NIH – FABBS Advocacy and Recent Awards

November 6, 2019

FABBS responded to NINDS Request for Comment on their strategic plan. Colleagues from National Academy for Neuropsychology (NAN), helped to inform FABBS’ comments. The submission encouraged NINDS to increase the integration of basic neuroscience/neurological research with neuropsychological research, including specific examples, as they move forward with their strategic plan. Another FABBS member society, Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society, also submitted comments. FABBS will monitor the NINDS strategic planning process.

On October 30th, FABBS members met with Dr. Alison Cernich, the Deputy Director of NICHD and the point person on implementation of their strategic plan. Dr. Cernich is a neuropsychologist and will be speaking at the NAN annual conference later this month. FABBS members appreciated the opportunity to provide updates on NICHD-funded research and demonstrate how behavioral science supports the mission of NICHD. Branches are currently revising their priorities to align with the strategic plan. FABBS encouraged Dr. Cernich and NICHD to include behavioral and cognitive science in these priorities.

NIH announced awards for early autism screening. This joint project of NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, and NIDCD seeks to develop screening tools for early-emerging signs of autism. The seven research projects will measure a range of behaviors in the first year of life including eye-tracking, attention, orienting, affect, and neurobehavior. The goal of this research is to enable early detection since effective intervention has been proven to improve behavioral and cognitive outcomes for young children with autism spectrum disorder.

Earlier this fall, NIH announced that $945 million was awarded in FY 2019 through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (HEAL). The multi-institute initiative draws on expertise from many disciplines to address substance use disorder by “accelerating development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and providing more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids.”