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

In March 2024, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order directing the most comprehensive set of executive actions ever to expand and improve women’s health.

The NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The speakers are some of the most prominent biomedical and behavioral scientists and are nominated by staff from across the National Institutes of Health.
Thanks to digital technologies, we live in an era of unprecedented connectivity. Yet, paradoxically, data indicate about one in four adults in America report experiencing loneliness. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated trends that were already in place, with young adults, people earning lower incomes, and people from groups that have been economically and socially marginalized more likely to experience loneliness.

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.