Volume 33 (2014)

OMB Finalizes New Statistical Policy Directive

On December 2, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Statistical Policy Directive No. 1, “Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units.” The Directive provides “a unified articulation of Federal statistical agency responsibilities.” In order to implement the Directive, federal statistical agencies will report to OMB on their progress toward fulfilling four key responsibilities: (1) Produce and disseminate relevant and timely information, (2) Conduct credible and accurate statistical activities, (3) Conduct objective statistical activities, and (4) Protect the trust of information providers by ensuring the confidentiality and exclusive statistical use of their responses. A draft version…

Reminder: Comments on Proposed Elimination of ACS Questions Due December 30

On October 31, the U.S. Census Bureau within the Department of Commerce issued a request for public comment related to the 2014 Content Review of the American Community Survey (ACS). According to the Federal Register Notice, the 2014 review “is the most comprehensive effort ever undertaken by the Census Bureau to review content on the survey, seeking to understand which federal programs use the information collected by each question, the justification for each question, and assess how the Census Bureau might reduce respondent burden.” The review looked at the ACS’s 72 questions and proposed removal of seven from the annual questionnaire….

Census Releases New ACS Data, Special Feature on Young Adults

On November 4, the Census Bureau released 2009-2013 five-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). The release includes new tables on field of bachelor’s degree, health insurance status, poverty status, and year of naturalization. In addition, a new Census Explorer feature, Young Adults: Then and Now, allows users to compare young adults (18-34) across the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses and the 2009-2013 ACS five-year estimates and track changes in demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

ERS Reports on Fast Food Purchasing Behavior

The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has released a report, “The Role of Time in Fast-Food Purchasing Behavior in the United States,” which examines the factors impacting how Americans consume fast food. The study, conducted using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, assessed the impact of time-use behaviors, prices, sociodemographic characteristics, and labor-force participation on fast food purchases. It finds that those who purchase fast food on a given day spend less time engaged in “primary” eating (eating while not doing something else), sleeping, doing housework, and watching television than the population average….

AHRQ Data Shows 50,000 Lives, $12 Billion Saved

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a report, “Interim Update on 2013 Annual Hospital-Acquired Condition Rate and Estimates of Cost Savings and Deaths Averted From 2010 to 2013” which provides preliminary 2013 estimates for hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), which include adverse events like falls, pressure ulcers, infections, and adverse drug events acquired during a patient’s hospital stay. The report finds a 17 percent decline in HACs from 2010 to 2013, equaling 1.3 million fewer patient harms over the three years. The decline also resulted in 50,000 fewer patients dying in a hospital as a result of a HAC,…

NCHS Releases Report on Drug Overdose Deaths

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released a report on “Trends in Drug-poisoning Deaths Involving Opioid Analgesics and Heroin: United States, 1999–2012,” based on data from the National Vital Statistics System’s multiple-causes-of-death mortality files. The report shows that between 1999 and 2012, the drug overdose (or drug poisoning) death rate more than doubled. The rate of death in evolving heroin nearly tripled. And while the drug poisoning rate involving opioid analgesics more than tripled over this period, it did decrease by five percent between 2011 and 2012—the first decrease in more than a decade. The states with the highest…

NIH: Systems Science and Health in Behavioral and Social Sciences

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Systems Science and Health in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (PAR-15-047), seeking applications that apply system science approaches such as system dynamic modeling, agent-based modeling, social network analysis, discrete event analysis, and Markov modeling to better understand complex and dynamic behavioral and social sciences processes and problems relevant to health.

NIH: Family and Interpersonal Relationships in an Aging Context

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications designed to expand understanding of the role and impact of families and interpersonal relations on health and well-being in midlife and older age.

NIJ: Bridging Research and Practice Program

The National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Bridging Research and Practice Program (BRP) provides funding to former NIJ grantees to disseminate and share their findings with practitioner audiences. The goal of the program is to ensure that the research reaches as broad an audience as possible.

Steven Breckler, COSSA Chair, to Leave APA

Steven Breckler, Executive Director for Science at the American Psychological Association (APA), will leave APA at the end of the year after 10 years in the position. APA is a COSSA Governing Member and Breckler currently serves as chair of the COSSA Executive Committee. He is praised for his service to APA in the announcement of his departure released last month. Breckler’s service to COSSA as well cannot be overstated; he is a longtime member of the COSSA Board of Directors, served as chair of the Executive Committee for the last two years, and chaired the 2013 search committee for…

Events Calendar

Webinar: Producing Government Data with Statistical Confidentiality Controls, American Statistical Association Privacy and Confidentiality Committee, December 17, 2014 COSSA Annual Meeting & Advocacy Day, Washington, DC, March 9-10, 2015 A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA web page. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

Leiden Statement: “Social Sciences and Humanities Indispensable to Understanding and Addressing Global Challenges”

“The social sciences and humanities are indispensable to understanding and addressing contemporary global challenges, and to grasping emerging opportunities. Every challenge the world faces has a human dimension, and no solution can be achieved without enlisting the support and efforts of individuals, communities and societies,” according to the Leiden Statement: The Role of the Social Sciences and Humanities in the Global Research Landscape, released in November. The Statement’s signatories are the League of European Research Universities (LERU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the China 9 grouping of leading Chinese universities (C9), the Australian Group of Eight research-intensive universities (Go8),…

COSSA Washington Update, Volume 33 Issue 21

Featured News More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections COSSA in Action COSSA & Partners Urge Congress to Complete FY 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill Scientific Community to Congress: Close the Innovation Deficit Congressional News Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session Federal Agency & Administration News Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seek Comments on Draft Strategic Plans NSF Releases Report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science White House Releases Issues Report on Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Unique Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color Publications & Community Events Policy Roundtable Seminar Focuses on Stimulating Innovation in Government IOM…

More Questions than Answers Following Midterm Elections

Following last week’s midterm Congressional elections, Republicans have gained control of both chambers of Congress when the 114th Congress is seated in January. Congress returned last week for the start of a month and a half-long lame duck session. On their plate includes must-pass legislation such as the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills and defense authorization bill. However, with the party calculus significantly changed starting next year, action on spending bills and other legislative issues in the lame duck will be all but easy. See the articles that follow for more information.

COSSA & Partners Urge Congress to Complete FY 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill

On November 12, COSSA joined the biomedical and behavioral science community in signing the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter to Congress. The letter, which was signed by 303 organizations, urges Congress to “complete an omnibus spending package [that] includes a Labor-HHS-Education bill that restores funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to at least pre-sequestration levels.” The letter also notes, “An omnibus spending bill with a Labor-HHS appropriation restoring NIH to at least pre-sequester funding levels would mark an important step toward a more sustainable, predictable research environment for patients and their families, as well as for…

Scientific Community to Congress: Close the Innovation Deficit

On November 12, COSSA joined 133 partners throughout the scientific, higher education, business and patient communities on a letter to Congress urging passage of an omnibus fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills addresses the “innovation deficit” by including increased investments for scientific research and higher education. As the letter states, “the innovation deficit is the widening gap between the actual level of federal government funding for research and higher education and what the investment needs to be if the United States is to remain the world’s innovation leader… [T]oday, our leadership faces a serious challenge from other nations that are…

Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session

Congress returned to Washington on November 12 for the start of the post-election lame duck session. Among the must-pass actions in this lame duck session are the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. The current continuing resolution (CR) that has kept the federal government in operation since the start of the fiscal year on October 1 expires on December 11. Leadership and staff of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been working behind the scenes on an omnibus bill that would package all twelve of the unpassed appropriations measures into a single package. The goal is to bring the…

NSF Releases Report on Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science

The National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) has released its biennial report, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, which provides statistical details on women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. The data in the 2013 Digest, which is released every two years as mandated by the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (Public Law 96-516), are publicly accessible online and organized by the following themes: enrollment, field of degree, employment status, occupation, academic employment, and persons with disabilities. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

White House Issues Report on Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color

On November 13, the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG) released a report, Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity. The Council is chaired by Valerie Jarrett. The report highlights the tremendous achievements women of color have made; it also examines the inequities and “distinct” challenges facing women of color and looks at efforts underway to close the gaps in educational outcomes, pay, career opportunity, and health disparities, among other areas.

Academies Board Seeks Nominations for “How People Learn II” Study Committee

The National Academies’ Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the study committee for a new project, “How People Learn II: The Science and Practice of Learning.” The study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, will build on the 2000 National Research Council report How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School “by reviewing and synthesizing research that has emerged across the various disciplines that focus on the study of learning from birth through adulthood in both…


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