Capitol Hill Briefing Focuses on Behavioral Research at NIH

Under the sponsorship of the Decade of Behavior, the APA, American Psychological Society, and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences cooperated to produce a congressional briefing titled, “Behavior and Health: New Research, New Hope.” Featured scientists included Tim Baker, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who described his research on smoking cessation and relapse; James Gold, PhD., of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center who discussed the basic research and clinical partnership that is leading to new insight about schizophrenia and attention; and Terrance Albrecht, PhD, of the University of South Florida who described her research on patient accrual to cancer clinical trials. 

The briefing was moderated by Jessie Gruman, Director of the Washington-based Center for the Advancement of Health.  Raynard Kington, Director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) told the audience of 65 congressional staff and other interested guests how OBSSR works to coordinate and add value to the behavioral and social sciences research funded by the NIH institutes.

The three featured scientists were introduced by senior staff in the NIH institutes that fund their work.  David Shurtleff, Acting Director of the Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), explained how Baker’s work on why smokers relapse fits within the portfolio of other NIDA-funded research on addiction.  Robert Croyle, Associate Director of Behavioral Research for the National Cancer Institute, described how Albrecht’s work exemplifies the important and expanding field of health communications research.  Bruce Cuthbert, Chief of the Adult Psychopathology & Prevention Research Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explained how NIMH is seeking to nurture research linking basic inquiry to clinical issues.  He explained that Gold’s research may have important implications in the long term for the employability and quality of life of schizophrenia sufferers.