Latest OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Acting Director Christine Hunter, Ph.D., ABPP., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The latest newsletter is available below.

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March 21, 2023

Director's Voice Blog

Behavioral and Social Sciences and Advancing the Health and Well-being of LGBTQI+ People. This blog is co-authored with Christina Dragon, MSPH, CHES, NIH’s Sexual & Gender Minority Research Office.

OBSSR’s mission includes enhancing the impact of health-related behavioral and social sciences research and communicating health-related findings from these studies to various stakeholders within and outside the federal government.

This mission includes a cross-cutting focus on health equity and the strategic priority to “enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrated approach to behavioral and social sciences research.” These complement the inclusion of research on health disparities experienced by sexual and gender minorities (SGM) to improve minority health outcomes and healthcare access in the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021–2025.

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Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Spotlights

The use of mobile devices for calming preschool-aged children may interfere with child development

Mobile devices and digital media are increasingly being used by caregivers to keep children calm and occupied. This use has grown in popularity over the past two decades as mobile devices have become ubiquitous. Past research has shown that time spent watching television, other screen time, and playing video/computer games are associated with deficits in executive functioning and poor emotional regulation among children. However, most of this research has been cross-sectional and unable to suggest long-term consequences for child development. Furthermore, few studies have examined the use of mobile devices for the specific purpose of calming young children.

Recently published work by NICHD and NCATS aimed to explore the longitudinal associations between the use of mobile devices for calming and executive functioning as well as emotional reactivity among children aged 3 to 5 years.

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Community-sourced recommendations from Latinx Trans and Non-Binary Individuals to promote cancer prevention

Research shows that trans and non-binary (TNB) individuals are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer and were less likely to receive treatment for kidney and pancreas cancers. Additionally, data published by the American Cancer Society indicates that cancer is the leading cause of mortality within the Latinx community, both within the continental United States as well as its territories. The National Cancer Database published a countrywide cancer study that indicated TNB individuals are at greater risk of suffering from liver, skin, colorectal, and lymphoma cancers, and experience higher rates of mortality after receiving a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s, prostrate, or urinary cancers. The same study showed that TNB communities were less likely to receive outreach regarding recommended cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer screenings. There is a broad consensus in the literature that barriers at the individual, provider, organizational, and sociopolitical levels drive cancer inequities experienced by TNB communities and individuals. Given that the gold standard of care is to provide culturally sensitive outreach, communication, and treatment in which are co-developed by members of the prioritized community, researchers with the support of the NCI, NIMHD, and NIMH engaged with TNB individuals residing in Puerto Rico and Florida to develop outreach that supports cancer screening and prevention in these communities.

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News and Events

Recently Published Funding Announcements