February 8, 2022
The National Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council (AC) met on February 1 (see the agenda here). The Institute Director, Dr. Joshua Gordon, welcomed seven new members and recognized four members transitioning off of the board including Dr. Yael Niv, Princeton. When sharing her reflections on her time on the AC, she mentioned that she initially thought that her induction in the Council was due to her work in computational methods; yet she thought that her bigger contribution was being a voice for the importance of the behavioral sciences and for supporting female scholars. She shared her hopes that someone currently on the Council, or one of the incoming members, would assume that role and keep those conversations going. FABBS has repeatedly thanked Dr. Niv for this important role and will be working to engage with incoming AC members.
The NIMH Directors Report included the usual updates on Congressional interactions, budget update and appropriations updates, and NIH wide activities. Dr. Gordon provided several slides on Institute success rates, noting a growth in the number of applications with success rates fairly steady, ranging from 21-25 successful applications since 2016. He reminded the Council that they have some flexibility in grant awards – not firmly decided by number score.
When asked about funding levels, Dr. Gordon said that NIMH could easily fund twice as many proposals as they currently do and still be funding only outstanding science. He also mentioned the challenges of funding longitudinal studies.
Dr. Gordon’s report was followed by presentations by NIH colleagues including Dr. Shannon Zenk, Nursing Institute, on the nursing perspective of the social determinants of health; recipient of the inaugural NIMH James Jackson Award, Dr. Enrique Neblett, presenting “Structural Racism and Black Youth Mental Health: Moving Beyond the ‘Clown at the Circus'”, and Ashley Kennedy, on “Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Human Subjects in Clinical Research” – as required to comply with Congressional requirements.
For more updates see the NIMH website.