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

September 18, 2018

Director's Voice

The Behavioral and Social Clinical Trials Template: A New Resource! This blog was co-authored by OBSSR Director Dr. Bill Riley and Dr. Carrie D. Wolinetz, Director of the NIH Office of Science Policy (OSP). More information about OSP can be found at Comments on the draft template will be accepted through October 11, 2018, and can be made electronically by visiting here.

In May 2017, NIH and FDA released the final version of a template document aimed at assisting NIH-funded investigators in preparing Phase 2 and 3 IND/IDE clinical trial protocols. Additionally, at that time, NIH also released the electronic Protocol Writing Tool (e-Protocol Tool) which was based on the NIH-FDA protocol template. The way we like to describe the e-Protocol Tool is that it is like a Turbo TaxTM for developing clinical trial protocols. We think it can be safely said that both products have been an unmitigated success! In fact, the e-Protocol Writing Tool is one of the most frequently visited pages of the OSP website, drawing on average over 1,000 visitors per month.

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Research Spotlights

Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research



Informing doctors of patient’s overdose death reduces opioid prescribing

Physicians are more likely to reduce the number and dose of opioids they prescribe after being informed one of their patients suffered a fatal overdose, according to a recent NIA-funded study. In San Diego County, 861 clinicians prescribing to 170 people who experienced a fatal overdose were randomly assigned to a control group or a group that received a letter from the Chief Deputy Medical Examiner. Read More

mom infant phone

Mom’s cell phone use is related to infant social and emotional functioning

Mobile phone use is widespread and pervasive, but little is known about its impact on parent-infant interactions. In a recent NIMH- funded study, researchers found infants do not have the same engagement and positive affect when their mothers are distracted by mobile phone use. Fifty infants aged 7.2 to 23.6 months completed a modified version of the Still Face Paradigm (SFP) along with their mothers. Learn More

CBT child

Individual cognitive-behavioral therapy improves anxiety in children

Individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is more effective than supportive child-centered therapy (CCT) in treating childhood anxiety disorders, according to a recent study funded by NIMH. Youth aged 9-14 y with anxiety disorders (generalized, separation, and/or social anxiety) were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either CBT (N=90) or CCT (N=43) over 16 sessions (with two parent sessions). Go There Now

In the Know

Events and Announcements

[Register] OBSSR Director's Webinar with Dr. Stanton Glantz - 9/18

Join OBSSR and Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, on Tuesday, September 18, at 2:00 p.m. ET for a director's webinar on “Packaging color research by tobacco companies: the pack as a product characteristic.” Tobacco companies use color on cigarette packaging and labelling to communicate brand imagery, diminish health concerns, and as a replacement for prohibited descriptive words ('light' and 'mild') to make misleading claims about reduced risks. Dr. Glantz analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents to identify additional ways in which cigarette companies tested and manipulated pack colors to affect consumers' perceptions of the cigarettes' flavor and strength. Register Today


Advances in Child Development and Behavior Speaker Series - 9/25

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development invites you to an upcoming Advances in Child Development and Behavior Speaker Series presentation:

Dr. Tonya Palermo, Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Director of the Pediatric Pain & Sleep Innovations Lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, will give a presentation titled “Innovations in Behavioral and Psychological Treatment of Pediatric Chronic Pain,” on Tuesday, September 25, from noon to 1:00 p.m. (6710B Rockledge Drive, room 1417).

Registration Not Required 

[Open Meeting] NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee - 10/5

Please join the next NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR CC) open meeting on Friday, October 5, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on NIH’s campus (Rockledge II, room 9112/9116) or online (WebEx access code: 628 548 199, password: gWZPDbr4). Representatives from NIH Institutes and Centers will meet to discuss behavioral and social sciences-relevant topics. Add to Calendar

Webinar Recording: Conversational Agents to Improve Quality of Life in Palliative Care

The July Director’s Webinar recording, featuring guest presenter Michael Paasche-Orlow M.D., M.A., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, is now available. Dr. Paasche-Orlow’s team designed and evaluated a series of interactive Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) systems. In this session, he described attributes and design features of ECA systems with a focus on the current system as deployed with six content modules (symptoms, exercise, meditation, spiritual needs, advance care planning, and storytelling). Dr. Paasche-Orlow also discussed early experiences with system utilization and the nurse alert workstation. Go There Now

[Register] 11th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health (D&I) - 12/3-5

Registration is open for the 11th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health (D&I), to be held December 3-5, 2018 at the Renaissance Washington, DC. This conference, co-hosted by the NIH and AcademyHealth, helps realize the full potential of evidence to optimize health and health care by bridging the gap between research, practice, and policy. By outlining the priorities in the field, the Science of D&I Conference aims to ensure that evidence is used to inform decisions that will improve the health of individuals and communities. Register Now

Funding Announcements

Computationally-Defined Behaviors in Psychiatry (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits applications for research projects that will apply computational approaches to develop parametrically detailed behavioral assays across mental-health relevant domains of function. These projects should focus on behavior in humans and test computational models in healthy subjects. NIMH is particularly interested in the study of behavioral measures, models, and parameters that have the potential for back-translation from humans to animals, especially for pre-clinical therapeutics development, and/or in models that have the potential to be extended to clinical populations.  View FOA


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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