Preparing Your NREPP Application: Insider Tips

This resource offers tips for program sponsors to consider when preparing an application for SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The purpose of NREPP is to provide the public with a searchable database of evidence-based programs and practices that best fit the needs of their communities.

NREPP is a voluntary, self-nominating system in which programs elect to participate. The application review process has been described as rigorous. Applicant programs go through a review process to determine whether they meet the minimum criteria for inclusion in NREPP.

To provide real-life lessons learned about the NREPP process, CAPT interviewed sponsors of four innovative, locally-developed programs that were accepted into NREPP. Two of the programs work to increase the social functioning and self-esteem of young children. One program works with older Native youth in the area of youth violence prevention. The fourth uses a culture-based classroom curriculum to teach children (K-12) to resist substance use.

Rigor of Application Process

  • Expect a long process, characterized by both quick turnarounds and periods with little communication. Former applicants describe the start-to-finish process as taking 12 to 18 months.
  • Pay close attention to formatting specifications. Reviewers sometimes ask for information to be re-submitted in a revised format.

Required Resources

  • Be sure to have access to a statistician to help prepare and revise the application. NREPP often requires re-analysis of data submitted; resources will be required to do so, and often quickly.
  • Do not rely entirely on external evaluators. Although evaluators possess technical skills, program experts know the program best and should be involved in guiding the evaluation.
  • For internal purposes, consider creating a spreadsheet that identifies all the personnel involved in preparing the NREPP application. Include roles, responsibilities, and experience. This may come in handy should your organization wish to apply for recognition for another program in the future, after current personnel have moved on.

Technical Considerations

  • When considering sample size, think beyond power analyses. Consider practical factors that may influence sample size. For example, lay professionals involved in data collection efforts may forget to administer a pre-test, inadvertently reducing sample size.

Process Considerations

  • Consider resources required to implement your program in other states and/or contexts. Do your implementation protocols address travel and related logistical coordination? To what degree can technology help expand training opportunities into new geographic areas?
  • Remember that even if your program receives recognition, marketing is still necessary. Actively market your program. Do not rely on the NREPP seal of approval to drive demand on its own.


  • Consider program costs relative to other similar programs on the NREPP registry. Users often factor in cost when selecting which program to implement, and compare the costs of implementing similar programs. So considering the cost of your program early on can influence uptake once recognition by NREPP is received.


Although NREPP staff members do not provide technical assistance to program developers applying for review, they are available to answer questions related to review requirements, and to provide general information regarding the preparation and uploading of a submission packet. NREPP staff can be contacted in any of the following ways:

Information on the open submission period and minimum review requirements is published in a Federal Register notice prior to the open submission period; it is also included on the NREPP website.

Guidance documents are also made available to applicants, including:

Last Updated: 09/24/2015