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OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The current newsletter is provided below.
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December 16, 2020

Director's Voice

Director's Voice

NIH Releases Report Summarizing Research on Vaccine Communication. The FDA is poised to approve two new vaccines for coronavirus this month, and advance preparations have been made to deploy these vaccines as rapidly as possible once approved. It is a triumph of science that less than a year from identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus, vaccines have been rigorously developed, evaluated, and deployed to protect against the virus.

As these vaccines become available, however, the latest polling data show that only about half of Americans want to get vaccinated, a quarter are unsure, and a quarter indicate they will not get vaccinated. Among Blacks, 40% indicate that they will not get vaccinated, potentially exacerbating already serious COVID-19 disparities. This same AP/NORC poll showed that about a third of respondents are not confident that the vaccines have been properly tested for safety and efficacy, will be distributed equitably, or will be distributed rapidly and safely. Read Full Blog.

Full Report: COVID-19 Vaccination* Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence

Tip Sheet One-Pager: A Communicator’s Tip Sheet for COVID-19 Vaccination

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Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research

Physiological data from wearable devices improves COVID-19 diagnosis prediction compared to self-reported symptoms alone

Physiological data from wearable devices improves COVID-19 diagnosis prediction compared to self-reported symptoms alone

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to the public health community, including controlling the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 before it can further spread to susceptible individuals. In a study funded by the NCATS, data acquired from wearable fitness devices combined with self-reported symptoms was found to identify cases of COVID-19 with greater success than measuring symptoms alone.
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Prenatal choline levels in children of Black American women may indicate potential predisposition for future mental illness risk

Prenatal choline levels in children of Black American women may indicate potential predisposition for future mental illness risk

Rates of schizophrenia and other mental health disorders are higher in Black Americans compared to Whites. Black American women have been shown to have lower concentrations of choline which is important for healthy infant brain development. Contributing factors for the lower levels of choline include postpartum depression and its impact on cortisol and inflammation, along with interactions with systemic racism, neighborhood environment, partner relationships, and financial insecurity.
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Electronic cigarettes may predispose adolescents to smoking cigarettes, even if they have no prior intention to smoke

Electronic cigarettes may predispose adolescents to smoking cigarettes, even if they have no prior intention to smoke

Do electronic-cigarettes (e-cigarettes) aid in smoking cessation and/or act as a replacement/substitute to cigarettes or do e-cigarettes initiate a pathway toward smoking cigarettes - even if that was not the original intent of the e-cigarette user? Recent research supported by the NICHD, NCI, and NIDA investigated the causal pathway of this relationship by examining smoking intention as a dependent factor for smoking e-cigarettes and cigarette smoking. Despite declines in cigarette smoking, it is still one of the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
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In the Know

Events and Announcements

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Funding Announcements

Recently Published FOAs

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Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

Resource for communicating the science, methods, and operations of a clinical trial

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