January 13, 2003
Volume 22, Issue 1
On January 7th the new Congress began with a new Republican majority in the Senate, an enhanced Republican majority in the House, new leaders, 62 new members, and the FY2003 spending bills left over from last year. As of January 13th, a dispute over committee staff ratios has kept the Senate from passing its organizing resolution, while the House, particularly the majority, has moved quickly to select committee chairs and fill out committee rosters.
With the Continuing Resolution (CR) keeping the government open expiring on January 11, the new Congress moved quickly to pass a new CR that will carry the non-defense agencies at FY 2002 funding levels until January 31. In addition, the House has passed a second CR that will become the vehicle for the Omnibus Appropriations bill that will complete the FY 2003 funding process. The Senate, once it gets organized, will attach the 11 remaining spending bills to the CR. A House-Senate conference committee will work out differences and the FY 2003 process will be behind us. Since the President still expects to present his FY 2004 budget on February 3, Congress hopes to finish FY 2003 before then.
In configuring the remaining 11 spending bills, the White House and Congress have agreed to abide by the President’s overall discretionary figure. This will necessitate reductions from the bills reported out by the Appropriations Committees last year. In addition, since the Labor, HHS, Education spending bill was never marked up in the House, Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) has introduced legislation that sets out numbers. This will provide the House a bargaining document with the Senate in conference. Regula’s bill provides NIH with a 14 percent increase over last year, somewhat short of completing the doubling in five years. Compared to FY 2002 appropriations, the new bill level funds International Education and Graduate Education programs, provides small increases for education research and statistics, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives a small decrease.
New Congress, New Leaders
The final lineup for the beginning of the 108th Congress is 229 Republicans, 205 Democrats, and one Independent in the House, and 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and one Independent in the Senate. Both Independents, Vermonters Rep. Bernard Sanders and Sen. James Jeffords, line up with the Democrats for organizational purposes.
With Sen. Trent Lott’s well-publicized demise as Senate Republican leader, Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) steps into the Majority Leader’s position. A distinguished physician, Frist has been a strong supporter of health and scientific research, and has demonstrated an interest in education research. Sen. Mitch Mc Connell (R-KY), chief opponent of campaign finance reform, replaces Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) as Republican Whip. The Democrats’ leadership team in the Senate remains the same; Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) now becomes Minority Leader and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) Minority Whip.
On the House side, Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) starts his third term as Speaker. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) moves up to Majority Leader, and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) becomes Majority Whip. The Democrats will have a whole new leadership team. They elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Minority Leader, the first woman in House history to become party leader. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will be the Minority Whip.
The ascendance of the Republicans into the Senate majority leads to a wholesale shift in committee chairs. The most significant in terms of ideological change occurs at the Senate Budget Committee where Sen. Nickles takes over from Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND). Nickles is much more conservative, pro-tax cuts, and anti-spending than Conrad or the previous Republican head of the panel, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).
Another key change is Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) replacing Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as head of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. The panel’s agenda for the coming year includes reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) replacement of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee is another major ideological shift and should make the judicial nomination process move more smoothly for President Bush, at least at the committee level.
Among other new committee leaders are: Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AS) at Appropriations; Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) at Governmental Affairs; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) at Agriculture; Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) at Foreign Relations; and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) at Finance. In each of these cases the differences from their Democratic predecessors should not be as sharply ideological. Collins’ panel has been given jurisdiction over the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
In the House, the changes are fewer as most Republican chairs retain their positions – Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) at the Science Committee, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) at Appropriations, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) at Judiciary, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) at Ways and Means, and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) at International Relations.
The House has created a new Select Committee on Homeland Security to oversee the Department. Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) will chair and the members will be the leaders and ranking members of the other panels that have oversight of the agencies that have been moved to DHS. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is the new head of the Agriculture Committee and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) replaces the term-limited Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) as the leader of the Government Reform panel. Davis, who as head of the National Republican Congressional Committee helped the GOP increase their House majority, is expected to be a much more reliable friend of the Bush Administration than Burton was.
Despite the new rule that subjected the heads of the House Appropriations Subcommittees to approval by the Republican Steering Committee, all of the incumbents survived. Rep. James Walsh (R-NY) continues as head of the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies panel; Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) remains as leader of the Labor, HHS, Education subcommittee; Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) serves another term as chair of the Commerce, Justice, State panel; and Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) leads the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee again.
With some urgency to finish the FY 2003 spending bills this month, the new Congress will need to move into high gear quickly. The President delivers the State of the Union address on January 28th. War with Iraq continues to loom over everything and the campaign against terrorism goes on. Early word on the FY 2004 budget is not good for domestic agencies, including those that support research. Details will be forthcoming on February 3rd. The Administration has admitted the economy needs fixing, and there will be clashes over the details. And the 2004 presidential election season has already begun. Another interesting year awaits!
“It is…evident that while the scientific, technological, and military aspects are essential parts of understanding and containing terrorism, every aspect of that phenomenon yields human and social dimensions.” This is the starting point for the new report, Terrorism: Perspectives from the Behavioral and Social Sciences, issued by a National Academy of Sciences’ panel chaired by Neil Smelser, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.
The report focuses first on the determinants of terrorism, which according to the text, include a political cast, usually couched in terms of a history of international relations with Western countries. These relations have sometimes led to economic and political dislocation, new religious and secular values and the emergence of groups that form around the issue of modernizing or preserving traditional ways of life. The economic pressures on countries’ resources placed by high fertility rates and high youth dependency ratios sometimes produce larger numbers of unemployed youth with dim economic futures and high potential for dissatisfaction. These societies are also both poor and have highly regressive distributions of income.
These conditions can lead to resentment toward outsiders. “Among the social movements that arise are those inspired by a revivalist ideology, which is characterized by a profound sense of threat to traditional values and society, an abiding hatred for agents held responsible (mainly foreigners), and a vision of restoration of their own societies to a state of purity.” These movements “provided a fertile seedbed in which terrorist organizations can find both recruits and sympathetic audiences for their activities.” Since these revivalist movements operate in repressive regimes, they are often driven underground and radicalized.
With regard to the social organization of terrorism, the terrorists “operate mainly through elusive networks that are constrained simultaneously to maintain extreme secrecy and to coordinate complex military-like activities, as well as to sustain a high level of ideological commitment among members.” This is not easy and can create vulnerabilities such as defections and internal power struggles.
The panel concluded that “there is no single or typical mentality – much less a specific pathology – of terrorists.” Yet, the expression of generalized rage, the sense of identity imparted by membership in a group, and the glamour derived from actions before real and imagined audiences provide significant gratification to terrorists.
In examining the domestic responses to terrorism, the committee drew upon valuable previous social/behavioral research on natural disasters. These studies have demonstrated the processes of normalization following attacks. In addition, the committee cites two new areas of research – cultural trauma and repressed memory – as promising for understanding the longer-term reactions to September 11 and other potential attacks.
The report also discusses the political consequences of concerns with national security, such as the compromise of civil liberties. “This tension between vigilance and liberty is of special significance and is likely to be a running sore in the context of American democracy…” The panel expressed concern about group scapegoating, the confusion of political opposition with lack of patriotism, and nationally disruptive political movements that “seriously compromise civil liberties.”
Finally, the report examines the economic consequences of terrorism, which include: “dislocation and redirection of economic emphasis, costs of rebuilding, capitalizing on public crisis for private economic gain, disputes over who pays for readiness, damage and recovery, episodes of economic instability, and possible downgrading of domestic economic programs and environmental concerns.” The panel concluded by recommending a set of priorities for further social and behavioral science research on terrorism. The full document is available at www.nap.edu/catlog/10570.html.
On December 11, 2002 the National Academies’ Committee on Law and Justice held its second roundtable on Social and Behavioral Sciences and Terrorism. The roundtable is co-chaired by Philip Heymann, former Deputy Attorney General and now Professor of Law and Government at Harvard, and Michael Chertoff, current Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. (For a report on the first roundtable session see Update, April 15, 2002).
The meeting focused on modeling terrorist organizations. Chertoff noted that the “Mafia organization model” familiar to the Justice Department did not work for terrorist organizations. Terrorists often act as catalysts for other groups forming looser networks. He suggested that these networks resembled successive chains of individual actors.
Michael Nacht, Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, told the participants that there were three possible models that could be examined for responding to terrorism. The first is analogous to anti-submarine warfare in that attempts to find human terrorist cells in the U.S. are the equivalent of finding subs in vast oceans. The development of SONAR and other detection devices helped transform the search for submarines, but it is unclear if similar devices are available yet for the current problem.
Nacht called the second model “strategic culture.” This method was used to evaluate the Soviet military during the Cold War. The focus is on the geography, anthropology, history, and other socio-political factors of a nation-state. The question is what is the connection between this strategic culture and behavior? Also, how do you translate this to the transnational level?
The model Nacht seemed to think had the most promise is based on comparisons to the networks developed in utilization of open-source software. With these, there are distributed innovations, no centralized decision making, and non-hierarchies. Nacht concluded that “it takes networks to fight networks.”
Gary LaFree and Laura Dugan of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at the University of Maryland reported on their work with a comprehensive terrorism-event database. With funding from the National Institute of Justice, they are analyzing and extending the Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service terrorist incident database. This heretofore private information collection has data on 74,000 incidents classified as both domestic and international terror from 1970 to 1997.
Kathleen Carley, Professor of Organizational Sociology at Carnegie Mellon University, described Dynamic Network Analysis, which can analyze large networks with incomplete data and indicate how characteristics of networks will change if knowledge about even one node changes. This allows analysts to keep pace with unfolding events and new information.
David Jensen, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts, discussed how data mining works and how statistical modeling in large data sets can be useful for risk assessment. He also described how successful this technique was in tracing money laundering.
Barry O’Neill, a UCLA Political Scientist, focused on applications of game theory to organizational decision-making and suggested possible extensions to the problem of terrorist networks.
The Roundtable is expected to meet again soon to examine the collective behavior of populations under the threat of danger or some other relevant topic.
President Bush has announced his intention to nominate Charles McQueary to the position of Undersecretary for Science and Technology in the new Department of Homeland Security. McQueary recently retired as President of General Dynamics Advanced Technology Systems. Prior to his stint at General Dynamics, he was with AT&T/Lucent Technologies from 1987 -1997 as President and Vice President, and with AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1971-1987 as Director and Department Head. McQueary holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics and an M.S. and B.S in Mechanical Engineering, all awarded by the University of Texas, Austin.
On November 25, the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Committee to Monitor the Changing Need for Biomedical, Behavioral and Clinical Personnel began its examination of personnel needs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The twelfth in a series of examinations, the congressionally-mandated study is being conducted at the request of the NIH. The series of studies dates back to 1974 with the creation of the National Research Service Award (NRSA) (Public Law 93-348 as amended). More recently, Congress renamed the award the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award in recognition of the contributions of the former NIH Deputy Director. (See Update, August 5, 2002).
The current study, set to last 28 months and chaired by Gordon G. Hammes of Duke University, will conclude at the end of 2004 with the issuance of a report to NIH. The document will make recommendations on the number of NRSA traineeships and fellowships the Agency should support, projections for the size of the research workforce through 2014, and changes the NIH might consider in the administration of its training and career development programs.
At its inaugural meeting, the Committee heard from several NIH officials, including Kirschstein; Wendy Baldwin (Deputy Director, Extramural Research); Raynard Kington (Director, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research); Judith Greenberg (Acting Director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences); and Walter Schaffer (Extramural Research). Joann Roskoski and Peg (Marguerite) Barratt of the National Science Foundation also appeared before the Committee.
Understanding Behavior: Fundamental to Health Promotion
Addressing the training needs for behavioral and social science, Kington informed the Committee that “unhealthy behaviors are an enormous part of the public health problem . . . and that understanding behavior is fundamental to health promotion.” Behavior, he further observed, is “central in most leading causes of disease,” and has been documented in report after report.
Approximately half of all causes of mortality are linked to social and behavioral factors, Kington informed the Committee. The 2000 NAS Committee on Capitalizing on Social Science and Behavioral Research to Improve the Public’s Health observed that “behavioral and social science offer great promise to reduce disease morbidity and mortality, but as yet their potential to improve the public’s health has been relatively poorly tapped,” noted Kington. (See Update, September 11, 2000).
He explained that health and behavior is a complicated relationship and emphasized that there are many research questions in need of an answer, including:
· Why do people start a behavior?
· What maintains behavior?
· What are the individual-level biology, genetic, and psychological factors that affect the behavior?
· How does the social environment influence the behavior?
· How can the behavior be changed?
· How does all of this vary for different ethnic and minority groups?
To answer these questions, Kington stressed, theories of social and behavioral sciences are needed as well as individuals trained to apply these theories to health problems.
Kington highlighted the controversy that accompanied the 2000 report surrounding the training needs of social and behavioral sciences: “NIH does not need to take any further action to increase the size and scope of its training activities in the behavioral and social sciences.” That document contradicted the 1994 Academy report that noted “solutions to many of the worst health problems facing the country are primarily behavioral” and that there should be a substantial increase in the number of investigators trained in behavioral and social science research.
He acknowledged that many in the behavioral/social science community agreed with the John Kihlstrom’s (University of California, Berkeley Psychologist) dissenting remarks in the 2000 report that emphasized: “Even if the size of the behavioral and social science workforce is adequate, NIH should encourage more behavioral and social scientists to engage in research relevant to health.” (See Update, September 11, 2000).
Kington also pointed out that six NAS reports have called for more interdisciplinary research that integrates social/behavioral and biological research. The reports include:
1. Promoting Health: Intervention Strategies From Social and Behavioral Research (2000)
2. The Aging Mind: Opportunities in Cognitive Research (2000)
3. Bridging the Disciplines in the Brain, Behavioral and Clinical Sciences (2000)
4. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development (2000)
5. New Horizons in Health: An Integrative Approach (2001)
6. Health and Behavior: The Interplay of Biological, Behavioral, and Societal Influences (2001)
Emphasizing that behavioral, sociocultural, environmental, genetic, and physiological factors all affect health outcomes, Kington defined interdisciplinary research for the Committee. It includes psychobiology (bio-psychosocial) research, gene-environment and behavioral genetics research, psychosocial-clinical research, and behavioral-social research, he explained. Social and behavioral research brings methods, theories, and evaluation strategies that allow for more sophisticated approaches and should produce a new set of questions, Kington told the Committee. Approaches to the research need to come from both the individual and society levels, he added.
Behavioral and Social Science at NIH
NIH support for behavioral/social science is approximately 10 percent of the Agency’s $27 billion budget. There is a substantial amount of behavioral/social science research in wide variations across the disciplines being supported by the NIH, Kington emphasized. However, he noted, NIH data does not allow for calculating how much behavioral/social science training is supported across the Institutes and Centers.
Discussing basic research, Kington conveyed that basic behavioral/social science, like the biological sciences, does not address a particular disease per se. Providing a snippet of the congressionally-mandated definition of behavioral/social science, he noted that basic research in the sciences include (a) behavioral and social processes studies on sensation and perception; emotion and motivation; vulnerability and resilience; attention, learning, and memory; language development; social influences and social cognition; family processes and social networks; and sociocultural and environmental processes, (b) biopsychosocial research, and (c) studies of behavioral or social procedures for measurement, analysis, and classification. The complete definition is available on the OBSSR’s website at: http://obssr.od.nih.gov/funding/definition.htm.
Like the biological sciences, the behavioral and social science work at NIH is not owned by any one Institute or Center, Kington told the Committee. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the former ADAMHA Institutes (Drug Abuse, Mental Health, and Alcohol) support the bulk of this research. None of these Institutes, however, see it as their primary mission.
According to Kington, the NIH has responded to the 2002 recommendations for more behavioral/social science interdisciplinary researchers, investigators of health disparities, and minority researchers. The response has included an increase in program announcements, requests for applications, workshops, and conferences.
He concluded by observing that future challenges for the NIH and the NAS Committee include interdisciplinary training barriers at universities, basic behavioral and social sciences research training, and distribution of training across the NIH Institutes and Centers.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson recently appointed committee members to his Department’s new Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protection (SACHRP) and the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society (SACGHS). (See Update, November 4, 2002).
On January 3, 2003, 11 individuals were named to SACHRP, which replaces the defunct National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee (NHRPAC). SACHRP will be chaired by Ernest Prentice, Associate Dean for Research and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Regulatory Compliance at the University of Nebraska Medical School in Omaha.
Three of the former NHRPAC committee members were named to SACHRP: Mark Barnes (health care attorney and Partner, Ropes & Gray), Susan Kortensky, (Director of Clinical Research Compliance, Children’s Hospital, Boston), and Jonathan Moreno, (Professor of Bioethics, University of Virginia). It has been reported, however, that Moreno, has declined to serve as a member of the new committee and that he is urging that his “vacant seat be filled by a research subject representative or member of a subject advocate group.”
On December 23, 2002, Thompson named 13 doctors, scientists, and other experts to SACGHS. The committee will be chaired by Edward McCabe, Executive Chair, Pediatrics Department, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Physician-in-Chief at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital. SACGHS’s charter has also been expanded to “more broadly consider the impact of genetic technologies on society.”
Social Behavioral Science Working Group
Meanwhile, the Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) Working Group, established by NHRPAC, is independently continuing its work of addressing the concerns of the social and behavioral science community regarding the human subjects protection system. (See Update, September 23, 2002). The group is continuing to deliberate the issues on its original agenda (e.g., student research, qualitative studies), developing and conducting a day-long course on human research protections in the social and behavioral sciences, and serving as a forum for dialogue and discussion with other key bodies (including the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs and the Federal Office of Human Research Protections).
Douglas Richardson has taken over as Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). He succeeds Ronald Abler, who has retired. Richardson joined the AAG staff in July 2001 as the Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives.
He is the former President and founder of GeoResearch Inc., a company that invented, developed, and patented the first interactive Global Positioning System/Geographic Information System technology. As head of the company, Richardson directed many large-scale mapping, transportation, and other research projects. He sold GeoResearch in 1998.
Richardson has also been a lobbyist working on environmental, natural resources, and cultural issues in the Western United States. He has a B.A. degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Geography from Michigan State University.
COSSA provides this information as a service and encourages readers to contact the sponsoring agency for further information. Additional application guidelines and restrictions may apply.
Pathways Linking Education to Health
To increase the level and diversity of research directed at “elucidating the causal pathways and mechanisms that may underlie the association between education and health, and the research in this latter area,” the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), along with the Aging (NIA), Cancer (NCI), and Child Health (NICHD) Institutes have issued a request-for-applications (RFA), OB-03-001.
A letter of Intent is due February 28, 2003 and the application is due March 26, 2003. For more information contact: Lawrence J. Fine (OBSSR) at Finel@od.nih.gov; Georgeanne E. Patmios (NIA) at PatmiosG@nia.nih.gov; Helen I Meissner (NCI) at Meissneh@dcpceps.nci.nih.gov; or V. Jeffrey Evans (NICHD) at Evansvj@mail.nih.gov.