Also in this Issue
APA President Zimbardo Headliner for APA Meeting with National Security Council Staff
In the wake of September 11th, the Science Directorate and Science PPO have been proactive in developing collaborative relationships with federal agencies and panels tasked with addressing terrorism issues, to ensure the involvement of behavioral scientists with expertise in these areas. On June 11th, APA President Philip G. Zimbardo joined Senior Scientist Susan Brandon and PPO’s Heather Kelly for an initial meeting with two senior staff members in the National Security Council’s (NSC’s) Office of Combating Terrorism. NSC staff were well-versed in and very supportive of behavioral research and its relevance to national security issues, and asked APA to: provide lists of researchers and “one-pagers” on work germane to counter-terrorism efforts; facilitate interactions between NSC staff, U.S. psychologists and those in other countries with specific expertise; and collaborate on a small conference focusing on communications issues related to terrorism.
In Defense of Defense Research
On June 13th, PPO tapped George Mason University psychology professor Stephen Zaccaro to present APA’s testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Zaccaro, a psychological researcher who studies leadership, leader development and team effectiveness in military contexts, made a strong case for behavioral science funding within the Department of Defense. In particular, Zaccaro emphasized the need to provide a stable funding stream for behavioral research sponsored by the Army Research Institute, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), Chairman of the Subcommittee, promised to follow up on APA concerns about Navy and Air Force cuts in applied, behavioral research programs.
APA Co-Sponsors Briefing on Reactions to Terrorism
On June 18th, APA partnered with the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), the American Political Science Association and the American Sociological Association in a Congressional briefing entitled "Reactions to Terrorism: Attitudes and Anxieties." The event was organized in support of the Decade of Behavior initiative to address how our world has changed since the attacks on 9/11 and the anthrax incidents that followed so closely thereafter. Importantly, the briefing highlighted the value of funding mechanisms that allow scientists to take advantage of unique research opportunities on short notice. Len Lecci, PhD, and Dale Cohen, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, represented APA and talked about their research on determinants of perceived health risks (as related to anthrax) funded by NSF's Small Grants for Exploratory Research (SGER) program. With well over a hundred attendees, the event was standing room only leading a House Science Committee staffer to declare it "record attendance." The Powerpoint presentations are available on the Decade of Behavior website.
Senate Holds Hearings on Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) Reauthorization
On June 25th, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, held a hearing on the reauthorization of OERI. Russ Whitehurst, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Educational Research and Improvement, testified that OERI is in need of increased funds for research and a renewed focus on research if the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act are to be met. As we have previously reported, the House passed the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 in April. With few legislative days left for this session of Congress, stakeholders are becoming concerned that OERI will be passed over this year. APA will continue to advocate for OERI reauthorization this year. Whitehurst’s full testimony can be found on the OERI website.
APA Holds Briefing on Early Head Start Research Findings
Psychologists have played a key role in the Head Start program since its inception. On June 28th, APA co-sponsored a congressional briefing on the Early Head Start Impact Study featuring Windy Hill, Associate Commissioner of the Head Start Bureau. The briefing highlighted current research on Early Head Start, which serves low-income children under three. The findings revealed a consistent pattern of small but significant positive effects on variables ranging from positive parental discipline strategies to children’s receptive vocabulary, together attesting to the program’s value. The other speakers were Drs. Rachel Chazan Cohen, Helen Raikes, John M. Love, Ellen Kisker, and Tammy Mann, with APA’s Daniel Dodgen, PhD, serving as moderator. The event was co-sponsored by the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Senate Spending Bill Includes APA-Recommended Report Language for NIH
The U.S. Senate recently reported its version of the federal spending bill that funds the National Institutes of Health for Fiscal Year 2003 (which begins on 10/1/02). Members of the APA Science Policy staff spend a lot of time each spring talking to congressional staff, encouraging the placement of language in the report that accompanies the spending bill. "Report language" highlights certain programs of funding and encourages the institutes to continue or focus on certain lines of research. While this language does not have the force of law, and cannot therefore be considered "directive," it serves as a congressional vote of confidence or interest-so the NIH institutes and centers pay close attention to it. We are especially thankful to Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) for their interest and assistance.