Also in this Issue
APA Informs Incoming Administration of Juvenile Justice Priorities
The American Bar Association invited APA to develop a written statement and deliver brief remarks at a November 6 event entitled "A Call to Action for Juvenile Justice." This was an opportunity for leading juvenile justice organizations to express their priorities and provide background reports and information to representatives from the incoming Administration. APA's statement focused on: ensuring that young people who come into contact with the juvenile justice system receive mental health and substance use screening; greater dissemination of evidence-based practices; incorporating strong evaluation components into juvenile justice grant programs; coordination between federal entities involved in criminal justice and mental health and substance use service delivery; and the needs of young female offenders, youth with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Applications Due in January for APA Executive Branch Science Fellowship
Have you always wanted to get some experience working at the intersection of science and government? Are you looking to spend a sabbatical exploring the world of psychology and public policy? Come live for a year in Washington, DC as the 2009-2010 APA Executive Branch Science Fellow, sponsored by APA's Science Directorate. This year's Fellow is placed at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she is putting her cognitive and developmental science expertise to work in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. Previous Fellows have been assigned to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, various institutes at NIH, the Department of Defense, and NSF. Applications for the 2009-2010 Fellowship may be found on our website and applications are due January 9, 2009. For more information, please contact Dr. Heather Kelly of the Science Government Relations Office via email.
NIH Holds Inaugural Toolbox Conference
Last month, NIH held its inaugural conference on the Toolbox initiative, an integrated battery of measures designed to assess neural and behavioral health across the lifespan. The project was unveiled in 2006 and is supported by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. The battery, still under development, will be comprised of instruments that assess functioning in four domains - cognition, sensation, emotion, and motor.
When the Toolbox is complete in 2011, clinicians and researchers will be able to select valid and reliable instruments from multiple neural and behavioral health indicators that could provide valuable information to their research or clinical practice. The goal of the project, says Toolbox Principal Investigator, Dr. Richard Gershon, is to form a "common currency across diverse study designs and populations" that would "maximize the yield from large, expensive studies." The Toolbox will incorporate some instruments that are already available, as well as develop some new ones. Gershon also indicated that additional instruments would be continually added into a tool "shed" so that the project is always evolving.
Some conference attendees worried that NIH-supported investigators might view the Toolbox as potentially limiting. They urged Toolbox committee members to clarify to the public that investigators would not have to defend their use of instruments that are not part of the Toolbox.
To read more about the Toolbox, please visit the NIH Toolbox website.
Friends of NIDA Prepares Transition Document
Over the past two months, the Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) developed a transition document to assist the Presidential transition team, entitled "Addiction Research: A National Imperative." The Friends of NIDA worked closely with its Board of Scientific Advisors to ensure that the document would be delivered to the transition team at an appropriate level of review from credible sources. Designed as a broad-brush primer, the document outlined recommendations for the next administration and provided background information on the etiology of addiction as a brain disease, as well as findings from prevention and treatment research that should inform future research investments.
SGRO Staff Presents Research Agenda to APA Task Force on Refugee Families
Government Relations staff from all four APA Directorates were invited to share relevant projects and priorities with the APA Task Force on Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States. SGRO staff highlighted our federal advocacy efforts to support and increase funding for research in this area at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), particularly within programs at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The Task Force heard from APA staff at the beginning of their weekend meeting, and members were very interested in continuing to collaborate with SGRO's Karen Studwell and Elizabeth Hoffman as the Task Force provides recommendations on issues ranging from research funding and dissemination to outreach with schools, families, service-providers and communities.
Global Health Research Highlighted at Friends of NICHD Meeting
At the Fall meeting of the Friends of NICHD coalition, Dr. Yvonne Maddox, the institute's Deputy Director, explained how NICHD's global health research portfolio supports the institute's mission to improve the health of women and children. While the institute spent only $37 million of its $1.2 billion budget on projects in sub-Saharan Africa, NICHD has been able to leverage those resources by partnering with other NIH institutes as well as with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The institute supports biomedical and behavioral research into the leading causes of death in developing countries, including: acute respiratory infections, measles, diarrhea, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Other priorities for NICHD's global health initiative include health disparities, health-promoting behaviors, newborn screening and prevention of birth defects and intellectual disabilities.
DHS Seeks Scholars and Fellows Applications for January Deadline
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted its application for the 2009 Scholars and Fellows competition, with a deadline of January 6, 2009 for the on-line application and January 13, 2009 for supporting on-line materials. The program has morphed slightly over the past year and DHS no longer requests the applicant's academic discipline. Instead, applicants are now asked to associate with one of 16 DHS research areas, several of which are within the province of psychology. The award data from 2008 should encourage psychology students: collapsed across three research areas, half of the awards were in Risk and Decision Sciences; Human Factors Aspects of Technology; and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Visit the ORAU website for the application and program guidelines.