NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC)


The NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR-CC) was established to enhance information exchange, communication, integration, and coordination of behavioral and social sciences research/training activities at the NIH. Formerly known as the NIH Health and Behavior Coordinating Committee, the committee's name was changed in 1996 to emphasize its relationship with the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), Office of the Director (OD), NIH. The charter was revised in 2020 to clarify that the BSSR-CC is not a FACA body. The NIH Institute/Center/Office (ICO) Directors participate in the Coordinating Committee through their appointment of a member and, as appropriate, an alternate.

Specifically, the BSSR-CC is charged with—

  • Providing input and perspective to the Director, OBSSR/OD/NIH to (a) raise awareness among the NIH BSSR community about scientific gaps and areas of opportunity; (b) identify programmatic and policy issues and activities that impact BSSR or to which BSSR can contribute; and (c) assist OBSSR in the coordination, collaboration, and integration of the behavioral and social sciences across NIH.
  • Coordinating within the NIH and the external scientific community on BSSR areas of NIH-wide importance. This includes the exchange of programmatic and scientific information and, where appropriate, collaborative planning and implementation of programmatic and scientific activities and initiatives.

In fulfilling this charge, the BSSR-CC meets to plan, develop, and coordinate activities that include but are not limited to funding opportunity announcements, workshops, training, and/or resource development. The BSSR-CC may also assist with the preparation of reports on the status and future direction of BSSR at the NIH, the organization of presentations to lay and scientific organizations, and the addition of BSSR to NIH initiatives.


Committee members and alternates are appointed by ICO Directors. All interested NIH staff are welcome to attend meetings, regardless of standing as a BSSR-CC representative or alternate.

Open and Closed BSSR-CC Meetings

The BSSR-CC alternates between closed and open meetings each month. In Open BSSR-CC sessions, the public, including representatives of professional organizations, are welcome to attend, and the content of meetings is restricted to those topics appropriate for public awareness or discussion. Information about the time and location of the Open BSSR-CC meetings will be posted on the OBSSR events webpage.

In closed BSSR-CC sessions, only NIH staff are present; this includes federal employees, fellows, interns, and contractors. BSSR-CC closed sessions provide time for NIH staff to discuss internal government issues, policy development and explore potential areas to target upcoming funding opportunities. When information becomes available to share publicly, it will be provided in the open sessions.

To inquire about invitations to closed sessions, please reach out to the executive secretary, Farheen Akbar, M.P.H., for an invitation or to add someone to the list as a regular member.

Join Our Mailing Lists

Subscribe to receive the latest OBSSR events and news. Subscribe to the BSSR Interest Listserv to receive information specific to the BSSR-CC.

For additional information about the BSSR-CC, please contact:

Farheen Akbar, M.P.H.
BSSR-CC Executive Secretary
Health Science Policy Analyst
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research


Committee members and alternates are appointed by ICO Directors. All interested NIH staff are welcome to attend meetings, regardless of standing as a BSSR CC representative or alternate.

NIH BSSR-CC Members and Alternates

All of Us Research Program (OD/AOU)
Holly Garriock, Ph.D.

Center for Scientific Review (CSR)
Kate Fothergill, Ph.D. MPH

Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program
Clay Mash, Ph.D.

Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Marya Levintova, Ph.D.
Laura Povlich, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Audie Atienza, Ph.D.
Elaine Collier, M.D. (Alternate)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Lanay M. Mudd, Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Paige Green, Ph.D., MPH
David Dean Jr (Chipper), Ph.D., M.S.

National Eye Institute (NEI)
Cheri Wiggs, Ph.D.

National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Laura Koehly, Ph.D.
Dave Kaufman, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Rebecca Campo, Ph.D.
Laurie Donze, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Lisbeth Nielsen, Ph.D.
John W. R. Phillips, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Robert Freeman, Ph.D.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)
Edith Swann, Ph.D.
Mayo Azeez (Alternate)

National Institute on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Yan Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Andrew Weitz, Ph.D.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
Layla Esposito, Ph.D.
Susan Jekielek, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Shelley Su, Ph.D. 
Holly Moore, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Holly L. Storkel, Ph.D.
Kelly King, Au.D., Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
William Elwood, Ph.D
Leila Khaki (Alternate)

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK)
Maureen Monaghan Center, Ph.D.
Katrina Serrano, Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Lindsey Martin, Ph.D.
Toccara Chamberlain, M.A. (Alternate)
Liam O’Fallon, M.A. (Alternate)

National Institute of General Medical Services (NIGMS)
Mercedes Rubio, Ph.D.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Michael Stirratt, Ph.D.

National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Arielle Gillman, Ph.D., MPH

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Kristina K. Hardy, Ph.D.
Debra Babcock, M.D., Ph.D. (Alternate)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Dara Blachman-Demner, Ph.D.
David Tilley, MPH, M.S., CPHv

National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Meryl Sufian, Ph.D.
Rebecca Goodwin, J.D. (Alternate)

Office of Aids Research (OD/OAR)
Paul Gaist, Ph.D.
Amber Wilson, MPH (Alternate)

Office of Disease Prevention (OD/ODP)
Melissa Green Parker, Ph.D.
Denise Stredrick, Ph.D. (Alternate)

Office of Dietary Supplements (OD/ODS)
Stephanie M. George, Ph.D., MPH, M.A.

Office of Evaluation, Performance and Reporting (OD/OEPR)
Sarah Rhodes, Ph.D.
Rachel Diamond, Ph.D. (Alternate)

Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (OD/ORIP)
Bettina Buhring, Ph.D.

Office of Research on Women’s Health (OD/ORWH)
Elizabeth Barr, Ph.D.
David Thomas, Ph.D. (Alternate)

Office of Strategic Coordination (OD/OSC)
Susan Shero, RN, BSN, M.S.
Toy Lisa Mitchell Ph.D. (Alternate)

Sexual and Gender Minority Research Office (OD/SGMRO)
Irene Avila, Ph.D.
Karen Parker, Ph.D., MSW (Alternate)

Tribal Health Research Office (OD/THRO)