Mission and History

OBSSR's Mission

  • Enhance the impact of health-related behavioral and social sciences research
  • Coordinate behavioral and social sciences research conducted or supported by the NIH and integrate these sciences within the larger NIH research enterprise
  • Communicate health-related behavioral and social sciences research findings to various stakeholders within and outside the federal government

The OBSSR Strategic Plan 2017-2021 includes three equally important scientific priorities that reflect key research challenges the OBSSR is uniquely positioned to address, along with four foundational processes to enhance and support these scientific priorities and the OBSSR's mission.

History of OBSSR

OBSSR was created by Congress in 1993, in recognition of the importance of behavioral and social sciences to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) mission. Over more than two decades, the OBSSR has been instrumental in advancing and coordinating the behavioral and social sciences at the NIH. The NIH already had a long history of supporting health-related behavioral and social sciences research, and the results of this work have contributed significantly to our understanding of the basic underlying mechanisms and treatment of mental and physical health and illness. Establishing an office focused specifically on the behavioral and social contributions to mental and physical well-being enables the NIH to leverage existing efforts and develop synergy across multiple Institutes, Centers, and scientific disciplines.

View OBSSR history timeline