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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.
Subscribe to receive the OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter.

national institutes of health - office of behaviorial and social sciences research
OBSSR Connector Monthly

February 12, 2019

Director's Voice

NICHD Seeks Input on Strategic Plan. On January 2, 2019, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on its Strategic Plan 2020-2024. From a collaborative process involving external and internal stakeholders, six themes have emerged for which NICHD is seeking public input. I encourage you to take the time to consider the research themes, goals, and objectives of the NICHD Strategic Plan and respond to this RFI with the key social and behavioral research directions that support its mission.

Responses should be submitted via email to: by February 15, 2019.

Read Full Blog

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Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research


photo of man using computer, associated with February 2019 research spotlight article on Interactive online HIV-prevention program reduces STIs in young men who have sex with men

Interactive online HIV-prevention program reduces STIs in young men who have sex with men

An interactive online HIV prevention program significantly lowered sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in ethnically diverse young men who have sex with men (YMSM), according to a recent NIMH and NIDA funded study. From 2013 to 2017, 901 HIV-negative men (18-29 yrs.) participated in either Keep It Up! (KIU!), a multimedia online intervention program, or a control group consisting of existing online HIV information. Read More

Graphical representation of the human brain, associated with February 2019 research spotlight article on Brain Reactivity to Facial Expressions May Explain Why Some Disadvantaged Young Adults Experience Different Socioeconomic Outcomes Despite Similar Resources.

Brain reactivity to facial expressions may explain why some disadvantaged young adults experience different socioeconomic outcomes despite similar resources

In a recent NIMH, NIDA, and NICHD supported study, socioeconomic resources, later antisocial behavior, and income can be predicted by amygdala reactivity to facial expressions in sample of urban men from impoverished families. Learn More

Photo of group of diverse men and women, associated with February 2019 research spotlight article on Group therapies: efficacious and cost-effective interventions for chronic posttraumatic stress disorder in veteran populations.

Group therapies: efficacious and cost-effective interventions for chronic posttraumatic stress disorder in veteran populations

In a recent randomized controlled trial (RCT), researchers funded by the NIMH demonstrated the efficacy of group therapies (trauma-focused and non-trauma-focused treatments) for chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans. Male veterans with PTSD were randomly assigned to either group cognitive behavioral therapy (GCBT; n=98) or group present-centered treatment (GPCT; n=100); both treatments were 14 sessions. Go There Now

In the Know

Events and Announcements


Submit your input on a revised BSSR definition

OBSSR invites you to submit your input on a revised definition of behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR). The field has evolved since the definition was created in 1996 and an updated definition will improve NIH's ability to describe, assess and monitor NIH BSSR funding. Using OBSSR’s IdeaScale website, you can view comments from others without registering on the site. You will need to register to submit comments and to respond to comments submitted by others. The deadline to submit input is February 22, 2019.
Submit Input


Register: NCI and SBM workshop on March 5, 2019

You are invited to register for a special pre-conference workshop on “Cutting-Edge Issues in the Design of Behavioral Clinical Trials: What Every Investigator Should Know,” which is being held in conjunction with the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Annual Meeting on Tuesday, March 5, from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. In this workshop, leading clinical trial experts and NIH program officers will address a series of critical issues in behavioral clinical trial development, design and implementation, as well as provide an overview of the latest NIH clinical trial policies and international efforts to improve the quality of behavioral clinical trials. Please feel free to share this information and registration link with colleagues you believe may be interested in this workshop.
Register Now


Follow OBSSR on NIH's social media platforms March 11-15

OBSSR will be distributing OBSSR and NIH BSSR-relevant content via NIH's social media channels March 11-15, 2019. During this week, we will tell the story of OBSSR and the importance of BSSR at NIH. Stay turned for OBSSR's #ThisIsNIH tweets and posts and be sure to engagement with and share the content with your followers!


Register: March Director's Webinar with Dr. Pamela Herd

Pamela Herd, Ph.D., Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and Principal Investigator of Wisconsin Longitudinal Study will present on March 18, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET on “Social and population health science approaches to understanding the human gut microbiome.” Dr. Herd will outline key substantive and methodological advances that can be made if collaborations between social and population health scientists and life scientists are strategically pursued, as will provide a recent example of a collaboration. Registration for this webinar is required.
Register Now


Apply: Training on the optimization of behavioral and biobehavioral interventions

Applications for the five-day, multi-presenter training on the Optimization of Behavioral and Biobehavioral Interventions are now being accepted. This training will be held May 13-17, 2019 in Bethesda, Maryland. Instructors include Drs. Linda M. Collins and Kate Guastaferro. Drs. Angela Pfammatter and Heather Wasser, alumni of the training who have applied experience with MOST, will serve as associate instructors. The training will cover the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST), development of a conceptual model, factorial experimental designs, power for optimization trials, data analysis, practical considerations, and how to write a grant proposal involving MOST. New features of the 2019 training include a self-guided data analysis practicum, dedicated time for networking, and opportunities for individual consultation. Please contact Kate Guastaferro at with any questions.
Apply Today


HINTS Data Users Conference rescheduled for May 22-23, 2019

The fifth HINTS Data Users Conference will take place on May 22-23, 2019 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference is an opportunity to learn more about research being conducted using Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) data, as well as the role of HINTS research in public health and clinical care. Register now to reserve your spot at the conference. There is still an opportunity to showcase your research; late-breaking poster abstracts are being accepted until March 20, 2019. Please visit the abstract submission section of the conference website for more information and to see a description of the various conference tracks. Registration is free, but space is limited.
Register Now


Save the Date: NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors

OBSSR announces Dr. Mark J. VanLandingham, professor at Tulane University, as this year's NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors Distinguished Lecturer. You are invited to join us for his presentation "Culture and Resilience: Insights from the Vietnamese American community in post-Katrina New Orleans" on Thursday, June 6, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm ET on the NIH’s main campus, Wilson Hall (building 1). During his talk, Dr. VanLandingham will discuss the role he sees for culture in explanations of why some groups fare better post-disaster than other groups; why culture has been left out of most explanations of resilience in general and disaster recovery in particular; and why including culture in such explanations matters, for both academic and policy reasons.
Read More


NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences communication fellowship opportunities

The National Cancer Institute is seeking people with experience in journalism, communications, and relevant fields to help share research findings, funding opportunities, and more as Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) fellows. These are one-year, full-time fellowships with possibility for renewal. Stipends are adjusted yearly and are commensurate with academic achievement and relevant experience. For more information, including how to apply, see each program’s listing:
Behavioral Research Program
Implementation Science Program
Surveillance Research Program

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Funding Announcements

Establishing a Cohort to Clarify Risk and Protective Factors for Neurocognitive Complications of Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) - Planning Cooperative Agreements (U34 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

This FOA invites applications for planning cooperative agreements (U34) for a national, multisite, observational cohort study to prospectively examine the risk and protective factors for neurocognitive complications of pediatric type 1 diabetes (T1D; onset approximately ages 5-10 years) and a comparison sample. The U34 is designed to: 1) Permit early peer review of the rationale for the proposed cohort study; 2) Permit assessment of the study design; and 3) Provide support for the development of essential elements required for the design and conduct of the cohort study and the management and analysis of the study data. Consultation with NIDDK scientific staff is strongly encouraged prior to the submission of the U34 application.
View Announcement

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Social and Behavioral Research eLearning Course

Good Clinical Practice in Social and Behavioral Research

Complete the free NIH Good Clinical Practice (GCP) Training through the Society of Behavioral Medicine. In September 2016, the NIH issued a Policy on Good Clinical Practice Training for NIH awardees involved in NIH-funded clinical trials. The principles of GCP help assure the safety, integrity, and quality of clinical trials. Certificates will be given upon completion of the training. Take The Training

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