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Events Calendar

Aging with HIV/AIDS: Challenges and Successes of a Lifetime Defined by the Epidemic, American Psychological Association, December 3, 2014

Webinar: Producing Government Data with Statistical Confidentiality Controls, American Statistical Association Privacy and Confidentiality Committee, December 17, 2014

A list of COSSA members’ annual meetings can be found on the COSSA web page.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seek Comments on Draft Strategic Plans

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking public comment on the development of the Institutes’ strategic plans. The plans will guide the Institutes’ research priorities.

National Institute on Aging

The NIA recently released a request for information (RFI) seeking guidance on its strategic plan, Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging. The draft plan outlines NIA’s broad strategic directions for the Institute and “provides a point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute’s scientific portfolio and assessing progress.” Its goals falls into three categories: understanding the dynamics of the aging process; improving health, well-being, and independence of adults as they age; and supporting the research enterprise.

The goals include:

  1. Better understand the biology of gaining and its impact on prevention, progression, and prognosis of disease and disability.
  2. Better understand the effects of personal and societal factors on aging, including the mechanisms through which these factors exert their effects.
  3. Develop effective interventions to maintain health and function and prevent or reduce the burden of age-related diseases, disorders, and disabilities.
  4. Improve our understanding of the aging brain, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Develop interventions to address Alzheimer’s and other age-related neurological conditions.
  5. Improve our understanding of the consequences of an aging society to inform intervention development and policy decisions.
  6. Understand health differences and develop strategies to improve the health status of older adults in diverse populations
  7. Support the infrastructure and resources needed to promote high quality research.
  8. Disseminate information to the public, medical and scientific communities, and policy makers about research and interventions.

Specifically, NIA would like feedback regarding (1) research needs and opportunities that should be added to the plan and (2) emerging research needs and future opportunities that should be included in the plan.

Responses will be accepted until December 15, 2014 and must be submitted via email to the NIA Office of Planning, Analysis and Evaluation at niaplanning@nia.nih.gov.

National Institute of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health’s revised Strategic Plan is intended to guide its priorities from 2015–2020. Accordingly, NIMH is inviting public comment and is specifically interested in receiving ideas for “scientific advancements, new technical capabilities or tools, or major challenge topics that promise substantial change to mental health research if pursued.” NIMH is the largest funding agency for mental health research.

In his message, NIMH director Tom Insel notes “that some scientists reject the concept of ‘directed science,’ believing that science rarely follows a plan.” Conversely, Insel noted, a strategic plan “can identify the most important problems and identify areas of traction.”

The 2015–2020 plan revises the original four high-level Strategic Objectives which are intended to serve as a “broad roadmap” for NIMH’s priorities.

These objectives include:

  1. Define the biological basis of complex behaviors;
  2. Chart mental illness trajectories to determine when, where, and how to intervene;
  3. Strive for prevention and cures; and
  4. Strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research.

According to the revised draft plan, the Institute’s funding strategy is “to support a broad spectrum of investigator-initiated research in fundamental science, with increasing use of Institute-solicited initiatives for applied research where public health impact is a short-term measure of success.”

The revised plan also includes cross-cutting themes that are relevant to each of the objectives. These themes include: transforming diagnostics, accelerating therapeutics, the growing digital enterprise, transforming the trajectory of mental illnesses through preemptive medicine, global mental health, mental health disparities, partnerships, and training future research scientists.

Responses to the draft plan are due by December 11, 2014and can be submitted to: NIMHSTRATPLAN@mail.nih.gov. Additional information is available here.

Back to this issue’s table of contents.

 

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Policy Roundtable Seminar Focuses on Stimulating Innovation in Government

The National Academies’ Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences held a seminar on October 30 focused on “Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government.” The Roundtable is chaired by David T. Ellwood of the Harvard Kennedy School and, beginning in 2015, will be directed by Arlene Lee, Director of the Committee on Law and Justice. For more on the Roundtable, see COSSA’s coverage of its last meeting.

Roundtable members are government users and producers of social and behavioral science research and behavioral social and scientists who have spent time in the government (the list of members is available on the Academies’ website). It provides a forum to “explore ways in which the behavioral and social sciences can better inform and otherwise contribute to more effective and efficient policies and programs of government.” (more…)

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

IOM Recommends Including Social/Behavioral Determinants in Electronic Health Records

On November 13, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released Capturing Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures in Electronic Health Records: Phase 2, which recommends a “concrete approach to including social and behavioral determinants in the clinical context to increase clinical awareness of the patient’s state, broadly considered, and to connect clinical, public health, and community resources for work in concert.” The report’s recommendations takes into consideration the “substantial empirical evidence of the contribution of social and behavioral factors to functional status and the onset, progression, and effective treatment of disease [that] has accumulated over the past four decades.” (more…)

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

APSA Releases Report on Improving Perception of Political Science

The American Political Science Association (APSA), a COSSA governing member, has published a report entitled Improving Public Perceptions of Political Science’s Value. The report was written by a task force chaired by Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan (a member of COSSA’s Board of Directors), charged with identifying ways APSA and its members can better explain to the public, policymakers, and the media the contributions political science makes to society. This project comes in the wake of several high-profile attacks by policymakers on the discipline, notably Sen. Tom Coburn’s successful attempt to restrict funding of political science projects at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2013. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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