Director's Voice Blog

In the monthly Director’s Voice Blog, OBSSR leadership discusses timely topics related to behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). Subscribe to receive updates.

Archived Director’s Blogs by Year

2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017

As we commemorate Black History Month, it is imperative to acknowledge the pernicious and persistent health disparities affecting Black or African Americans in the United States. These profound health inequities demand our attention, reflection, and, most importantly, our concerted efforts to address the root causes.

In mid-December, it was my pleasure to attend the workshop “Music as Medicine: The Science and Clinical Practice” to learn what music has to do with social and behavioral sciences and health. Below I discuss highlights from the workshop with Dr.

In this last blog of the calendar year, I will consider some of the highlights of the Office in my first few months as Director as well as our plans for the start of the new year.

On December 5, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm EST, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee will host the annual NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival (BSSR) Festival. This event provides a venue for NIH Institutes and Centers to highlight exciting research results, emerging research areas, and innovations in the behavioral and social sciences.

Firearms deaths constitute an urgent and significant public health crisis. The overall death rate by firearms was up 21 percent and the rate of homicides by firearms was up 35 percent from 2019-2022. Additionally, firearm-related suicides increased to their highest ever recorded level in 2022, and firearms remain the leading cause of death for children and youth ages 1-19. Significant disparities by race, ethnicity, and poverty remain. For example, in 2022, firearm suicide rates among Black youth (ages 10-19) surpassed that of White youth for the first time.

This month’s blog focuses on the efforts of the NIH Social Determinants of Health Research Coordinating Committee. Our co-chairs, Dr. Shannon Zenk, NINR Director, and Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, NIMHD Director, highlight the history and activities of this important coordinated effort at the NIH.

Why does the statement “Your zip code is more important to your health than your genetic code” surprise people but resonate with many population scientists?

OBSSR’s Dr. Rosalind King authored this month’s director’s blog recognizing the important contributions of social science research.
With retirement approaching, NIH OBSSR acting director Dr. Christine Hunter reflects on her career in the behavioral and social sciences at NIH.
The 16th NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors will be held virtually on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 1:30pm ET. This event will feature a keynote presentation from the 2023 Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Jennifer J. Manly, Columbia University, and presentations from the 2023 early-stage investigator paper competition awardees.

This blog was co-authored with Christina Dragon, MSPH, CHES, Measurement and Data Lead at the 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.