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Grant Opportunities

State Medical Board Complaints-Data Grants

» Introduction
Each year, U.S. state medical and osteopathic boards receive and investigate thousands of complaints against physicians and other licensed health professionals by patients and families in their care. The nature of the allegations in these complaints varies widely – from fairly minor issues related to record-keeping and office administration to serious, sometimes criminal behavior, such as financial fraud and physician sexual misconduct.

The processes used by the nation’s 70 state and territorial medical and osteopathic boards to address these complaints also vary, but central to each board’s adjudication of its complaints is the compilation and use of data – core information about the allegations and facts of each case, as well as aggregate details.

In recent years, the medical regulatory community’s capacity for data collection about complaints has grown, as more advanced technology resources and platforms have become available. New efforts have emerged among state boards to better utilize and share complaint data – sometimes across jurisdictions – in an effort to strengthen patient protections.

The improved understanding and utilization of information about complaints has enormous potential, including helping state boards target key professional and patient safety issues, identify emerging trends and patterns of behavior among licensees, and develop preventive strategies aimed at reducing complaints and protecting the public. Improved analysis of complaint data could also help boards as they strive to better understand, and respond to, issues such as opioid use disorder; physician burnout and wellness; and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in health care.

Recognizing these factors, and their importance for state medical and osteopathic boards, the FSMB Foundation will launch a new series of grants in 2022 aimed at advancing medical regulatory complaint-data research. The goal of these grants is to help individual state boards improve their understanding and use of information about complaints to advance patient protection; to advance dialogue within the medical regulatory community about the use of complaint-data; and to encourage best practices among state boards in the way complaint data is collected and used.

» About FSMB Foundation State Medical Board Complaints-Data Grants
FSMB Foundation State Medical Board Complaints-Data Grants are designed to offer state medical and osteopathic boards and other organizations funding support for the study of the use of complaint-data in medical regulation. The long-term goal of the program is to help individual state boards improve their understanding and use information about complaints to advance patient protection; to advance dialogue within the medical regulatory community about the use of complaint-data; and to encourage consistency and best practices among state boards in the way complaint data is collected and used.

This grant program is designed to be as flexible as possible. Areas of focus may include, but are not limited to:

  • New developments and best practices in the use of technology resources and platforms for the collection and utilization of complaint-data.
  • Identification of trends and patterns in the volume and categories of complaints that are received by state boards.
  • The relationship between complaints that are filed and later disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards, and how complaints move from the investigation stage ultimately to the disciplinary-action stage.
  • The relationship between complaint data and professional issues, such as opioid use disorder, physician wellness and burnout, and physician sexual misconduct.
  • New developments and best practices in the sharing and analysis of complaint data across jurisdictions.
  • New developments and best practices in complaint-data categorization.
  • The development of preventive policies based on complaint-data analysis.
  • Review and analysis of complaint-data before and since the COVID-19 pandemic to see how data may have changed.
  • Potential use of complaint-data in strengthening patient protections for the practice of telemedicine.  

Applicants may partner on proposals with other state medical boards, or with other organizations, including academic institutions. Applicants will be encouraged to share their findings through webinars, publication, and newsletters, including potential publication in the Journal of Medical Regulation and presentation of the final project during the 2024 Annual Meeting Poster Session.

» Grant Funding Levels
Applicants may apply for up to $25,000 in funding support. However, the FSMB Foundation expects most awards will be less than the maximum amount. A total of $100,000 is available for this program. The determination of how many grants should be funded and what level of funding will be provided for each grant will be made by the Grant Review Committee, and ultimately the FSMB Foundation Board of Directors.

Funding is distributed in two stages, with partial funding provided at an approved project’s launch and final funding provided following an interim report by the grantee.

» Application Process and Deadlines
The FSMB Foundation will continue to accept Letters of Intent (LOIs) through November 1, 2022. To apply, applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), by the stated deadline. Those whose LOIs are approved will be notified on or around November 18, 2022, and be asked to complete a full application.

The full application process includes these steps:

  • November 1, 2022: LOI due
  • November 18, 2022: LOI applicants notified of approval to submit a full application
  • January 9, 2023: Full application due
  • January 27, 2023: Grant recipients announced by FSMB Foundation

» Letters of Intent
Letters of Intent (LOI) are required for grant applicants. While there is not a standard template for LOI submission, LOIs should include:

  1. Descriptive title of proposed project.
  2. Name, organization, address, email, and telephone number of key-contact.
  3. A 100- to 200-word description of the organization undertaking the project.
  4. Names of any partner organizations or licensing boards, if applicable.
  5. A project description, not to exceed 500 words. Project description should include a statement indicating the significance and potential impact of the project.
  6. An estimated budget for the project, following these guidelines:
    • Budget must clearly support the goals and timeline of the proposed project.
    • Budget should include line items for specific expenses.
    • Multiple activities should not be grouped in single line items.
    • Any sources of outside funding and in-kind services should be included.

Applications can be made for funding of less than $25,000

Those whose submissions are selected will be notified by November 18, 2022 and asked to complete a full application. Full applications are due January 9, 2023.

LOIs must be submitted via email to

» Full Application Requirements
Applicants invited to submit a Full Application for FSMB Foundation Grants must provide:

  1. Descriptive title of proposed project.
  2. Name, organization, address, email, and telephone number of the applicant(s).
  3. Names of other key personnel (if applicable).
  4. A description of the organization undertaking the project.
  5. Detailed project proposal, not to exceed 1,000 words. The proposal should include:
    • A statement indicating why the applicant is qualified to conduct the proposed project and how the proposed project will impact the work of medical regulators in the United States.
    • A description of the proposal’s relevance to state medical board complaint data.
    • A description of the significance, potential impact, or use of the proposal’s findings.
  1. Anticipated length of the project.
  2. A description of the implementation strategy for the project.
  3. A description of plans to partner with other organizations (if any).
  4. A statement of any conflicts-of-interest related to the proposed research.
  5. Measures of project success, including interim reporting measures.
  6. A detailed proposed budget for the project, including costs for personnel, supplies, travel, consultants and vendors, equipment and other expenses. The budget should also include additional sources of income for the project if applicable. (Please see Appendix 1: Budget.)
  7. Total grant request in dollars.

» Application Forms
Application forms will be emailed to those parties invited to complete a full application.

» Grant Reports
Grant recipients will be required to report to the FSMB Foundation how they have used the Foundation's grant funds, including a brief interim report during the project’s implementation and a final report at its conclusion.

» Restrictions
The following restrictions apply to the FSMB Foundation’s complaints-related grant cycle to ensure they adhere to the spirit and purpose of the program:

    • Proposals must be related in a tangible way to state medical boards’ data collection and review process of complaints, and applicants must offer a rationale and objectives that clearly impact medical regulation.
    • Grant funds may not be used for the purpose of lobbying policy makers or legislators.
    • Grant funds may only be used to support personnel who are directly involved in the project’s development, implementation and execution.

» Confidentiality
In many states, complaints that have not been adjudicated or dismissed remain confidential. Projects that are supported with Foundation funding will strictly protect confidentiality of data.

» Appendix 1: Budget
(Sample Budget Itemization)

Please itemize projected expenses for your proposal:

Personnel Costs

  • Salary and wage cost by individual position related to this project, specifying full- or part-time positions (please provide a scope of the work and deliverables expected for individual staff members, and estimate total staff hours anticipated and salary/wage cost)
  • Consultant and professional fees

Operational Costs

  • Travel
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Printing and copying
  • Postage and delivery
  • Other Expenses

List individually other funding sources for this request. Include amounts and whether received, committed or projected/pending. Include any revenue from partner organizations or from other grants.

Appendix 2: Allowable and Non-Allowable Items
(Sample of allowable and non-allowable expenses used by other foundations)

Examples of Allowable Expenses: Examples of Non-allowable Expenses:
Staff/project salary support

No funds can be used for direct third-party lobbying or attempting to influence legislation   

Conference expenses

Capital equipment

Marketing and brochures

Existing program activities

Printing of conference materials


Supplies for presentation


Honoraria for presenters (not to exceed $250)

Indirect costs

Travel expenses for program initiatives  
Office expenses/supplies  
Planning meetings  
Support for allowable expenses of partners  
Other direct expenses for implementation purposes       

Contact Information
Additional questions may be directed to