NIH Continues to Deliberate Over Organization of Substance Use Research

Last spring, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held the first meeting of its Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), which was established to provide greater oversight of organizational structure and resource allocation across the twenty seven Institutes and Centers within NIH.
Last spring, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held the first meeting of its Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), which was established to provide greater oversight of organizational structure and resource allocation across the twenty seven Institutes and Centers within NIH. At that meeting, the Board decided to take up three tasks and assigned them to individual Working Groups but, so far, only one of the groups is deliberating in public. The Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction (SUAA) Working Group will determine what organizational change, if any, could further optimize substance use, abuse, and addiction research at NIH.  One scenario the SUAA Working Group has been discussing is the possible merger of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). On August 26th, Dr. Steve Breckler, APA's Executive Director for Science, sent a letter to the SMRB Chair requesting that, as the Working Groups move forward, they consider several issues critical to those deliberations including, the distribution of tobacco/nicotine research across NIH; the integration of research that deals with comorbid mental health conditions; and where to house research on other compulsive use disorders. On September 1st, Dr. Ken Warren, Acting Director of NIAAA, and Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of NIDA, provided presentations on the NIAAA and NIDA portfolios in a closed session with the SUAA.  The first public forum of the SUAA Working Group was held September 23rd and psychological science was well-represented with presentations by several APA members including Dr. Mark Goldman, Dr. Linda Porrino, Dr. Stephanie O’Malley and Dr. Thomas Greenfield.  A second meeting of the SUAA Working group was held on October 14th with presentations representing views from the judicial system, academia, and industry and is available for viewing in this video cast archive.  The next full SMRB meeting is scheduled for November 12-13.