Categorized by pain, fatigue, sleeping issues and tenderness in certain body parts, fibromyalgia has been defined as a syndrome rather than a disease because of the lack of a specific cause for the symptoms. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, as of 2011, nearly 10 million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia. Currently, the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association offers the only fibromyalgia scholarship or grant.
The fibromyalgia grant from the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association helps provide funding for those interested in studying and researching fibromyalgia. The grant money goes to scientists, doctors and others who want to conduct research in specific areas of fibromyalgia that the AFSA deems priority areas, including sleep issues, therapeutic pain control and genetic indicators of the condition. By offering incentives for studying fibromyalgia, the AFSA hopes to understand the syndrome better and find better treatment options.
In 2011, AFSA raised enough funding for eight individual grants worth up to $50,000 each. The grant does not cover overhead costs or any other indirect costs and cannot be used to pay for salaries or equipment. The AFSA’s main intent for the grant is to collect preliminary data to possibly gain more funding from other medical associations and sources. The grant cannot be used for behavioral, psychosocial, self-help or movement therapy studies. Unless stated in the proposal, the grant period will be one year. Any leftover grant money must be returned to AFSA. All research conducted must follow the research rules established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
To qualify for the AFSA grant, applicants must be fluent in English and a board-certified M.D., D.O., D.D.S. or Ph.D. A group of researchers may apply, but the group should choose one person to be the principal investigator. Preference will go to applicants who have been previously published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Applicants who do not have published research experience are encouraged to apply for the grant with someone with previous research experience.
Before formally applying for a grant, applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent offering an informal and brief outline of their grant proposal. Applicants can submit their letter of intent and application to the president of AFSA via email or postal mail. Applications can be found and downloaded from the AFSA website, and there is no deadline for applying. Applications and letters of intent will continue to be accepted as long as grant money is still available. Once an application has been approved by AFSA, the grant money will be immediately awarded to that applicant.