Also in this Issue
APA Science Policy Gets a Preview of the New House Science Committee Agenda
Geoff Mumford of the Science Policy Office moved quickly after the congressional elections to set up a meeting with key Democratic staffers on the House Science Committee. In the meeting, staff noted that although it is clear that Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) will take over the chairmanship of the full committee, it will take months to finalize a (possibly new) subcommittee structure and assignments of subcommittee membership and chairmanships (and even election of the Ranking Republican member of the full committee). Potential priorities within the new Democratic agenda on the committee may include moving competitiveness and innovation legislation, addressing climate change issues and working on oversight of science integrity cases. Committee staff was very aware of the importance of behavioral science in addressing both scientific and policy challenges, and they were eager to continue and increase collaboration with APA's Science Policy Office.
Board of Scientific Affairs Policy Retreat
On November 2, one day prior to the official start of APA's Consolidated Board and Committee Meetings, members of the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) gathered for a day-long retreat focused on public policy issues relevant to psychological science. The first half of the retreat was designed to foster interaction between BSA members and psychologists working outside of academia to promote awareness of ways in which behavioral and social science can be applied in nontraditional settings. Representatives of these sectors attended to discuss this issue, as well as to touch on research funding priorities and other topics of concern to BSA.
The morning began with an update and briefing from the Science Policy Office. The presentation covered the Office's four goals, which include enhancing psychological research funding; strengthening the scientific infrastructure; sharing psychological research with policymakers; and increasing the ability of APA scientists to advocate for their discipline. APA's Science Policy Fellow, Kathleen Pierce, whose executive branch placement is with the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity, additionally provided the board members with on overview of her Fellowship experience thus far.
The outside guests had the floor for the remainder of the day, starting with Chris Hartel (Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences, National Academy of Sciences), followed by Susan Brandon (former Assistant Director of Behavioral, Social and Educational Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), and Michelle Keeney (Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security).
The second half of the retreat focused on behavioral and social science funding at the National Institutes of Health, which is the largest source of support for scientific psychologists. David Abrams and Deborah Olster (Office on Behavioral and Social Science Research, NIH) discussed a range of issues of concern to psychology, including the new Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI) and how NIH is coping with flat funding.
Friends of NIDA Delivers Treatment Guide to Capitol Hill
On October 30, Science Policy staff arranged for delivery of a hardcopy of the new NIDA publication "Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations: A Research Based Guide" to every member of Congress. As detailed in a cover letter accompanying the guide, the effort, on behalf of the Friends of NIDA coalition was designed to raise awareness of this important NIDA initiative - blending public safety and public health approaches in treating offender populations. In January, Friends of NIDA will follow-up by arranging focused meetings with House and Senate Judiciary Committee staff to provide additional information about this research portfolio as the new congressional majorities begin to consider legislative agendas for 2007.
Animal Terrorism Law to be Signed by President
There is great news to report! On November 13, 2006, the House of Representatives passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, after the Senate passed the bill in September. This law will allow federal authorities to help prevent, better investigate, and prosecute individuals who seek to halt behavioral and biomedical research through acts of intimidation, harassment, and violence. The bill is expected to be signed by the President. Thanks to those of you who responded to APA's action alert about this issue.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) increases criminal penalties for intentional damage or interference with the operations of an animal enterprise, including death threats or injuries against individuals and their family members who are involved with animal enterprises. The bill also clarifies that expressive conduct (including picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected by the First Amendment is not prohibited by this Act.
Further information about S. 3880 can be found on the Library of Congress Thomas website.
Information about the debate in the House can be found by searching the Congressional Record website.
APA Invites Applications for 2007-2008 Science Policy Fellowship
APA's Science Directorate invites psychologists to apply in January for its annual Science Policy Fellowship program. One Fellow will spend the 2007-2008 academic year working as a special assistant in an executive branch science agency, with specific, individualized placement based on the Fellow's expertise and interests. Past APA Science Policy Fellows have worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Science Foundation.
The overall goals of the program are to provide psychological scientists an invaluable learning experience in research administration and policy, while contributing to more effective use of psychological knowledge within federal science mission agencies. The prospective Fellow must demonstrate competence in scientific psychology and show strong interest in applying psychological knowledge to national science policy issues. Complete application instructions and materials are available on the Science Public Policy Office website and Dr. Heather Kelly may be contacted at (202) 336-5932 or by email for more information about the Fellowship.
NSF Meetings Focus on Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
Science Directorate Executive Director Steve Breckler and Science Policy's Heather Kelly recently met with the new Division Directors within the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). Psychologist Sandra Schneider is new at the helm of SBE's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, which includes programs in Social Psychology, Cognitive Neurosciences, Developmental and Learning Sciences, and Perception, Action and Cognition. Sociologist Ed Hackett directs the Division of Social and Economic Sciences, which houses the Decision, Risk and Management Sciences program. Schneider and Hackett both are former NSF program officers themselves, and in returning to the Foundation on loan from academia, they bring a keen awareness of challenges facing behavioral and social scientists. In particular, they expressed an interest in engaging APA's Science Directorate in one of our priorities - dealing with IRB issues.
The following day, the SBE Advisory Committee (an oversight group of outside scientists) met in Washington with SBE staff and representatives from outside scientific organizations, including APA's Science Policy Office. On the agenda were updates on SBE initiatives, including the Human and Social Dynamics Research Priority Area, the new Science of Science and Innovation Policy program, Cyberinfrastructure activities, and discussion of a recently completed Committee of Visitors Report on the BCS Division. Overall, the Committee of Visitors found the quality of program officers, review panels and research portfolios within BCS to be excellent. Areas targeted for suggested improvement included recruitment of more senior panelists, revision of the permanent-to-rotator program officer ratio, increasing diversity in applications and awards, and addressing issues within review mechanisms.
Brad Olson Chats Up the Drug Czar
In the September issue of SPIN, we reported on Division 50's effort to draft comments on the National Drug Control Strategy. The comments were well-received, and the White House followed up with an invitation for APA, along with several other constituent groups, to participate in a meeting with the ONDCP Director and his senior staff.
Brad Olson, PhD, Division 50's liaison to the Science Policy Office, agreed to come to DC and represent APA at the meeting. In addition to discussing the overall strategy, participants had the opportunity to talk about the Synthetic Drug Control Strategy, as well. Dr. Olson took several opportunities to suggest that the strategy was heavily focused on supply and would benefit from additional attention to demand reduction.
When Director Walters asked for feedback on the overall strategy, Dr. Olson discussed the need to increase the translation of research into evidence based practice - a point that clearly resonated with the Director. Additionally, Director Walters brought up the issue of cost effectiveness of treatment. Dr. Olson noted that large numbers of psychologists are involved in research that includes economic analyses of treatment - data that deserves greater attention in public debates and that could ultimately enhance public support for treatment research.
It was an eclectic gathering, which, in addition to APA, included representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Rand, and the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).
Congratulations Karen Studwell! Welcome Elizabeth Hoffman!
Karen Studwell of the Science Policy Office delivered a healthy 7 lb 11 oz boy on November 7, 2006. She will be on maternity leave giving her full attention to David Elliott Hurd, coincidentally an Election Day baby, until the beginning of 2007. Karen will then be working from home part-time before returning to APA full-time in early spring. We miss Karen, but are ecstatic about her new bundle of joy!In other SPO personnel news...there will be a new addition to our staff with the start of 2007. Elizabeth Hoffman, PhD, will be joining the policy office after a year-long stint on Capitol Hill as an APA Congressional Fellow on the staff of the Subcommittee on Education and Early Childhood Development of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), ranking member. Dr. Hoffman received her doctoral degree in cognitive neuropsychology from George Washington University. We look forward to working with her in the New Year!