Also in this Issue

Friends of NICHD Testify on Capitol Hill; Tenth Annual Science Advocacy Training Workshop;Advocating for NSF’S New Science of Learning Centers; Showcasing Behavioral Research at Capitol Hill Reception; Ten Psychologists on the Hill in Nine Days — This May be a Record; Science PPO Supports NIMH, NIDA, and NIAAA Funding Increases; Results of Planning Meeting

Friends of NICHD Testify on Capitol Hill

Each year, representatives from various organizations and coalitions are allowed to appear in person before the congressional committee that determines the funding allocation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PPO’s Karen Studwell testified on May 2nd on behalf of the Friends of NICHD Coalition (a coalition of scientific and patient organizations that advocates increasing the budget of the NICHD, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. The Friends Coalition supports a 15% increase in NICHD funding for FY 2003, a level commensurate to the overall NIH budget increase proposed by the Administration. The Subcommittee chairman, Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH), presided over the hearing.

The Committee is currently in the process of determining how much money will be apportioned to the various agencies under its jurisdiction for FY 2003, including the NIH. The President has requested $27.3 billion for NIH for FY 2003, a 15% increase that would complete the bipartisan effort to double NIH’s budget over five years that began in FY 1998. However, the President has only proposed a nine percent increase for NICHD for FY 2003. The Friends request would increase NICHD’s budget to $1.284 billion.

The Friends Coalition also sponsored a Capitol Hill Day on May 29th, where representatives of various coalition member organizations met with congressional staff to highlight the advances made by NICHD scientists, not only in areas of behavioral research, but also in vaccine research, infertility, medical rehabilitation, and genetics. Also highlighted were NICHD’s planning and development activities for several large studies, including the National Children’s Study. This proposed longitudinal study of pre- and post-natal growth and development seeks to uncover the contributions of the conditions and milieu in which children grow and develop. To fully fund the study, NICHD will require substantial congressional support in the coming years. More information can be found at the National Children’s Study website.

Tenth Annual Science Advocacy Training Workshop

Each year, the science policy staff in PPO invites expert psychologists to come to Washington to participate in an advocacy training workshop. Attendees discuss and formulate a position on a particular policy issue that may impact psychological research or psychological scientists. They receive advocacy and media training and typically visit members of Congress or the Administration to advocate on behalf of psychological science. This year, participants were invited to discuss the potential local impact of certain provisions of the recently enacted No Child Left Behind Act, as well as other regulatory and community changes on school-based research.

The workshop focused on developing strategies for overcoming barriers to high quality school-based research, because the social, legal and regulatory landscapes for conducting research in U.S. schools are changing.Social changes include the increasing number of active stakeholders in schools—including parents and community members-- who want the right to inspect the content of non-curricular surveys and have in many communities raised issues about documentation of informed consent. Legal changes include the No Child Left Behind Act (PL 107-110), which requires each local educational agency (LEA) to develop a policy to protect student privacy when surveys are given in schools on such subjects as violence, substance abuse and health behaviors. The same law requires each state to implement annual accountability testing for Grades 3 through 8 beginning in 2006. Changes in the regulatory landscape include added scrutiny by institutional review boards (IRBs) of social science research conducted with children, which has in many cases led to increased barriers to and costs of some survey research. The federal regulations to protect human participants in research are facing increased legislative and administrative review. In some states (e.g., New Jersey), state law now addresses such issues as documentation of informed consent.

Workshop participants discussed these issues with representatives of the American Educational Research Association, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Human Research Protections, National School Boards Association, and Institute for Educational Leadership. Participants discussed how researchers are handling requirements for prior, written parental permission versus ‘passive’ parental permission, confidentiality, and privacy regulations. The group also discussed the important issue of what schools should receive in exchange for the disruption that may accompany non-curricular research. The speakers encouraged scientists who conduct risk behavior research to collaborate with educational researchers who may already have good, working relationships with schools and school districts. They were also encouraged to help educate their IRBs about social science research. Merry Bullock and Kurt Salzinger from the APA Science Directorate encouraged the group to share success stories about interactions with Institutional Review Boards to help with the Directorate's project on best practices in researcher-IRB relations.

Participants are collaborating to produce a sample school board policy that would protect the privacy of students while permitting access for school-based research when appropriate. They will also work to produce a "Best Practices in School-based Research" document which may take the form of a journal article or special issue. Representatives from the National Institutes of Health indicated an interest in holding a conference to explore more fully the difficulties faced by school-based researchers who survey students about illegal and other sensitive behaviors. Science-PPO staff will follow up with the workshop participants to produce these products.

Thirteen scientists whose research has been conducted in elementary and secondary schools participated:

  • Patricia Alexander, University of Maryland;

  • Gwyn Boodoo, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ;

  • Ronald Brown, Medical University of South Carolina;

  • Eric Bruns, University of Maryland School of Medicine;

  • Jenifer Cartland, Children’s Memorial Medical Center, Chicago, IL;

  • Kevin Chen, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey;

  • Susanne A. Denham, George Mason University;

  • Constance Flanagan, Pennsylvania State University;

  • Linn Goldberg, Oregon Health Science University;

  • Deborah Land, Johns Hopkins University;

  • John Schulenberg, University of Michigan;

  • Edward Seidman, New York University;

  • Thomas Wills, Yeshiva University-Albert Einstein School of Medicine.

Advocating for NSF’S New Science of Learning Centers

Following up Nora Newcombe’s successful April testimony in support of National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, PPO invited an NSF-funded adult learning and memory researcher, Daniel Willingham, to further advocate for the new Science of Learning Centers on May 14th. Willingham, PPO’s Heather Kelly, and Executive Director of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, Howard Silver, met with the head Republican staffer on the House Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss congressional support for the NSF program, first detailed in the President’s FY03 budget.

Showcasing Behavioral Research at Capitol Hill Reception

On May 15th, Dr. Roxane Silver of the University of California, Irvine, represented APA at the annual Capitol Hill Exhibition and reception highlighting NSF research. Silver’s national, longitudinal study of coping in the wake of September 11th was a powerful draw for members of Congress that evening, including Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC), Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), and Rep. David Price (D-NC). PPO staff also arranged meetings for Silver with her California delegation, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA), who chairs the House Republican Policy Committee, as well as staff from the Administration’s Office of Homeland Security. In all of these meetings, Silver discussed real-world implications and applications of her research while highlighting the importance of continuing to support NSF’s basic research program.

Ten Psychologists on the Hill in Nine Days — This May be a Record

In a remarkable nine-day period in mid-May, 2002, eight psychologists were invited to present expert testimony to six congressional committees and two other psychologists participated in a congressional science exhibit. We don’t know whether this is a record-- but the confluence of independent invitations provides a striking example of policymakers’ recognition that scientific psychologists have important and relevant information to share.

Consider the schedule:

  • May 15: Mark Goldman of the University of South Florida, co-chair of the Task Force on College Drinking of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, presented data on prevention of college drinking at a Senate Governmental Affairs hearing.

  • May 15: Roxane Cohen Silver of the University of California, Irvine was invited by APA to represent us at the annual congressional ‘science exhibition’ sponsored by the Coalition for National Science Funding. Developmental psychologist Steve Ceci was invited by Cornell University to showcase his National Science Foundation-funded research at the same event.

  • May 16: Health psychologists David Abrams of Brown University School of Medicine and Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh were asked by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to present testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Psychologist Peter Kaufmann of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute testified on behalf of NIH.

  • May 21: Kelly Brownell of Yale University testified at a hearing on nutrition and physical activity called by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.May 22: Psychologist Alan Leshner, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee about the need to double the budget of the National Science Foundation.

  • May 22: Substance abuse researcher Charles Schuster of Wayne State University provided testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the disparity in sentencing between persons convicted of crack cocaine and powder cocaine sale or use.

  • May 23: Health psychologist Jessie Gruman, Ph.D., President of the Washington, DC-based Center for the Advancement of Health, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Government Oversight on ways in which the Medicare program can take a larger role in the translation of behavioral research to practice.

In some of these cases, PPO staff helped brief psychologists who were asked to testify, and offered help with their statements. In other cases, PPO staff had suggested names of prominent scientists as witnesses, and the congressional committees acted on some of the suggestions. And in several cases, we, in PPO, weren’t involved at all. While it’s good when one or more organizations can make opportunities for psychologists to testify, it’s even better when policymakers already know about the contributions of psychology or specific psychologists—when the data speak for themselves and no selling is necessary.

Science PPO Supports NIMH, NIDA, and NIAAA Funding Increases

APA is active in supporting funding increases for a variety of mental health research and mental health services programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). On May 17th, PPO’s Karen Studwell participated in the Mental Health Liaison Group’s advocacy visits to educate congressional staff about the need for increased funding for mental health research, as well as mental health services programs. The Mental Health Liaison Group is a coalition of national organizations representing consumer, family members, advocates, professionals and providers. Each year, the MHLG Budget and Appropriations Subcommittee produces a comprehensive budget document recommending specific funding levels for the mental health services and research programs within DHHS. The MHLG appropriations document can be found on the Mental Health Liaison Group website.

Results of Planning Meeting

At the May 20 planning meeting, several preliminary decisions were made regarding the conference format, content, timing (October 28-29) and logistical considerations. The meeting will be structured to maximize active participation by attendees representing federal agencies, academia and industry. Commissioned background papers will be disseminated before the meeting with an October 1 target date for distribution.

The background papers will likely include the following topics:

  1. an introduction to the meeting and needs for abuse liability guidance;

  2. legislative history of the development and application of past guidance; and

  3. summary and analysis of existing guidelines and reviews;

  4. description of the types of drugs being addressed with emphasis on challenges posed by new entities, delivery systems and combinations;

  5. methodological issues relevant to more than one drug class;

  6. how clinical trials might more effectively provide data relevant to abuse liability assessment and abuse mitigation and;

  7. post-marketing activities options to balance control of abuse with medical need.

Appropriate experts will be recruited to develop each background paper. In most cases, it was concluded that several persons might be involved in developing the papers to help ensure adequate coverage of the diverse and cross cutting topics.

The presentations at the conference will focus on the recommendations and points for discussion from each individual paper to foster discussion that may enable the expert core advisory group (likely composed of previous DAAC Chairs and other agreed-upon experts) to produce a credible and practical framework document. Beyond the expert core advisors, liaisons from the federal agencies will be available to provide information and consultation to the extent allowable in their role as federal employees. In addition, a representative from the World Health Organization will provide an international perspective.

As this issue of SPIN went to press, an abuse liability workshop was being held at the annual CPDD meeting in Quebec City to provide the basis for final resolution of papers, authors, and format for the October conference.