Healthier Lives Through Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
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Change in Leadership of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
April 11, 2014


The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General
January, 2014


Dr. Patricia Mabry Co-Authors SOPHE Special Journal Suplement Showcasing New Applcations of Systems Science to Health Promotion and Public Health
November, 2013

  More News >>

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May 16, 2014
2 pm - 3 pm EST.
BSSR Lecture Series:

Demographic, Social, Behavioral, and Emotional Determinants of Cardiovascular Risk
Rockville, MD 


May 23, 2014
2 pm - 4 pm EST.
BSSR Lecture Series:

Culture, Research, and Health Outcomes Panel
Bethesda, MD 

More Events >>

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Home > About OBSSR > Staff


David B. Abrams, Ph.D.
Director, 2005-2008
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

David B. Abrams

Dr. David B. Abrams was Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director (OD) of NIH. OBSSR serves as the focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research. OBSSR functions as a liaison between the NIH intramural and extramural communities, other Federal agencies, academic and scientific societies, national voluntary health agencies, the biomedical research community, the media, and the general public on matters pertaining to behavioral and social sciences research.

Prior to joining OBSSR, Dr. Abrams was Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Professor of Community Health at Brown University Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island and co-director of Transdisciplinary Research at Brown-affiliated Butler Hospital. Dr. Abrams holds a B.Sc. (honours) in computer science and psychology from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University, New Jersey. He joined Brown University in 1978 and he was the founding Director of the Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine for the past 16 years. Dr. Abrams is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in health psychology/behavioral and preventive medicine. His research is on addictive behaviors and lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease.

Dr. Abrams is a past President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, a fellow and a recipient of the Societies distinguished scientist award, a fellow of the American Psychological Association, a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute, and a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Etiology Research Network. He has served various expert consultant roles nationally and internationally including: chaired the NCI program review group on Cancer Control; consulted to the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Osaka Cancer Center, Japan; served on numerous NIH consensus panels and review groups; member, External Scientific Advisory Board of several NCI Designated Cancer Centers; invited contributor, 1988 U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health: Nicotine Addiction; reviewer, National Academies of Science (NAS), Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2004 report Improving Medical Education: Enhancing Behavioral and Social Sciences in Medical School Curricula; and served on other NAS-IOM expert panels on Prevention of Alcohol Abuse and Reducing Tobacco Use Prevalence.

Dr. Abrams has published over 220 scholarly articles, has been a Principal or Co-Investigator on over 65 research grant awards from various NIH Institutes, most recently including Principal Investigator of a NCI program project award -Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center and an R-25 Career Development Training Grant -Transdisciplinary Training of Scientists in Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Sciences. Dr. Abrams is the lead author of The Tobacco Dependence Treatment Handbook: A Guide to Best Practices: Guilford Press, 2003 - a recipient of a book of the year 2004 award from the American Journal of Nursing.

Dr. Abrams' research contributions range from basic human laboratory research on bio-behavioral mechanisms in the self-regulation of addictive behavior, to outcomes evaluation of behavior change interventions in clinical and community settings, to health policy research. His primary research foci over the past 25 years have included: (1) basic scientific research on self-control mechanisms in nicotine, alcohol, stress and mood regulation; (2) translational clinical research on evaluating behavioral/pharmacological treatments for tobacco and alcohol abuse, obesity and physical activity; and (3) on dissemination and policy-related research to improve the widespread delivery of cost-efficient interventions to defined populations and across settings and channels including worksites and most recently using new bio-informatics screening technologies and interactive communications via the internet.

Dr. Abrams has had an abiding interest in systems theory, conceptual models to improve population health and in the processes that nurture the training of scientists to conduct team science, that is research that fosters a transdisciplinary and translational integration among biomedical, socio-behavioral, and public health disciplines to reduce population level metrics of preventable disease burden and improve the public health.
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                  Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, Office of the Director
National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Drive, Building 31 Room B1C19, Bethesda, MD 20892
Phone: 301 402 1146 | Fax: 301 402 1150

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