Also in this Issue

Sparking Congressional Interest in NICHD Research; APA Psychologists Testify at Tobacco Control Hearing; AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy Honored by Friends of AHRQ; Capitol Hill Reception Highlighting NSF-Funded Researchers Includes Two Psychologists; APA Participates in Annual DoD Research Lobby Events on Capitol Hill; Research Appropriations Process Begins-Funding Increases Will Likely be Lower for Fiscal Year 2004; Senate Encourages Behavioral Research at NIH

Sparking Congressional Interest in NICHD Research

On June 2, the Friends of NICHD, co-chaired by APA's Karen Studwell, co-sponsored a congressional briefing with the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding featuring Duane Alexander, MD, Director of NICHD. The purpose of the briefing was to educate policymakers and their staff about the congressionally authorized National Children's Study (NCS) and the impact it will have on NICHD's budget. The proposed study plans to enroll a cohort of 100,000 children to determine the physical, social, and behavioral environmental influences on child health and development. Dr. Alexander explained that in order for the study to go forward, NICHD would require significantly more resources in FY2005 and beyond to fund the study and also preserve its other research programs. Given the current budget outlook for FY 2004 and FY2005 funding, it is unclear whether there will be adequate funds to begin enrollment.

APA Psychologists Testify at Tobacco Control Hearing

On June 3rd, three APA psychologists testified before the House Government Reform Committee on "Reduced Exposure/Reduced Risk Tobacco Products: An Examination of the Potential Public Health Impact and Regulatory Challenges". Jack Henningfield, Dorothy Hatsukami and Lynn Kozlowski were all pitted against tobacco industry leaders, Michael Szymanczyck (Phillip Morris) and Richard Verheij (U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.) and all were asked to address four key questions:

  • A number of non-tobacco products have entered the market in recent years designed to provide sources of nicotine other than cigarettes. These include water, gum, nasal sprays and patches. In your opinion, would products such as these be feasible for long-term use for those unable to quit smoking altogether?

  • In what ways does the current regulatory structure hinder the development of these nicotine products?

  • Should the federal government be encouraging greater use of these nicotine products? How could it do so?

  • In your opinion, do reduced risk tobacco products have a place in the country's tobacco control efforts, or should efforts be restricted to medicinal nicotine or non-tobacco products?

Science Policy staff are always pleased to serve as a sounding board and otherwise help psychologists prepare testimony for Congressional hearings. We are pleased to note that Drs. Hatukami and Kozlowski are both alumni of an invitational Science Advocacy Training Workshop held in the fall of 1997 which APA devoted to tobacco control policy issues.

AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy Honored by Friends of AHRQ

On June 4, APA co-sponsored a reception honoring the appointment of Carolyn Clancy, M.D. as Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). As a member of the Friends of AHRQ, APA has been supportive of dramatic funding increases for the agency, which among other initiatives has taken leadership on research to reduce human error and enhance patient safety in healthcare settings. Immediately preceding the reception, Dr. Clancy participated in a Congressional briefing to review the AHRQ patient safety research portfolio. During that briefing, Lucian Leape, M.D., the physician most often associated with leading the patient safety movement, lauded the role of human factors research and cognitive psychology in changing the way healthcare professionals viewed medical error and specifically cited APA Fellow David Woods' seminal contributions to the field.

More information on AHRQ's medical error research portfolio is available from the AHRQ website.

Capitol Hill Reception Highlighting NSF-Funded Researchers Includes Two Psychologists

On June 17, both APA and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences (of which APA is a member) showcased psychological research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) at a Capitol Hill Exhibit and Reception. The event, sponsored by the Coalition for National Science Funding, drew over 270 attendees, including eight Members of Congress: Reps. Frank Ballance, Jr. (D-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA), Howard Coble (R-NC), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), and David Price (D-NC). Also in attendance were Dr. Rita Colwell, Director of NSF, and Dr. Kathie Olsen, Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. APA's exhibitor, Dr. Linda A. Jackson from Michigan State University, presented results from her "HomeNetToo" project, which examines the effects of home Internet use on low-income families. The Federation highlighted research by APA member Dr. Barbara Landau (the Johns Hopkins University) and her colleague Dr. Jim Hoffman (University of Delaware).

APA Participates in Annual DoD Research Lobby Events on Capitol Hill

Each year the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) holds a Lobby Day, during which the science community heads to Capitol Hill to advocate for the research programs sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD). This year the blitz lobbying events and visits were spread over two days in early June. Over 170 members of Congress, their staff, DoD personnel and scientists enjoyed an evening reception, and APA member Gerald Krueger joined Science Policy staffer Heather Kelly at a breakfast featuring Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Roberts spoke forcefully about the need for and his commitment to a significant investment in science and technology (including psychological research) within DoD. CNSR member organizations, which include universities and science associations, made over 30 visits to congressional offices, and continue to work with staff in those offices as the defense appropriations bills start to move through committees in the House and Senate.

Research Appropriations Process Begins-Funding Increases Will Likely be Lower for Fiscal Year 2004

The National Institutes of Health would receive an approximate 2.2% increase-- $27.66 billion-- under the Fiscal Year 2004 spending bill marked June 19 by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS). The full House Appropriations Committee approved the bill on June 25 with few changes.

The Labor/HHS Subcommittee was allocated $138.04 billion for discretionary spending, an increase of $3.68 billion, or less than 3%, over FY 2003 levels. The House Labor/HHS bill provides NIH a $682 million increase (2.2%) from the agency's FY 2003 appropriation of $26.9 billion. However, because of one-time costs in FY 2003, the House Appropriations Committee leadership said that the actual increase is closer to 7% than 2.2%. It was unclear at press time how those additional funds would flow to the budgets of NIH institutes. NIH spokespeople have said that a 2.2% increase would allow an increase of just 0.2% in the number of new and competing research grants.

The Senate Subcommittee on Labor/HHS, chaired by long-time NIH supporter Arlen Specter (R-PA), also marked its version of the legislation on June 25. The Senate bill includes a $1 billion increase for NIH, a 3.3 percent increase. The full Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), approved the legislation on June 26. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) stated that members would seek to add more funds to the bill through amendments once the bill is brought to the Senate floor, which is expected in mid-July.

APA and its coalition partners have been lobbying this spring for a 10% increase in NIH funding for FY 04, arguing that after five years of 15% increases, it would be difficult for NIH to transition smoothly with much less. In the past, the Labor/HHS bill has been the last or one of the last of the thirteen appropriations bills to be enacted, but this year it looks as if it will be one of the first.

Senate Encourages Behavioral Research at NIH

Each year both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees issue reports that accompany their versions of the coming year's spending bills. The Public Policy Office works with those committees to suggest language, or topics for language, on behavioral research at various NIH institutes. Although the suggestions in the reports do not carry the force of law, they are closely studied by administrators at NIH and demonstrate the Committee's interest in and support of various areas of research. For that reason we read through the massive report as soon as we get it to see which of our suggestions made it into print.

Here is a sample of some APA-inspired language from Senate report 108-81, accompanying the bill to fund the US Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year 2004.