NIMH Council Meeting and FABBS Helps Launch the Friends of NIMH

September 24, 2020

The NIMH Council met on September 15, covering a wide range of important topics. In his Director’s report, Dr. Gordon provided an update on numerous invitations from Congressional offices, including participation in a briefing for the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the American Brain Coalition (ABC). FABBS is a member of ABC and our executive director serves on the advocacy committee.

Dr. Gordon shared his strong support for NIMH-funded researchers’ ethical use of animal models and criticized the menacing nature and personal attacks by animal rights activists. Dr. Gordon also described the group’s activities as being discriminatory against people with mental illness, pointing out that PETA has not launched the same sorts of attacks against researchers studying spinal injury, for example. Some FABBS scientists rely on animal models to conduct their research and have experienced and witnessed aggressive confrontations. FABBS thanks Dr. Gordon for his leadership addressing these lamentable occurrences. 

The Council tackled important conversations about how to balance highly-rated proposals from extremely well-funded PIs with a desire to provide opportunities for younger scholars to receive federal funding and also appropriate incentives to mentors for under-represented scholars.

Dr. John Ngai, Director of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative provided an update on BRAIN 2.0, including new tools for how neural circuits underlie complex behavior. Dr. Ngai explained that the Initiative is adding emphasis on behavioral paradigms and building a runway to 2023 when they expect additional funding.

FABBS, in collaboration with American Psychological Association (APA), is pleased to announce the launch of a new coalition, the Friends of NIMH. In addition to FABBS and APA, the founding executive committee includes representatives from the American Psychiatric Association, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

The Friends of NIMH coalition is dedicated to supporting the mission of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to transform the understanding of mental health and the treatment of mental illnesses through basic biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research, and to best inform prevention, early intervention, recovery, and cures.

Friends of NIMH activities will include:

  • Educating policymakers and other stakeholders about the science of mental health
  • Advocating in support of the NIMH budget
  • Facilitating engaged communication between NIMH and the stakeholder community, including feedback on research portfolios
  • Increasing public awareness about NIMH research activities and the impact it has on the lives of all individuals and communities
  • Supporting policies that positively impact the research workforce and the advancement of basic and translational science 
  • Collaborating with the broad NIH community to inform whole health

Member organizations represent scientists, physicians, health care providers, individuals, families, and communities. To join Friends of NIMH please complete this form.