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NIH Releases 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its agency-wide Strategic Plan for fiscal years (FY) 2021-2025,  a roadmap outlining key objectives and themes for the agency for the next five years. The plan organizes its strategy into three major objectives for the agency:

  • Advancing Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences;
  • Developing, Maintaining, and Renewing Scientific Research Capacity; and
  • Exemplifying and Promoting the Highest Level of Scientific Integrity, Public Accountability, and Social Responsibility in the Conduct of Science.

The Strategic Plan also outlines five cross-cutting themes that run through each of the three major objectives and all aspects of the agency’s strategy:

  • Improving Minority Health and Reducing Health Disparities
  • Enhancing Women’s Health
  • Addressing Public Health Challenges Across the Lifespan
  • Promoting Collaborative Science
  • Leveraging Data Science for Biomedical Discovery

Notably, the role of the social and behavioral sciences in NIH biomedical research are highlighted throughout the Strategic Plan, with the report noting “for the purposes of this Strategic Plan, the term biomedical is used broadly to include biological, behavioral, and social scientific perspectives.” Other topics in which the social and behavioral sciences are highlighted include the social determinants of health, maternal health, minority health and health disparities, and strengthening the research workforce. More information about the Strategic Plan is available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 16 (August 3), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NIAAA Requesting Input on 2022-2026 Strategic Plan Outline

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a Request for Information inviting feedback from stakeholders on the outline of the upcoming NIAAA Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-2026. The strategic plan outline, which is included in the request, contains several cross-cutting themes including promoting health equity and diversity in alcohol research spaces, identifying unique risks for alcohol misuse, advancing research on co-occurring conditions with alcohol misuse, supporting new technologies on diagnosis of alcoholism, increasing the use of data science in alcohol research, and encouraging collaboration between alcohol research and other topics.

The outline also notes three major goals for the institute:

  • Identify and track the biological, social, environmental, and behavioral causes and consequences of alcohol misuse;
  • Prevent and reduce alcohol misuse and associated developmental effects, health conditions, and acute harms;
  • Advance diagnosis and treatment of alcohol-related conditions.

Comments will be accepted through July 30 and may be submitted through an online form on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 20), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

NIH Releases Minority Health and Health Disparities Strategic Plan for 2021-2025

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its strategic plan for 2021 through 2025 to advance minority health and health disparities research across all NIH institutes, offices, and centers. The strategic plan, which was developed with input across the NIH and the minority health and health disparity research community, lays out goals and strategies for the agency to advance additional scientific research, support research-adjacent activities, and expand outreach and strategic communications on minority health and health disparities. These goals and strategies include:

  • Promoting research to understand and improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations.
  • Advancing scientific understanding of the causes of health disparities.
  • Developing and testing interventions to reduce disparities.
  • Creating and improving scientific methods to support health disparities research.
  • Supporting trainings and career advancement to enhance diversity and promote minority health and health disparities research.
  • Strengthening capacity to conduct minority health and health disparities research.
  • Ensuring representation of minority and other health disparity populations in NIH-funded research.
  • Promoting evidence-based community engagement of best practices.
  • Cultivating and expanding the community of minority health and health disparities researchers and advocates.

Both the strategic plan and an interactive webpage to explore the contents of the plan are available on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 13), Update, Volume 40 (2021)

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)

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)

OBSSR Seeks Input on 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

The NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is seeking broad public input on important new directions for health-related behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Specifically, OBSSR requests input on research directions that will support the achievement of the scientific priorities in the OBSSR Strategic Plan 2022-2026 (see the current strategic plan) and that will advance or transform the broader health impact of BSSR.  OBSSR is interested in focusing on research directions that are trans-disease and cross-cutting in nature and address critical gaps in the field.

The role of OBSSR is to coordinate and promote BSSR research across the NIH and assist NIH Institutes and Centers in developing research and training resources to advance the field.  OBSSR supports a broad range of BSSR disease, condition, population, and setting specific priorities across the NIH covering the spectrum from basic to implementation science research.

OBSSR would like input on the most important or cutting-edge, trans-disease research directions that would accelerate progress in these three strategic priority areas:

  • Synergy in Basic and Applied BSSR
  • BSSR Resources, Methods, and Measures
  • Adoption of Effective BSSR in Practice

To ensure consideration, responses must be submitted by March 29, 2020 through OBSSR’s crowdsourcing IdeaScale website.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 18), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NIH Requesting Comments on Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a request for information (RFI) asking for stakeholder comments on the proposed framework for the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years (FYs) 2021-2025 slated for a December 2020 release. Rather than focus on specific research opportunities or institute initiatives, NIH releases a strategic plan every five years to highlight the achievements of the agency and set broader priorities.

The proposed framework for the new strategic plan highlights several cross-cutting themes for NIH including increasing diversity, reducing health disparities, optimizing data science, promoting collaborative science, and addressing public health challenges across the lifespan. These themes would support three major objectives for NIH:

  • Advancing Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences;
  • Developing, Maintaining, and Renewing Scientific Research Capacity; and
  • Exemplifying and Promoting the Highest Level of Scientific Integrity, Public Accountability, and Social Responsibility in the Conduct of Science.

Comments will be accepted through March 25, 2020. More information about the NIH-Wide Strategic Plans can be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 18), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

National Institute of Mental Health Requests Information on Draft 2020 Strategic Plan

In December 2019, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public feedback on its draft Strategic Plan for Research. NIMH publishes a strategic plan for research every five years with updates to the Institute’s stated research priorities. The deadline to submit feedback has been extended to January 15, 2020. The draft of the strategic plan and more information can be found on the NIH website.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 7), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

NICHD Releases 2020 Strategic Plan

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released their 2020 strategic plan, a guiding document laying out the institute’s research priorities for the next five years. Earlier this year, COSSA submitted comments on behalf of the social and behavioral science community addressing a draft version of the strategic plan.

The NICHD strategic plan lays out five main research objectives:

  • Understanding the molecular, cellular, and structural basis of development;
  • Promoting gynecologic, andrologic, and reproductive health;
  • Setting the foundation for healthy pregnancies and lifelong wellness;
  • Improving child and adolescent health and the transition to adulthood;
  • Advancing safe and effective therapeutics and devices for pregnant and lactating women, children, and people with disabilities.

The full strategic plan and more information can be found on the NICHD website.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 1), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

COSSA Submits Comments on Draft NICHD Strategic Plan

On January 2, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a request for information (RFI) to accompany the institute’s strategic plan for the next five years, allowing the community to comment on the scientific themes, goals, and opportunities under consideration in the new plan. On February 15, COSSA submitted an official response to the RFI on behalf of the social and behavioral science community. COSSA’s comments included the following recommendations:

  • The Strategic Plan should focus on the “whole person,” to include research on development at the molecular, cellular, social, environmental, behavioral, biobehavioral, and other levels.
  • The Strategic Plan should not overlook the importance of research at all stages of child development, from prenatal/infancy through adolescence, and in normative and non-normative or at-risk environments.
  • The Strategic Plan should strongly emphasize research on social determinants of health.

More information about the NICHD strategic plan can be found on the institute’s website; COSSA’s comments can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 19), Update, Volume 38 (2019)

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