DATE: April 11, 2014
FROM: NIH Deputy Director for Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
TO: Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Community
SUBJECT: Change in Leadership of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
Link to original memo: OBSSR Change in Leadership
As you may have heard, Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, Associate Director for Behavioral and Social
Sciences Research, and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), will be moving to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), effective May 5, 2014. Dr. Kaplan will serve in a new position as Chief Science Officer for the AHRQ. Dr. Kaplan has had
a long association with AHRQ, receiving numerous grants from that agency as well as the NIH over the past 35 years. We look forward to continued collaborations with him when he assumes his new post at the AHRQ. Dr. Kaplan has made numerous contributions to behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) at the NIH, including bringing together leaders in mobile technology, behavioral sciences, and clinical research to forge new partnerships in mHealth; leading a variety of activities in dissemination and implementation research in health; and providing support for training in systems science methodologies to facilitate the study of behavioral and social dimensions of health; and representing the NIH with stakeholders, including scientific societies, international organizations, and scientific leaders in the BSSR community. Dr. Kaplan also co-chaired the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Opportunity Network Steering Committee. We thank Dr. Kaplan for his service to the NIH and to the BSSR community
Support of BSSR is a priority for the NIH. All of the NIH Institutes and Centers support activities in BSSR, totaling over $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2013. OBSSR plays an important role in stimulating, initiating, and promoting such research, and we understand the need to provide continued leadership following Dr. Kaplan's departure. I am pleased that Dr. William T. Riley, Chief of the Science of Research and Technology Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, at the NCI, will be detailed as the Acting Director ofOBSSR as of May 5. Dr. Riley's research interests include behavioral assessment, psychosocial health risk factors, tobacco use/cessation, and the application of technology to preventive health behaviors and chronic disease management. Dr. Riley earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University, and has experience in both academic medical centers and the private sector. Prior to his current position at NCI, he has served at NIMH and NHLBI.
In the near future, we will initiate a nationwide search to fill the position of Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/Director, OBSSR. At that time, we will notify the community and encourage you to share this information with highly qualified potential applicants.
James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.