NIH Council of Councils Winter Meeting

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils met on January 19 and 20 to hear updates on current initiatives and discuss upcoming goals. Topics included Data Science Strategy, Nutrition Research, the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Research Program, and the NIH Strategic Plan to Advance Research on the Health and Well-being of Sexual and Gender Minorities. 

Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, performing the duties of the NIH Director, presented on changes in NIH leadership positions and announced the retirement of four leadership positions to be filled by acting directors. No announcement was made about filling the roles of Director of the NIH or of the Office of Basic Behavioral and Social Science. Dr. Tabak devoted some time to the proposed changes to the Research Project Grant Review reflected in a current request for information (RFI).  

Join FABBS Board Members Drs. Adriana Galvan and Edith Chen in a discussion of the potential implications of these changes and inform the FABBS response. Register here to join the conversation. Comments are due on March 10, 2023.  

Dr. Tabak shared information about progress on UNITE that describes NIH’s actions to identify and address structural racism within NIH and in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise. The report focuses on health disparities and minority health research, promoting the internal NIH workforce and the external research workforce, increasing transparency, accountability, and communication across NIH and the research community. See FABBS’s previous comments in response to the UNITE Initiative RFI notice.

The Council voted on new concept clearances including one related to the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Research Program. The overall scientific goal of ECHO is to answer solution-oriented questions about the effects of a broad range of early environmental exposures on child health and human development. The new concept is to issue two companion FOAs for research training and analysis of ECHO data for dissertation and post doctorate fellowships. (See the presentation and background materials) 

The Council also voted on the midcourse review of the NIH Strategic Plan to Advance Research on the Health and Well-being of Sexual and GenderMinorities (SGM) FYs 2021 – 2025. The review will evaluate progress on the goals of the plan and provide recommendations for leveraging the progress. Goals include advancing rigorous research on SGM health, expanding SGM health research through partnerships and collaborations, fostering a highly skilled and diverse SGM health research workforce, and encouraging data collection related to SGM populations in research and the health research workforce. (See the presentation and report.)

See the meeting agendas and recordings below:

council, Diversity, ECHO, NIH, SGM, UNITE