ARPA-H Freedom of Information Act

The goal of ARPA-H's Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Office is to keep the public informed about the research and medical advancement activities of the programs within our community. Because of ARPA-H's need to comply with the Department of Health and Human Services some information, including documents, or portions thereof, cannot be released to the public. Nonetheless, it is the goal of the ARPA-H to release, when possible, a substantial amount of information following review.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), found in § 552 of Title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), generally provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to request access to federal agency records. FOIA requires federal agencies to produce such records when requested, provided that the records (or portions thereof) are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to the FOIA's exemptions.

The Privacy Act (PA), as amended, found in § 552a of Title 5 U.S.C balances the government's need to collect, maintain, use, and disclose personal information about individuals with the rights of those individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of privacy. The PA provides citizens and legal permanent residents the right to obtain copies of records maintained on him/her if such information is not exempt from release under the provisions of the law.

If you are seeking records from other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the National Institutes of Health (NIH) community, you must write to them directly. 

The purpose of this page is to provide you with the procedures for making a FOIA or PA request to ARPA-H. The process is not complicated, and you are not required to use a form. Requests for records from any of the ARPA-H Program offices must be sent to the following email address:

There is no initial fee to file a FOIA request. Under the FOIA, however, the government is entitled to charge fees to certain types of requesters. As such, each requester will be placed in one of the following categories (see Title 45 § 5.53):

Commercial: Requesters who seek information for a use or purpose that furthers their commercial, trade, or profit interest. Commercial requesters pay all fees for search, review, and duplication unless otherwise stated or expressed by the FOIA Office. 

Educational/Non-Commercial Scientific: Institutions of education, including preschools, elementary or secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning, or institutions operating solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research. Records must be sought for educational/academic/scientific research purposes. Educational/Non-Commercial Scientific requesters pay only duplication fees. The first 100 pages are provided at no cost, unless otherwise stated or expressed by the FOIA Office.

News Media: Any person gathering news for an entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. News media pay only duplication fees. Again, the first 100 pages are provided at no cost, unless otherwise stated or expressed by the FOIA Office.

Other: Requesters who do not fall into the other categories are considered to be "other" in status. These individuals normally make requests for records for their personal use.  "Other" requesters receive two hours of search time, the first l 00 pages duplication, and all review at no cost, unless otherwise stated or expressed by the FOIA Office.

ARPA-H will consider each FOIA request a firm commitment to pay any and all fees up to $25. However, a request letter must include a specific statement regarding the amount of fees the requester is willing to pay. Requesters are encouraged to include such a statement as it may speed up the processing of the FOIA request. This does not mean fees will automatically be assessed. An individual may also request a fee waiver. Fee waivers may be granted when disclosure of the information requested is in the public interest because it would contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. The requester must demonstrate an ability to disseminate the information, and there must be no commercial interest to the requester in the disclosure of information.


ARPA-H will make every reasonable attempt to respond to requests within the 20 Day timeframe established by the FOIA. However, based on the complexity of records maintained by the Agency, this may not always be possible. Pursuant to the Open Government Act of 2007, FOIA requesters may contact an agency's FOIA Requester Service Center to check on the status of their FOIA requests to receive an estimated completion date. 

In some cases, a requester may ask for expedited processing. ARPA-H will review all such requests. A requester must demonstrate one of the following compelling needs to be granted expedited processing: 
          I.)    Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the                   life or physical safety of an individual.
          II.)   An urgency to inform the public concerning an actual or alleged Federal Governmental activity, if made by an individual                    primarily engaged in disseminating information.

The FOIA allows the government to protect information that falls under one of its exemptions. The exemptions are cited in the Act as 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(l) through (b)(9).
          (b)(l)- records that are currently and properly classified in the interest of national security.
          (b)(2) - records that relate solely to the internal rules and practices of an agency.
          (b)(3) - records that are protected by another law that specifically exempts the information from public release.
          (b)(4) - trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from an individual or business which would cause                 substantial competitive harm to the submitter if disclosed.
          (b)(5) - inter-agency or intra-agency documents which would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency           (e.g., records protected by the deliberative process, attorney-client or attorney-work product privileges).
          (b)(6) - records which if released would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
          (b)(7) - investigatory records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes.
          (b)(8) - records used by agencies responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.
          (b)(9) - records containing geological and geophysical information regarding wells.

A requester has the right to appeal a denial of a document or any portion of that document. Failure of ARPA-H to find records may also be appealed. Appeals must be submitted within 90 days to the following address:

The reading room maintains an electronic repository of records and case responses on various topics which may provide answers and information to satisfy what may be sought in a request. ARPA-H’s reading room is currently under construction but will be published on its public website soon. 

The ARPA-H Chief FOIA Officer, as defined by the Open Government Act of 2007, has agency-wide responsibility for compliance with the FOIA. You may contact the ARPA-H Chief FOIA Officer at the following e-mail address with any complaints or suggestions regarding our FOIA process:

For more information about the Freedom of Information Act and making requests, see the Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) FOIA pages.