NICHD and SBE Leadership Meet with Scientific Communities

April 30, 2020

While obeying ‘stay at home’ orders, leaders of federal agencies supporting behavioral sciences continue working to advance our fields and to meet, at least virtually, with the scientific community.

On Wednesday, April 22, Dr. Diana Bianchi, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), addressed the Friends of NICHD with an update on recent activities. 

Dr. Bianchi shared highlights from her testimony before the House along with other Institute Directors on March 4th for the National Institutes of Health Budget Request

NICHD is leading a trans-NIH initiative: Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone. IMPROVE examines factors that lead to pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality. The initiative will begin by leveraging existing data to take a look at how biological, behavioral, sociocultural, environmental, and structural factors affect outcomes, including implicit bias, racism, and socioeconomic status. Also of possible interest to our members are the Advancing Clinical Trials for Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal clinical trials, which include non-pharmacological approaches, such as “Eat, Sleep, Console”, and recently funded studies on the predictive modeling of peri-partum depression, studying the electronic health records of 20,000 women to identify high-risk mothers, as well as a study using neuroimaging of women at risk of childbirth-related PTSD.

On that same day, Dr. Arthur “Skip” Lupia, Assistant Director, Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences Directorate, National Science Foundation (NSF), hosted an open meeting for interested parties.

Dr. Lupia provided an update on the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) awards made to SBE scientists. Quick to anticipate the needs of the research community, SBE sent out a Dear Colleague (DC) letter on March 5 inviting proposals. The SBE DC was followed by an NSF DC letter on April 3.  

Deputy Assistant Director, Kellina Craig-Henderson spoke about the Build and Broaden program. This initiative will pursue new approaches to diversifying the pipeline of scientists and efforts to best support the research infrastructure on Minority Serving Institutions. (See DC letter)

Division Directors Daniel Goroff, SBE/SES and Marc Sebrechts, SBE/BCS spoke, respectively, about plans for an NSF Public Access Working Group and an initiative to Strengthen American (Human) Infrastructure, which includes knowledge and neural and social networks.