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OBSSR Responds to Concerns about NIH Guidance on the Funding of Health Economics Research

In November 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued guidance Clarifying NIH’s Priorities in Health Economics. The notice was accompanied by blog post from Carrie Wolinetz, NIH Associate Director for Science Policy (see Update, December 1, 2015). In a recent blog post, NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) director William Riley responded to questions the office has received from the social and behavioral science community regarding the impetus for the NIH notice. Riley highlighted his participation in the guidance’s development and his desire to convey and assure the research community that “health economics research is alive and well at the NIH.” Accordingly, in the blog post, he emphasizes that “health economics is one of many behavioral and social science research domains central to the NIH mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” Further, “health economics research methods and approaches offer critical insights into the societal burden of disease, the determinants of health and health-related behaviors, and new approaches to address a range of individual and population determinants of health.”

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 12), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NIH Issues Notice Clarifying its Health Economics Research Priorities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a Guide Notice on November 25, to “clarify NIH policy related to funding health economics research,” in an effort to delineate NIH’s “priority areas of health economics research as well as reach aims that generally fall outside of the NIH mission.”

The notice is part of an ongoing issue that dates back to 2012 Congressional language in the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that bans the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from supporting economics research. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) responded to the language, along with 82 of her colleagues, in a letter to NIH “urging the continuation of behavioral and social science research, including economics.” The letter stated that “any consideration of reducing or eliminating economics research from NIH funding streams would be a very misguided and short sighted decision. This selective and regressive approach to information and knowledge is unacceptable, and we must work to ensure that health research remains as comprehensive and complete as possible.” Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) also included language targeting health economics research in an early version of the Kids First Research Act, though it was removed from the final draft. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 22 (December 1), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

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