HHS Requests Comments on Revision of Research Misconduct Policies 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a request for information (RFI) on a proposed revision of the Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct within the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). This policy has not been updated since its creation in 2005 and HHS expects to update the policy to clarify confidentiality requirements and revise definitions of various terms that were not previously defined in the original policy. Comments are requested by December 5 and can be submitted here.  

National Academies Hosting Workshop Encouraging Greater Science Accessibility

On November 30 through December 1, the National Academies of of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will be hosting a public workshop aiming to provide crucial insights and recommendations to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This two-day event is set to address topics surrounding scholarly publications and key focus areas of the workshop include promoting equity in publication, enhancing accessibility, addressing publication and increasing transparency of research. The National Academies invites all interested parties to participate and contribute to this vital conversation. For more information and to register,…

ARPA-H Announces New Program ARPANET-H

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new nationwide health network, ARPANET-H. Within ARPANET-H, three research hubs have been developed, including the Customer Experience hub, the Investor Catalyst hub, and the Stakeholder and Operations hub. Notably, the Customer Service hub priorities include developing accessible health solutions and diversifying health solutions. The Investor Catalyst hub priorities include transforming innovative ideas into tangible solutions and the Stakeholder and Operations hub will focus on agency and stakeholder partnerships. Stay tuned to COSSA’s continued coverage of ARPA-H. 

HHS Proposes New Rule to Prevent Discrimination Against Individuals with Disabilities

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a new rule, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance, to prohibit discriminatory practices against individuals with disabilities. The new rule intends to expand upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It would clarify already existing protections and implement new conditions within this act, including: HHS is requesting public comment on the proposed rule that can be submitted here. Comments are requested by November 13. 

HHS Scientific Integrity Policy Public Comment Request Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a draft of its Scientific Integrity Policy and is inviting the public to share feedback and comments. The draft policy is in response to the Presidential Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-based Policymaking. Its main objective is to offer agency stakeholders an opportunity to voice their opinions on the policy. HHS formulated the draft following the guidelines from the National Science and Technology Council Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy and Practice. The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2023. For additional details on the draft and how to…

Adam H. Russell Named ARPA-H Acting Deputy Director

On May 25, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra formally announced the establishment of the Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) along with the appointment of Adam H. Russell, Ph.D. as the Acting Deputy Director of ARPA-H. Russell comes to ARPA-H from the University of Maryland’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security and brings more than a decade of experience as a Program Manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Russell also has an extensive…

White House Compiles Federal Equity Action Plans

The White House has published a list of equity action plans that have been developed by various federal agencies in order to comply with President Biden’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (E.O. 13985) issued on the first day of his term (see previous coverage for more details). According to the White House announcement, more than 90 federal agencies across the government were consulted to contribute to the equity action plans to address where barriers to accessing federal programs may exist and identify changes to federal policy that could be made….

HHS Bypasses CDC in COVID-19 Data Collection, Sparking Concerns

On July 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance that instructed hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in reporting COVID-19 data and instead send the information directly to the Department through a relatively new system called HHS Protect. The change has raised concerns among many public health and science stakeholder groups that it could signal an effort to sideline the CDC in responding to the pandemic and to limit the data available to the public. Prior to the change, hospitals submitted COVID-19 information to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network…

Alex Azar, Former Pharmaceutical Executive, Nominated to Lead HHS

President Trump has nominated Alex Azar to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would include oversight of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), among other federal agencies. Azar served as general counsel and deputy secretary to the Department under the George W. Bush administration and served as the president of Lilly Co., part of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co., until earlier this year. Azar’s nomination comes following former HHS Secretary Tom Price’s resignation after news surfaced of improper use of private jets for government…

HHS Requests Comments on Draft Strategic Plan

The Department of Health and Human Services has invited comments on its draft strategic plan for fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022. The plan describes how the Department plans to advance its mission according to five strategic goals: “(1) Reform, Strengthen, and Modernize the Nation’s Health Care System; (2) Protect the Health of Americans Where They Live, Learn, Work, and Play; (3) Strengthen the Economic and Social Well-Being of Americans across the Lifespan; (4) Foster Sound, Sustained Advances in Sciences; and (5) Promote Effective and Efficient Management and Stewardship.” HHS is accepting comments through October 26, 2017. More information is available in…

HHS Seeks Nominations for New Pain Management Task Force

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting nominations for members of their new Pain Management Task Force. The Task Force was announced on August 25 by HHS Secretary Tom Price and is charged with developing best practices for prescribing pain medication and managing pain. The Task Force will be a joint effort with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and is seeking membership from diverse disciplines and views, including experts and patients in pain management, addiction, mental health, minority health, and more. Nominations must be received by September 27, 2017. More information can be found in…

NCHS Releases 40th Health, United States Report

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released the 40th edition of one of its flagship publications, Health, United States, the “report card” on the nation’s health. Health, United States, 2016 compiles federal data on a wide range of topics related to morbidity, mortality, health care utilization and access, health risk factors, prevention, health insurance, and personal health care expenditures. The 2016 edition includes a chartbook that highlights long-term trends over the past 40 years related to infant mortality, leading causes of death, life expectancy, poisoning deaths, and smoking. The complete report is available on the NCHS website. Back…

AHRQ Advisory Committee Seeking Nominations

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is accepting nominations for potential new members of the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality, the scientific advisory body for AHRQ. Candidates should have experience with “(1) the conduct of research, demonstration projects, and evaluations with respect to health care; (2) the fields of health care quality research or health care improvement; (3) the practice of medicine; (4) other health professions; (5) representing the private health care sector (including health plans, providers, and purchasers) or administrators of health care delivery systems; (6) the fields of health care economics, information systems,…

Health and Human Services Solicits Comments on Healthy People 2030

Every decade, the Healthy People Initiative, part of the Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion of the Department of Health and Human Services, develops a new set of science-based national objectives with the goal of improving the health of all Americans. The Department has started to solicit written comments on the development of Healthy People 2030. Comments are sought on the framework, vision, mission, and overarching goals of the initiative. Comments must be submitted by September 29, 2017.  The full solicitation can be found here. Back to this issue’s table of contents. 

Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services Seeks Members

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking seven non-Federal members for the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. The 22-member Council consists of 12 non-federal members who fall within six categories: dementia caregivers; health care providers; researchers with dementia-related expertise in basic, translational, clinical, or drug development science; voluntary health association representatives; representatives of state health departments; and dementia patient advocates, including an advocate currently living with the disease. Nominations are due June 16, 2017. For more information, see the announcement. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

HHS Secretary Appears Before House Appropriations Subcommittee, Suggests NIH Budget Cuts to Come From “Efficiencies” in Indirect Costs

On March 29, newly appointed Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) former Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) made his first appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Welcoming the Secretary, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) began the hearing by pointing out that the proposed cuts in the Budget Blueprint (aka “skinny budget”) released by the Administration on March 16 “are extensive and span the reach of [the] agency.” Cole asked Price how the Department intends to solve “some of the challenges” the budget poses to HHS, including…

Tom Price Confirmed as Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), an orthopedic surgeon and a six-term member of the House of Representatives, was confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a party-line vote of 52 to 47 in the late hours of February 10. Price, who most recently served as chair of the House Budget Committee, is fiscally conservative and is considered a stern foe of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and abortion rights. However, he has been mostly supportive of increasing funding for federal research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, which is one of the agencies under HHS’ jurisdiction. Rep….

HHS Seeks Members for Healthy People 2030 Advisory Body

On March 17, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is establishing the “Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 (Committee)” and is inviting nominations for membership. In 1979, HHS created Healthy People, an initiative “grounded in the notion that setting science-based, measurable objectives and monitoring progress can motivate action.” The new Committee is expected to provide relevant and objective advice around health determinants and risk factors. It will perform the “single, time-limited task” of providing advice regarding creating Healthy People 2030 and advise the HHS Secretary on the Healthy…

HHS Seeks Comments on New Objectives Proposed For Healthy People 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking comments on the proposed new objectives for Healthy People 2020. The Department intends to use the comments to “shape the framework, objectives, and targets” of the initiative. Comments are being sought in the areas of family planning; preparedness; social determinants of health; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health. Additionally, the Department invites suggestions of “additional objectives for consideration that address critical public health issues within the existing 42 topic areas of Healthy People 2020.” Comments will be accepted through November 13, 2015. More information is available here. Back to…

Public Comment Period for Healthy People 2020 Open through November 7

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments regarding new objectives proposed to be added to Healthy People 2020.  The previous public comment period occurred in fall 2013.


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