Transition in Acting Director, OBSSR and NIH Acting Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

I would like to share that Wendy B. Smith, Ph.D., is serving as Acting NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and Acting OBSSR Director. This follows the retirement of Christine M. Hunter, Ph.D., who has been serving in an acting capacity for both roles since January 2022. Dr. Hunter retired on May 31, 2023; I encourage you to read her reflections on her retirement in the May 12 OBSSR blog.

Dr. Smith joined OBSSR in 2013 and has held several senior leadership positions including, Senior Scientific Advisor for Research Development and Outreach, Acting Deputy Director, and her current role as Associate Director since 2016. She joined OBSSR from the Office of Science Policy, Office of the NIH Director where she served as the Program Director for Clinical and Translational Research Partnerships. Prior to this, Dr. Smith was the Deputy Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine where she also established and directed the Research Development and Support Program. Dr. Smith earned her M.A. in the psychology of health and her Ph.D. in applied experimental psychology and is a licensed experimental psychologist and a nationally certified biofeedback therapist with advanced training in the use of hypnosis for pain. She joined NIH in 1990 as a research psychologist in the intramural research program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Smith is a founding member of the NIH Pain Consortium, and her publications include research on pain memory, psychophysics of pain perception, psychological aspects of pain, complementary and alternative medicine, and research methodologies.

Please join me in expressing our appreciation to Dr. Hunter for her exemplary contributions to advancing the coordination, collaboration, and integration of behavioral and social sciences across NIH, and in wishing her the very best in her retirement. Also please join me in thanking Dr. Smith for her continued leadership at NIH and her willingness to take on the additional role of acting OBSSR director for an interim period.

Robert W. Eisinger, Ph.D.
Acting NIH Deputy Director for Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
Acting Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives
Senior Advisor to the NIH Director