In July 2017, the National Academies held a public event on their recent publication, “The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities: Report for the National Science Foundation.”
This report provides many examples of the impacts of social, behavioral, and economic sciences on business, industry, welfare, and prosperity of our country. The report also describes the impacts of social, behavioral, and economic sciences on the health of the nation. These impacts include a better understanding of how environmental factors interact with genetic influences to impact health, the wealth of empirically-based strategies to promote health and prevent illness, and the role of social and economic factors on health. I am pleased to note that the OBSSR Strategic Plan 2017-2021 is cited in this report.
A few examples of the impact of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences on health found in the report include:
- Exposures to adverse events and how they are perceived influences gene expression
- Early life stress alters the rapidly developing biological systems of children
- Mechanisms by which social isolation impacts health
- Differences in life expectancy based on income and education
These are but a few of the scientific impacts of social and behavioral sciences on health. OBSSR is working with our colleagues at the NIH Office of Science Policy and NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis on mapping the basic and applied behavioral and social science origins of current health practice guidelines and public health policies and strategies. As we generate these translational accomplishments, we will post them on the OBSSR website. We also plan to post the most highly cited behavioral and social science publications, based on the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR), to give the research community a better sense of the most influential publications of our field.
There are many accomplishments of the behavioral and social sciences that have advanced health research and improved the health of the nation. The findings of this National Academies report and the ongoing efforts of OBSSR will give researchers, stakeholders, and the public a compelling set of examples of these accomplishments.