From the Science Directorate

Coalitions are one of the most effective mechanisms APA Science Policy staff use to leverage a limited set of resources. Our work with other organizations is also an expression of cooperation and collegiality that enhances the role of behavioral sciences within the broader scientific community.

The Buddy System-Forming Partnerships on Capitol Hill

by Geoffrey Mumford

Coalitions are one of the most effective mechanisms APA Science Policy staff use to leverage a limited set of resources. Our work with other organizations is also an expression of cooperation and collegiality that enhances the role of behavioral sciences within the broader scientific community. And so we are pleased to have played a central role as several coalitions have been reinvented, emerged from the ashes, or born anew. While some coalitions are generously financed, fully-staffed, well-oiled machines, others are loose affiliations, cobbled together to solve a particular policy problem or to take advantage of a new political opportunity. Examples of the former include APA-supported Research!America and the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding, which deserve much of the credit for the doubling of the NIH budget, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids-which leads the charge for tobacco policy reform here in DC. Examples of the latter include the Coalition for the Advancement of Health Through Behavioral and Social Science Research (CAHT-BSSR), co-chaired by Science Policy staffer Pat Kobor, and the Coalition to Protect Research (CPR), co-chaired by Science Policy staffer Karen Studwell. These latter examples are also useful illustrations of the proactive vs. reactive position we find ourselves in with respect to advocacy. Pat's coalition was conceived as a means to enhance the profile of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at NIH, while Karen's coalition was constructed as a bulwark against congressional threats to peer reviewed research at that same agency.

Those of you in the substance abuse research community may have noted with despair that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) was at the bottom rung of the funding ladder for fiscal year 2005. That last place finish, along with a growing recognition of emerging drug abuse issues, led several organizations to rally in support of NIDA. Active participation in this coalition gives APA an extra opportunity to put our mouth where psychology's money is: NIDA recently surpassed NIMH as the leading NIH funder of behavioral and social science research. Patterned after other Institute-specific coalitions (e.g., the Friends of NICHD), the Friends of NIDA was formed last summer with generous support from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), Reckitt Benckiser (the company that worked closely with NIDA in the development of buprenorphine for the treatment of opiate dependence) and various individual donors.

Since then, under the capable leadership of CPDD Board Member Dr. Bill Dewey and Charles O'Keeffe, Friends of NIDA has assembled an impressive Board of Advisors including former NIDA Directors, ONDCP Drug Czars, and Congressmen. An Executive Committee, Chaired by Dr. Dewey, has met monthly here at APA headquarters since December and the coalition continues to gain momentum. Seeking to gain name recognition while advancing worthy NIDA-oriented action on Capitol Hill, the Friends of NIDA have drafted several letters that have been sent to every Member of the House urging broader participation in Congressional Caucuses devoted to substance abuse issues including treatment research, methamphetamine, and tobacco. Other letters have advocated for a 6% increase in NIDA's FY 06 appropriation. We have drafted written testimony for inclusion in the Congressional Record for both the House and the Senate. Additionally, the Friends are following up on written funding requests with group visits to key appropriations staff to help them understand the importance of NIDA's research portfolio.

Other educational efforts continue. Charles O'Keeffe has organized a website, Brain Health: The Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with content contributions from several members of the executive committee. A briefing series that began with a standing room only breakfast event in July 2004, was followed last month by a second briefing entitled, "Effectively Breaking the Cycle of Drugs and Crime: Research and Treatment Provide the Answers," which has served to raise awareness of NIDA's Criminal Justice Drug Addiction Treatment Services (CJDATS) research portfolio. The speakers included NIDA Director Nora Volkow, MD, who provided an overview of the NIDA criminal justice treatment research portfolio. Former NFL football player Dexter Manley, Director of Community Outreach, Second Genesis, Inc., shared his journey through addiction, prison, treatment, and recovery. APA Fellow Dwayne Simpson, PhD, Director of the Institute of Behavioral Research, Texas Christian University, detailed treatment research results involving partnerships between scientists, offenders, and the criminal justice system. The briefing drew more than 120 guests, including personal and committee staff from 50 House and Senate offices.

We were especially pleased that Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Co-Chair of the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus with Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN), took time out of his busy schedule to provide concluding remarks on the importance of substance abuse research, research funding, and parity. Rep. Kennedy alluded to a comprehensive parity bill he will be introducing with Congressman Ramstad. Although that bill is still in the discussion phase, readers may be interested in Rep. Ramstad's bill H.R. 1258, the "Time for Recovery and Equal Access to Treatment in America (TREAT America) Act," introduced March 14.

Read the H.R 1258 Press Release [PDF 20K]: It’s Time to Expand Access to Chemical Dependency Treatment.

The Friends of NIDA plan to sponsor four educational briefings a year and future briefings may focus on the Clinical Trials Network, NIDA's developmental research portfolio, or advances in the prevention and treatment of nicotine dependence.

Some of the organizations participating in the Friends of NIDA do so mostly by lending their names while others, like those represented on the Executive Committee, lend active volunteer staff support. Regardless of how organizations lend their support, we can never have too many "friends." So if you know of a group that doesn't currently identify with our coalition, please urge them to consider becoming part of this dynamic team.

Call for Nominations: APA Distinguished Science Awards

The APA Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) invites nominations for its ongoing awards program. Awards are given in three categories:

The Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award is presented to individuals who have made distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to basic research in psychology.

The Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology is given to individuals who have made exceptional theoretical or empirical advances in psychology leading to the understanding or amelioration of important practical problems.

To submit a nomination for the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award for the Applications of Psychology, you should provide a letter of nomination; the nominee's current vita with list of publications; the names and addresses of several scientists who are familiar with the nominee's work; and a list of ten most significant and representative publications, and at least five reprints representative of the nominee’s contribution (reprints, preferably in electronic form).

The Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology is awarded to outstanding young psychologists who are 9 years or less post-PhD (1996 or later). The 2006 Early Career Awards will be given in five areas:

  • animal learning and behavior, comparative

  • psychopathology

  • health

  • developmental

  • cognition/human learning

The categories should be interpreted broadly and are not meant to be exclusive; all areas of psychology are of sufficient merit to be considered for awards.

To submit a nomination for the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology, you should provide a letter of nomination, the nominee's current vita with list of publications, and up to five representative reprints.

To obtain nomination forms and more information, you can go to the Science Directorate web page or you can contact Suzanne Wandersman, Science Directorate, American Psychological Association at the APA Address; by phone, (+1/202) 336-6000; by fax, (+1/202) 336-5953; or by Email.

Call for Nominations: Decade of Behavior Awards

The Decade of Behavior (2000-2010), now at its halfway point, continues to develop an impressive collection of programs and activities that work to highlight the importance of behavioral and social science research to policymakers, scientists and the public. Activities include a public education program that pairs graduate students and academic faculty with secondary school teachers to inform students about exciting research, and briefings on Capitol Hill that involve Congressional staff and distinguished scientists from a variety of disciplines. Likewise, a complete collection of Behavior Matters booklets are being produced to show the public the many ways in which behavioral and social science research has been used to improve our lives. The booklets showcase research related to the Decade themes of safety, health, education, prosperity and democracy. Two Behavior Matters booklets, specific to the fields of psychology and communications, are available and widely distributed. In addition to the numerous programs and activities currently underway, the Decade of Behavior has also developed several annual awards that recognize the contributions of scientists, journalists and political figures. We are currently accepting nominations for three of the Decade's prestigious awards.

The Decade of Behavior Distinguished Lecture Program support for showcased talks at society annual meeting to facilitate cross disciplinary interaction. Nominate a scientist from outside your discipline to speak at your society’s convention; nominate a scientist in your field with something to say to other disciplines. Deadline August 15, 2005. See the Decade of Behavior website for details.

The Decade of Behavior Research Award recognizes high caliber research that has impacted policy or society, has impacted policy decisions, or has enhanced public understanding. Up to 5 awards annually. This year’s theme is Safety. Nominate a scientist who’s work has gone beyond the lab. Deadline August 15, 2005.

The Decade of Behavior Media Award recognizes people newsprint and broadcast journalism who consistently incorporate behavioral and social science research in their non-partisan reporting, with preference to those who report on the Decade themes - safety, education, health, prosperity, democracy. Up to 5 awards annually. Nominate your favorite reporter who tells the world about behavior! Deadline May 13, 2005. You can visit Decade of Behavior for a complete listing of all of our activities and programs and to download nomination forms for the awards listed above. If you have ideas for future programming or are interested in being involved in current Decade of Behavior activities, please contact us via E-mail.

Grants Available for Scientific Conferences, Proposals Invited

The Science Directorate is currently seeking proposals for research conferences in psychology. The purpose of this program is to promote the exchange of important new contributions and approaches in scientific psychology. The next deadline for applications is June 1, 2005.

Grant money ranging from $500 to $20,000 is available for the scientific conference. Proposals will be considered using such formats as "add-a-day" conferences ($500-$3,000 available), "stand alone" conferences ($5,000-$20,000 available), and festschrifts ($5,000-$20,000 available). APA is also open to innovative ways of holding conferences. The conference must be additionally supported by the host institution with direct funds, in-kind support, or a combination of the two. Please note that a detailed budget including institutional support is required for application.

Conference proposals must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • One of the primary organizers must be a member of APA

  • Only academic institutions accredited by a regional body may apply. Independent research institutions must provide evidence of affiliation with an accredited institution. Joint proposals from cooperating institutions are encouraged 

  •  Conferences may be held only in the United States, its possessions, or Canada

  • APA governance groups, APA Divisions and other related entities are not eligible for funding under this program

Conference manuscripts shall be submitted to APA after the conference is held for publication in PsycEXTRA, a companion database to the scholarly PsycINFO. PsycEXTRA is designed to link researchers, academics, clinicians, librarians, consumers, and policy-makers to a variety of information sources covering psychology, behavioral science, and health; PsycEXTRA provides the readership with original documents.

      Seventy-five percent of funds will be distributed to grantees prior to the conferences, and the remaining twenty-five percent will be released following the conference and after the submission of a final financial report detailing conference expenditures equal to or exceeding Grantee's proposed total budget.

      Conference review committee members are: Anita Davis, PhD; Michael Domjan, PhD; Irene Frieze, PhD; Kathleen McDermott, PhD; Kevin Murphy, PhD; and James W. Pennebaker, PhD.

      For more information on review criteria, proposal contents, and budget guidelines, please refer to the APA website, or contact Deborah McCall, Science Program Manager, at (+1/202) 218-3590 or via Email.

Please mail proposals to:
APA Science Directorate
750 First Street, NE
Attn: Scientific Conferences Proposals
Washington, DC 20002-4242
American Psychological Association