round 1 decision letters sent to applicants
    • March 1, 2021 | Round 2 application due
    • May 2022 | Two scholars selected and notified
    • July 1, 2022 | Expected project start date


    The Cycle 3 application for the Family Medicine Discovers RapSDI program will be open until Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CT.


    The AAFP NRN is seeking volunteer peer reviewers and mentors for FMD RapSDI.  

    Peer Reviewers: Peer Reviewers will review applications and provide constructive comments for improvement. Timeframe for review is Sept. 1-27, 2021. Each reviewer will review no more than 10 applications. The expected time commitment for application reviews is approximately four to eight hours. Sign up to serve as a peer reviewer. 

    Mentors: Mentors will assist RapSDI scholars in developing a research proposal, protocol, and budget, as well as in identifying professional development opportunities in line with Scholar goals. Read more about mentor expectations

    Mentorship Application: The time commitment will be from December 2021-March 2022.  

    Scholar Project Mentorship: The time commitment will be dependent on project performance period. Each project will be a maximum 12 months in duration.

    If you're interested in serving as a mentor to a RapSDI finalist or scholar, contact us at nrn@aafp.org.

    RapSDI Scholar Deliverables

    1. Complete project/intervention as outlined in proposal submitted during Round 2 application.
    2. Prepare brief quarterly reports due September and December 2022, and March and June 2023.
    3. Write a final report, which may be in the form of a manuscript for a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
    4. Present a research poster or presentation on project results at an appropriate meeting or conference in 2023.
    5. Allow AAFP to feature Scholar and project in promotions for FMD RapSDI.
    6. Participate in 1-3 professional development activities as appropriate for Scholar’s career goals.


    Meet Previous Scholars

    The AAFP National Research Network is proud to introduce the 2020 FMD RapSDI Scholars, Lauren Ciszak, MD and Vijay Singh, MD, MPH, MS, FAAFP. 

    Dr. Ciszak’s project, Medically Tailored Meal Kits as a Means of Decreasing ED Visits and Hospitalizations in Primary Care Patient with Chronic Disease, is in the analysis phase. Dr. Singh’s project, Adapting Evidence-Based Male Intimate Partner Violence Perpetuation Interventions for use by Family Medicine Clinics and Patients, is currently in the intervention phase. Learn more about the first scholars selected for the program.

    The 2021 FMD RapSDI Scholars have started their projects. The AAFP NRN is proud to introduce and congratulate Dr. Iman Majd MD, MS, L.Ac  for Feasibility of implementing and evaluating group Auricular Acupuncture (AA) for for chronic pain management in a primary care setting and Dr. Sanjay Batish, MD, FAAFP, for Can the SaFETy score predict an adolescent-young adult’s gun violence exposure over a six-month period when conducted in a non-urban primary care setting? Learn more about the newest scholars selected for the program.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • Can I propose more than one topic or idea? An applicant can submit multiple topics, but each idea/topic must be submitted in a separate application. The personal statement in each application should match the idea/topic.
    • Do I need to be an AAFP member to apply? Applicants must be an AAFP member. A membership number is required to submit application. Learn how you can join the AAFP.
    • If I am graduating from residency in June 2022, am I eligible to apply for this round of FMD RapSDI? No, you must be a practicing family physician in order to apply to the first round. You are eligible to apply in July 2022 for 2023 RapSDI Scholars.
    • Do I need to identify a research mentor in Round 1? No, you do not need to identify a research mentor in Round 1. Application reviewers will not see responses to this question during the Round 1 selection phase. This question is included in the application to help the FMD RapSDI assemble a mentorship team for the four candidates that advance to Round 2. If you do not have someone to serve as a research mentor, the FMD RapSDI team will help identify researcher(s) to assist you in developing an application based on topic and/or methods.
    • What is expected of my research mentor? A research mentor will be asked to help refine and develop your research question, protocol, instruments, and budget. They will be asked to have regular meetings with you to discuss your research plan. They may also be asked to connect with FMD RapSDI staff on a monthly basis during the Round 2 application phase.

    Email nrn@aafp.org for more information.