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NCHS Seeks Comments on Redesign of National Health Interview Survey

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking comments on the redesign of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to be fielded in 2018. NHIS, which has been in the field continuously since 1957, is the “principal source of information on the health of the civilian noninstitutionalized population” of the U.S. According to the Federal Register notice, “the redesign process presents an opportunity to (1) ensure the survey is capturing the current health and health care needs of individuals in the United States and producing data of the highest-possible quality; and (2) reduce respondent burden by shortening the overall questionnaire length and harmonizing its content with other federal health surveys.” Comments are due November 7, 2016.

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Posted in Issue 20 (October 18), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NIOSH Requests Input on Motor Vehicle Safety Research Priorities

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is looking for input from the scientific community on the direction of its motor vehicle safety research efforts (see its Center for Motor Vehicle Safety strategic plan). Specifically, the Institute is seeking feedback on its research priorities, communications and outreach efforts, and how its products are used by stakeholders. Comments may be submitted in writing by October 14, 2016 or during a public web meeting on September 14, 2016. More information is available in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 6), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Candidates Sought for CDC Health Disparities Advisory Subcommittee

The Health Disparities Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ACD, CDC) is seeking nominations for new members. The Subcommittee provides expert advice to the CDC Director and Health and Human Services leadership on ways to reduce health disparities, including through research, program and policy analysis, and other CDC activities. Candidates should have expertise in “health policy, public health, global health, preparedness, preventive medicine, the faith-based and community-based sector, and allied fields.” More information is available in the Federal Register notice. Nominations are due by September 30, 2016.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 6), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

State of Play: FY 2017 Funding for Social Science Research

Congress has adjourned for a seven-week recess and will not be returning to work until after Labor Day. Despite promises for a return to “regular order” in the annual appropriations process, we find ourselves in familiar territory with none of the 12 annual spending bills expected to be enacted into law before the new fiscal year begins October 1. In fact, none of the bills that fund research agencies and programs (the Commerce, Justice Science bill and the Labor, HHS, Education bill) have yet to make it to the House or Senate floors for debate.

Upon returning to work in September, Congress will be faced with a full plate of must-pass legislation and a limited number of days before breaking again for the fall elections. Among the countless unknowns surrounding a possible endgame strategy for appropriations is one certainty – the need to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a government shutdown come October 1. The length of the impending CR, though, is still up for debate. Scenarios range from a CR of a couple of months with final action completed in the December timeframe (forcing a lame duck session of Congress after the November elections), to a six-month-long CR that would delay action until after the new Administration and Congress are sworn in, to possibly a year-long continuing resolution that would fund agencies at the FY 2016 level through the end of next fiscal year. These details will need to be sorted out over the next several weeks, and consensus remains far-off. However, all parties appear equally committed to avoiding a government shutdown.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2017 appropriations bills over the last several months. Read on for a recap of progress made to date as it relates to social and behavioral science research. Congress will pick up where it left off when Members return to work in September. Full details on the various bills considered so far can be viewed on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Senate Presses Forward on 2017 Spending Bills

The Senate Appropriations Committee has been making progress over the last several weeks on its fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations bills in an effort to pass as many of the bills as possible before heading home in mid-July for the party conventions and August recess (follow all of the developments on the COSSA website).  The FY 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, which made it out of Committee on April 21, is expected to be on the Senate floor later this week. Stay tuned – COSSA will be closely monitoring the floor debate as this is when we could see amendments that could harm social science research accounts.

In addition, on June 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill. This bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as well as many other federal departments and agencies. Committee members noted that this bill represents the first bipartisan Senate Labor-HHS bill in seven years; this tends to be one of the more controversial and divisive of the 12 appropriations bills given that it provides funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and sections of the Affordable Care Act. The House has yet to release its version of the bill, but is rumored to have something ready by the end of the month.

Check out COSSA’s in-depth analysis for full details.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 14), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Lawmakers Call for CDC Gun Research

On May 31, 146 Members of Congress signed a letter in support of eliminating appropriations riders that have prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from conducting research on gun violence prevention since 1996 (the “Dickey amendment”). The bipartisan letter, led by Rep. David Price (D-NC) states, “Although Members of Congress may disagree about how best to respond to the high incidence of gun violence, we should all be able to agree that our response should be informed by sound scientific evidence,” and argues that Congress should “allow the research community to investigate evidence-based solutions that could help prevent gun violence while still protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.” A letter in the Senate circulated in March by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) also called for the CDC to conduct gun violence prevention research. In April, COSSA joined more than 100 other societies and organizations in calling for an end to the ban.

The gun control debate has been renewed with greater urgency after this weekend’s tragic mass shooting in Orlando. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to force votes on loopholes allowing individuals on the terrorist watch list to purchase guns as part of the debate on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill this week (for more on CJS, see related story).

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 14), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA Submits FY 2017 Testimony on NIH, CDC, Education, and Other Agencies

COSSA submitted its annual Outside Witness Testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. COSSA’s testimony for fiscal year (FY) 2017 addresses the need for strong funding of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Institute for Education Sciences, and Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs. Click here to read testimony submitted to the House, and here for the Senate.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 19), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Members of Congress Submit Funding Requests for Social and Behavioral Science Agencies

Over the past several weeks, Members of Congress have been signing their names to “Dear Colleague” letters, formal requests to the House and Senate appropriations committees for specific funding levels for various federal agencies. COSSA has been tracking letters in support of strong funding for the agencies important to the social and behavioral sciences on our funding updates page. COSSA appreciates the efforts of all of the Members who have signed on to the letters below:

In addition to the requests for specific appropriations levels, a bipartisan letter in the House reaffirms support for the National Science Foundation’s “current practice of setting national scientific research priorities, investing in all disciplines of science, and using the merit review systems for determining which grant proposals to fund.” A letter in the Senate urges appropriators to include funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 5), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA and Partners Urge Strong FY 2017 Funding for Science Agencies

Now that appropriations season is underway, COSSA has begun working with its coalition partners to urge strong support for agencies that fund social and behavioral science research in fiscal year (FY) 2017. Some of the most recent requests include:

The most up-to-date list of such letters is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 8), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

NCHS Seeks Input on Update to NHIS

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) plans to update one of its major surveys, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), in 2018. The goals of the redesign are “to improve the measurement of covered health topics, to reduce respondent burden by shortening the length of the questionnaire, to harmonize overlapping content with other federal health surveys, to establish a long-term structure of ongoing and periodic topics, and to incorporate advances in survey methodology and measurement.” NCHS welcomes input from the scientific community on the proposed survey design and content. Instructions and more information are available on the NCHS website.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 23), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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