Issue 16 (August 9)


HOT TOPIC: Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Federally-Funded Researchers

COSSA has released a new publication in its HOT TOPICS series, Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Federally-Funded Researchers. HOT TOPICS are periodic, featured articles prepared by COSSA staff members offering insights into timely issues important to the social and behavioral science community. This edition was written by Camille Hosman, who joined the COSSA team earlier this year.

The report provides an overview of some of the major efforts made in recent years to better understand issues of regulatory burden and to begin to develop roadmaps for addressing it. While there is no shortage of ideas, given the complexity of the topic and the many players– federal agencies, Congress, research institutions, and researchers themselves– the path to relief is less clear. Read on for the full report.

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Joshua A. Gordon Named Director of National Institute of Mental Health

GordonOn July 28, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins announced the appointment of Joshua A. Gordon as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Gordon is currently an associate professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Additionally, he is an associate director of the Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute Adult Psychiatry Residency Program. His lab studies genetic models of psychiatric diseases from “an integrative neuroscience perspective and across multiple levels of analysis, focused on understanding how a given disease mutation leads to a particular behavior.” Gordon is expected to begin his tenure as NIMH director in September.

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NIDCR Seeks Input on Proposed FY 2018 Research Initiatives

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking the input of the extramural scientific community, interested organizations, and the public to assist it in identifying “topical themes for development into research initiatives.” According to NIDCR Director Martha Somerman, as part of its budget planning process, the Institute begins its “initiative development process each year by identifying broad research topic areas, or themes.” FY 2018 themes include:
  • Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancers
  • Implementation Science and Oral Health
  • Oral HIV Vaccine-induced Immunity
  • Craniofacial Bones and the Nervous System
  • The Oral Microbiome and HIV
The social and behavioral science community is strongly encouraged to provide input and suggestions to the Institute as the above research areas may hold potential opportunity for further incorporation of behavioral and social science research into NIDCR’s portfolio. The proposed FY 2018 initiatives will be integrated into the Institute’s research portfolio as they are considered for funding, Somerman noted. She cautioned, however, that the identified “initiatives are not a complete picture of the Institute’s planned research portfolio for the year indicated, nor do they signal that themes highlighted the previous year have been abandoned.” Some of the FY 2017 initiatives have become formal funding opportunities and other proposed initiatives “are still under development.” Comments and/or suggestions are due September 9, 2016.

National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease Updated; NIH Releases FY 2018 AD Bypass Budget

On August 1, the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services under the auspices of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) discussed a draft of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease: 2016 Update. At that same meeting, National Institute on Aging (NIA) Director Richard Hodes presented the NIA’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease (and related dementias) Bypass Budget, “Stopping Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias: Advancing Our Nation’s Research Agenda.” (more…)

Academies Release Workshop Proceedings on “Framing the Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity to Advance Health Equity”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement recently released the proceedings of a workshop titled, Framing the Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity to Advance Health Equity. The workshop was designed to share “strategies for individuals, organizations, and communities to advance racial and health equity.” It addressed such topics as “increasing awareness about the role of historical contexts and dominant narratives in interpreting data and information about different racial and ethnic groups, framing messages for different social and political outcomes, and readying people to institutionalize practices, policies, and partnerships that advance racial and health equity.” The proceedings are available here.

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New Academies Report on Parenting Offers Recommendations for Future Research

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a report, Parenting Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0-8, which compiles evidence on how demographic changes and advances in technology are changing parenting practices. The report reviews current research on effective parenting and offers ten recommendations for federal agencies and organizations at state and local levels to improve their efforts to educate parents on the means of effective parenting. While the report acknowledges that there is no single approach to best reach and educate parents on how to raise children, it offers guidelines and methods for agencies to follow to ensure interventions effectively target a variety of demographics and promote healthy child development.
The report’s findings include recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Education, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), as well as state and local agencies. The recommendations identify ways to promote effective parenting by funding research on parenting, improving education efforts, and improving programs to better reach key demographics of parents.
Among the most notable findings for social and behavioral scientists is a recommendation that HHS, IES, and PCORI fund research to educate policy makers and program administrators on how to scale effective parenting programs. The report also recommends that these agencies evaluate existing methods of intervention and support basic and applied research to identify ways to reach parents not well-served by existing programs. The targeted populations include fathers who were not involved in mother-only interventions; parents in diverse groups where intervention practices have not previously been tested; and parents who need special services because of personal issues, such as mental illness. Evidence-based research would be able to fill the gap in providing effective interventions to these families and give insight into what policies and programs are needed in order to address the needs of parents in populations that have been marginalized and underrepresented.
This article was contributed by COSSA’s intern, Matthew Dobbs of the University of California, Davis.

Funding Opportunity Announcements

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SBM/NCI to Host Webinar Highlighting Six New NCI Funding Opportunities

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), a COSSA member, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will host a webinar on Friday, August 12 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. designed to share information about new priorities in behavioral research from NCI in areas such as cognition, integrated data analysis, and cancer communication in new media. Associate Director of the NCI Behavioral Research Program William Kleinwill provide an overview the funding opportunities. To view the webinar register here. The associated NCI Funding Opportunity Announcements are:
  • Leveraging Cognitive Neuroscience Research to Improve Assessment of Cancer Treatment Related Cognitive Impairment RO1 (PAR-16-212), R21 (PAR-16-213)
  • Predicting Behavioral Responses to Population-Level Cancer Control Strategies R21 (PAR-16-257)
  • Improving Smoking Cessation in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations via Scalable Interventions (PAR-16-201), R01 (PAR-16-202)
  • Innovative Approaches to Studying Cancer Communication in the New Media Environment R21 (PAR-16-248), R01 (PAR-16-249)
  • Cancer-related Behavioral Research through Integrating Existing Data R21 (PAR-16-255), R01 (PAR-16-256)
  • Stimulating Innovations in Behavioral Intervention Research for Cancer Prevention and Control R21 (PAR-16-278)

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Events Calendar

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings and other events can be found on the COSSA website. COSSA members who have an upcoming event they would like to see listed in the Events Calendar and on our website should send an email to

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