Blog Archives

NIMH Requesting Comments on Improving Mental Health Disparities

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is requesting stakeholder comments to inform potential research seeking to improve mental health outcomes among minority and health disparity populations. The request specifically seeks input on how certain social determinants can affect mental health outcomes, how racial discrimination may affect mental health outcomes, potentially understudied social or behavioral determinants of mental health, ideas or innovations to reduce mental health disparities, promising interventions to treat mental health disparities, tools to properly measure mental health outcomes, and ideas on preventing racial discrimination at the individual, family, or community level. Comment submissions will be accepted through October 30, 2020. More information is available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 1), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIDA Seeking Comments on 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking stakeholder feedback on the draft version of its upcoming 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan is intended to guide the agency’s research priorities for the next five years by outlining cross-cutting research topics and approaches. NIDA’s draft strategic plan highlights several research topics that are relevant to the social and behavioral science community, including:

  • Identifying and developing approaches to reduce stigma,
  • Identifying and developing approaches to reduce health disparities,
  • Understanding differences based on sex and gender, and
  • Understanding interactions between substance use, HIV, and other conditions such as COVID-19.

Stakeholder feedback will be accepted through August 7, 2020. More information and the draft strategic plan is available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 4), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Research Applications Increase in Wake of COVID-19 Shutdowns, NIH Finds

A recent blog post from Mike Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), highlights how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected extramural research applications at NIH and how application rates compare to previous years. According to data collected by NIH, the number of R01-equivalent applications received by NIH between May 1 and June 5 of 2020 was 10 percent higher than the same period in 2019. The data also reflects more than a 10 percent increase of applications across all research project grants between 2020 and 2019. In addition to the spike in applications in 2020, the data shows a slightly more gender diverse application pool, with the proportion of 2020 applications with the principal investigators (PIs) reporting more than one gender category on multiple-PI applications increasing from previous years.

The data is consistent with the findings of a May 2020 international survey of scientists, which found that researchers were reporting fewer research hours but reporting more hours performing administrative duties and other activities such as grant applications. Deputy Director Lauer noted that the October 5 application deadline would provide further insight into how research activities will be affected due to many research institutions remaining closed through the typical academic calendar. NIH is expected to report on that data when it is available.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 4), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Releases Agency-Wide Strategic Plan for COVID-19 Research

On July 13, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released an agency-wide strategic plan on how NIH intends to direct research in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is intended to provide a framework of new research programs and repurposing of existing programs that would assist in mobilizing the research community in developing treatments, prevention methods, and vaccines. The strategic plan cites five overarching priorities for NIH in responding to COVID-19:

  • Improve fundamental knowledge of COVID-19 disease progression, outcomes, and recovery.
  • Advance research to improve detection by developing and validating new assays and retooling existing diagnostic platforms.
  • Support research to advance treatment by evaluating new or repurposing existing treatments and defining implementation strategies.
  • Accelerate research to improve prevention by developing vaccines, other methods to prevent transmission, and implementation models.
  • Prevent and redress poor COVID-19 outcomes in health disparity and vulnerable populations.

The strategic plan and more information is available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 21), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

Federal Research Agencies Release Guidance on OMB’s Administrative Flexibility Changes

In response to a June 18 memo (M 20-26) issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) extending certain administrative flexibilities to federal grant recipients as relief for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, federal research agencies have released guidance statements clarifying the memo’s implications for recipients of research grants. On June 25, both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) released nearly identical sets of guidance in response to the OMB memo explaining how the changes to the flexibilities will specifically affect recipients of their grants. The flexibilities include an allowance to continue charging salaries, benefits, and other applicable program costs to active NIH and NSF awards through September 30, 2020 (assuming that payroll costs have not already been paid through other COVID-19 relief programs), and an extension of the single audit submission deadline by up to three months.

More information is available on the NIH website and the NSF website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIMHD Seeking Research Applications Addressing COVID-19 Consequences on Vulnerable Populations

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new funding opportunity for community interventions to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic among health disparity and vulnerable populations. The announcement specifically encourages applicants to address adverse psychosocial, behavioral, and socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic on the health of these populations. Applications open on July 28 and will be accepted through August 28. More information is available on the NIMHD website.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIMH Announces New Strategic Plan, Approves Concept Clearances

During a public meeting on May 19, the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), the advisory body to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), released a new Strategic Plan for Research for the Institute. The strategic plan outlines NIMH’s research goals and intended priorities for the next five fiscal years, and cites four high-level goals to guide the Institute:

  • Define the Brain Mechanisms Underlying Complex Behaviors
  • Examine Mental Illness Trajectories Across the Lifespan
  • Strive for Prevention and Cures
  • Strengthen the Public Health Impact of NIMH-Supported Research

In addition to the strategic plan announcement, NAMHC heard and approved several concept clearances for potential new research, including some that would incorporate social and behavioral science. Summaries of these concept clearances and a recording of the NAMHC meeting will be available on the NIH website shortly.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH to Host Matilda White Riley Honors Virtually on June 8

On June 8, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host the annual Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors in a virtual capacity. The public event will feature a lecture from the 2020 Matilda White Riley Honors awardee, Toni Antonucci, Program Director and Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. It will also recognize the accomplishments of several early stage investigators and their research in the behavioral and social sciences. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of OBSSR and the first year the Matilda White Riley Honors will be hosted virtually.

Registration and more information about the Matilda White Riley Honors is available on the OBSSR website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 26), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIMHD Seeking Research Proposals on the Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Minority Health and Health Disparities

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Notice of Special Interest soliciting research proposals that aim to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting minority health and health disparities. In particular, the institute is interested in understanding how state and local public health policies affect health disparities, the role protective interventions may have in mitigating health disparities that COVID-19 may cause, and how behavioral or biological mechanisms may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. This notice is one of many coming out of the institutes and centers at NIH as the agency has been tapped by Congress in the COVID-19 stimulus bills to focus on research addressing the ongoing  pandemic (read COSSA’s analysis for more details).

Applications for this notice are due May 1, 2020. More information can be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 14), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Seeks Revision Applications to Support Firearms Injury Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Notice of Special Interest soliciting competitive revision applications to programs that could potentially include firearms injury and mortality prevention research. This notice comes in the wake of NIH receiving $12.5 million dollars for research studying firearms injury and mortality prevention in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Appropriations bill (see COSSA’s analysis). Like all federal agencies, NIH is legislatively restricted from using its funding for certain activities such as advocating for gun control policies, but is able to fund research topics aiming to understand the underlying risk factors and variables. Topics cited by the NIH notice as within the permitted scope of research include:

  • Improving the ability to identify at-risk individuals for firearm injury and mortality;
  • Developing healthcare procedures to accurately screen for risk of firearm injury and mortality;
  • Understanding factors that are associated with firearm injury and mortality risk and resilience;
  • Developing evidence-based interventions to address risk; and
  • Assessing the public health and criminal justice systems’ approaches towards the reduction of firearm injury and mortality.

Revision applications will be accepted through May 15, 2020. More information is available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 7 (March 31), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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