Images of Washington Institutions
June 30, 2014      Volume 33, Issue 12

                                                                                                                                                                                                            COSSA Washington Update
In This Issue
Prominent Social Scientists Named to National Science Board
Appropriations Bills Stalled Indefinitely
Senate and House Release Competing Higher Education Act Reauthorizations
Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Native American Languages
NSF Releases Toolkit Explaining Merit Review Process and Impact of Research Investments
USDA Research Advisory Board Seeks Social Science Representative
Public Comment Sought on Federal Statistical Policy Directive
Census Bureau Calls for Nominations for Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations
Nominations Solicited for National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality
National Board for Education Sciences Discusses IES Funding Trends
NAS Releases Assessment of National Children's Study 2014; NIH Director Puts Main Study on Hold
New DBASSE Board on Science Education Director Announced
CNSTAT Panel Publishes Report on "Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion"
NIH: Research on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions
Briefing Explores the Role of Social Work in Integrated Primary Care

Featured Article

Prominent Social Scientists Named to National Science Board  


Robert Groves
James Jackson

On June 17, President Obama announced his intent to nominate six new members to the National Science Board (NSB), including current COSSA President James Jackson, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, and Robert Groves, former Director of the Census Bureau and provost at  Georgetown University.  Drs. Jackson and Groves will be sworn in for six year terms at the August Board meeting.    


The National Science Board is the policy making body of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and also advises the President and Congress on federal policy issues impacting science and engineering. COSSA congratulates Dr. Jackson and Dr. Groves on this prestigious appointment and looks forward to their contributions as members of the Board on behalf of the social and behavioral science community.   

Congressional Activities & News

Appropriations Bills Stalled Indefinitely

As previously reported, the Senate was preparing to debate the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill (the bill that funds the National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice, and other agencies) during the last two weeks of June.  However, the debate came to an abrupt halt on June 19 when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pulled the bill from the floor, citing an inability to come to agreement with Republican leadership on a process for considering amendments.  The CJS bill, which was being considered as part of a "minibus" including two other "non-controversial" funding bills, was largely seen as a bellwether for gauging the Senate's appetite for passing funding bills before the November midterm elections.  The fate of the FY 2015 appropriations process is now unknown; it is unclear when or if the CJS bill, or any other FY 2015 appropriations bill, will be taken up in the Senate.  In the meantime, House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue to mark up their respective bills, setting the stage for the possibility of an all-encompassing omnibus late in the fiscal year.  

Senate and House Release Competing Higher Education Act Reauthorizations

Earlier this month, the House Education and Workforce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released proposals for an upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of HELP, announced that his bill features 21 action points addressing a wide variety of issues in higher education. Representative John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, announced that their bill would address the HEA reauthorization in "smaller chunks" compared to the Senate version. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who chairs the House Higher Education Subcommittee, said that a smaller bill would be more likely to move forward.


In terms of similarities between the proposals, both plans call for financial counselling, a single income-based student loan repayment program, expanding the availability of Pell Grants, and overhauling teacher training programs. The differences, however, are likely to cause significant partisan problems during debate. For instance, the proposals disagree on the role of the federal government in regard to the rising cost of college. The Republican plan, which would limit the Education Department's regulations in higher education, is at odds with the Administration's recent push to create a college ratings system which is also implemented in Harkin's bill. Notably left out in the Senate proposal is Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) recent attempt to allow borrowers with older loans to refinance at current rates. This would have been a major point of contention in future debate. 

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Native American Languages

On June 18, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on two bills that support Native American language education and preservation. Earlier this year, Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced two bills on Native American languages: the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act (S. 1948) and the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act (S. 2299). The first bill, S. 1948, would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to authorize the Secretary of Education to award grants to schools to develop and maintain programs that support Native American languages. The latter bill, S. 2299, would reauthorize the Native American languages grant program from 2015 through 2019.


In a statement, Tester said the "history of Native languages in this country is one of great tragedy and triumph. Through decades of failed federal policy, Native languages have been pushed to the brink of extinction. Yet many survive and in fact thrive, thanks to the tireless work of Native educators and others." The committee released a statement saying that "Tribal leaders testifying before the Committee supported both the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act and the Native American Languages Reauthorization Act of 2014. Both bills have bipartisan support." 

FEderal Agency & Administration Activities & News

NSF Releases Toolkit Explaining Merit Review Process and Impact of Research Investments

Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a set of materials meant to explain and promote the impact of NSF's investments in basic research. The "toolkit" includes resources such as brochures on NSF's various research directorates, including the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, an infographic called, "Data by Design: Snapshot of NSF's Programs, Processes, Funding & Impact," and a video explaining NSF's merit review process. The materials were designed for consumption and use by the research community as well as the general public.

USDA Research Advisory Board Seeks Social Science Representative 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board is seeking nominations for eight vacant categories, including "National Social Science Association." The 25-member board advises the Secretary of Agriculture on priorities and policies concerning agricultural research, extension, education, and economics. Nominations are also being sought to represent the following categories: Farm Cooperatives, Plant Commodity Producer, National Aquaculture Association, National Food Science Organization, National Nutritional Science Society, 1862 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, and 1994 Equity in Education Land-Grant Institutions.


Nominations, consisting of the nominee's name, resume, a completed form AD-755 ("Advisory Committee Membership Background Information"), in addition to any letters of support, must be submitted by July 18. See the Federal Register notice for more information. 

Public Comment Sought on Federal Statistical Policy Directive 

On May 21, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a solicitation for public comment on a proposed new "Statistical Policy Directive: Fundamental Responsibilities of Federal Statistical Agencies and Recognized Statistical Units." The new directive is meant to assist OMB in its role as the coordinator of federal statistical agencies and "to affirm the long-acknowledged, fundamental responsibilities of Federal statistical agencies and recognized statistical units in the design, collection, processing, editing, compilation, analysis, release, and dissemination of statistical information." Public comment is due by July 21, 2014 and can be submitted online. The proposed directive can be viewed here.  The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics (COPAFS), a COSSA sister organization, issued comments on the directive earlier this month, which can be viewed here.

Census Bureau Calls for Nominations for Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations

On June 17, the Census Bureau announced a call for nominations for the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. The Advisory Committee "provides insight, perspectives, expertise and advice to the Director of the Census Bureau on the full spectrum of Census surveys and programs." It is also responsible for advising on "topics such as hidden households, language barriers, students and youth, aging populations, American Indian and Alaska Native tribal considerations, new immigrant populations, populations affected by natural disasters, highly mobile and migrant populations," and other issues.


For more information on the committee and application instructions, see the full announcement here. The deadline for applications is July 17, 2014. 

Nominations Solicited for National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality

The National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality seeks to fill seven seats to replace members whose term is expiring. The Council advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on matters related to AHRQ's activities to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care.


The Council is seeking candidates who are "distinguished (1) in the conduct of research, demonstration projects, and evaluations with respect to health care; (2) in the fields of health care quality research or health care improvement; (3) in the practice of medicine; (4) in other health professions; (5) in representing the private health care sector (including health plans, providers, and purchasers) or administrators of health care delivery systems; (6) in the fields of health care economics, information systems, law, ethics, business, or public policy; and, (7) in representing the interests of patients and consumers of health care."


Nominations are due before August 16, 2014. More information is available in the Federal Register

National Board for Education Sciences Discusses IES Funding Trends

On June 16, the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES) met to discuss a variety of topics, including the replacement of Institute of Education Sciences (IES) director John Easton, who has announced his retirement. The board discussed the skills needed in an effective IES director and decided to create a subcommittee to further look into the replacement process.


Easton provided an update on fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding for IES. In the current fiscal year, IES has awarded $41.1 million in new grants, $110 million in continuing awards, and $30 million for dissemination activities. The majority of the new awards have gone toward education research, which accounts for 49 grants totaling $27.3 million.


However, as has been noted in previous NBES meetings, the levels of funding appropriated to IES have been insufficient for supporting all highly-rated, qualified grants. So far this fiscal year, 32 grants that were deemed "excellent" could not be funded, and only 73.3 percent of eligible grants received funding. This is still an improvement over FY 2013, when only 60 percent of grants were funded. The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) has had a much tougher time in terms of funding, though. The NCSER is unable to fund any grants in FY 2014 due to inadequate funding, but they hope to fund two research competitions in FY 2015. 

NOtable PUblications & Community events

NAS Releases Assessment of National Children's Study 2014; NIH Director Puts Main Study on Hold

On June 16, the National Academies of Sciences' (NAS) Panel on the Design of the National Children's Study and Implications for the Generalizability of Results released its assessment of the National Children's Study (NCS). While the Panel endorsed a number of elements in the proposed design, "because of a lack of information and related reasons, concluded that achieving a scientifically grounded and cost-effective design and implementation for the Main Study will require an expansion of the scientific expertise in the [NCS] Program Office, the establishment of an authoritative multidisciplinary oversight structure to review the Program Office's decisions, and regular independent outside review." The NAS panel was chaired by Greg Duncan, University of California, Irvine.


The Panel made 21 recommendations dealing with the overall design of the NCS, proposed supplemental samples for the NCS; the loss of opportunity to recruit more prenatal cases if the preconception group is retained; the importance of beginning data collection during the prenatal period; probability sample design, size, and composition; content and visit schedule; release of the data; field costs; and leadership of the NCS.


Following the release of the NAS report, National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins released a statement indicating that he was putting the Main Study on hold, "effective immediately, in order to determine the best path forward." Read on for more details. 

New DBASSE Board on Science Education Director Announced

The Board on Science Education (BOSE) within the National Research Council's Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE) has announced its new director. On June 24, DBASSE Executive Director Robert Hauser announced the appointment of Heidi Schweingruber as the new director for BOSE. Schweingruber has been the deputy director of BOSE since 2008 and served as the study director for projects such as A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Before joining the National Research Council, Schweingruber was a senior research associate at the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education. 

CNSTAT Panel Publishes Report on "Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion"

The National Academies' Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) Panel on Measuring Social and Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion in Surveys has released its final report, Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion: Measuring the Dimensions of Social Capital to Inform Policy. Ken Prewitt, Columbia University and former COSSA President, chaired the panel. The report "provides working definitions of key terms; advises on the feasibility and specifications of indicators relevant to analyses of social, economic, and health domains; and assesses the strength of the evidence regarding the relationship between these indicators and observed trends in crime, employment, and resilience to shocks such as natural disasters. It weighs the relative merits of surveys, administrative records, and non-government data sources, and considers the appropriate role of the federal statistical system, making recommendations to improve the measurement of civic health through government surveys and identifying priority areas for research, development, and implementation." It is available to read and download for free on the National Academies Press website; print copies will be available shortly. 

Funding Opportunities

NIH: Research on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions

Chronic pain is a major public health challenge and affects approximately 100 million Americans and exacts large, economic, social, and personal costs. As such, it needs to be addressed at multiple levels including the generation of new scientific knowledge to enhance the understanding of these conditions. The conditions include, but are not limited to, chronic headache, migraine headache, temporomandibular joint disorder, generalized pain conditions, functional gastrointestinal disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, urologic chronic pelvic pain, vulvodynia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and osteoarthritis.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Research on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (PA-14-244) to encourage epidemiological, clinical, and translational research that will increase the understanding of the natural history, prevalence, biological mechanisms, psychological variables, and clinical risk factors responsible for the presence of multiple pain conditions in people with pain.


Participating NIH institutes, centers, and offices include the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH), Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Nursing (NINR), and the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).


Additional information is available on the NIH's website

COSSA Member Activities

Briefing Explores the Role of Social Work in Integrated Primary Care

On June 24, the Action Network for Social Work Education and Research (ANSWER) Coalition sponsored a Congressional briefing on the Role of Social Work in Integrated Primary Care. The ANSWER Coalition advocates on behalf of social work education, training, and research and counts three COSSA member organizations - the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Society for Social Work and Research - among its membership. The briefing was presented in cooperation with the Congressional Social Work Caucus, chaired by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA).


Darla Spence Coffey, Council on Social Work Education, welcomed attendees and moderated a panel discussion that focused on how the expertise of social workers can be an asset in integrating behavioral and mental health services into primary care. Coffey pointed out that a majority of mental health professionals in the U.S. are social workers. Victoria Stanhope, New York University (NYU) Silver School of Social Work, asserted that the core values of social work - self-determination, an environmental approach, focus on relationships and community, and commitment to social justice - make social workers uniquely positioned to lead the shift towards integrated care. Virna Little, Institute for Family Health, spoke from her experience working at a federally qualified community health center (FQHC) and suggested that the social workers' training gives them the flexibility to be able to play the many roles needed in an integrated care setting.


David Johnson, WellPoint Insurance, gave a payer's perspective. He noted that a lot of integrated care centers are funded by grants and donations, limiting the staying power of these resources. Furthermore, many insurance companies separate payments for mental health from primary care. State regulations regarding billing codes also present a barrier to holistic care. Johnson argued that care cannot be truly integrated if funding for it is segmented. Alexander Ross, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), highlighted some of the resources HRSA provides for social workers looking to work in integrated care, such as the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayments to social workers who practice in underserved communities; training offered by the Bureau of Health Workforce for mental health service providers who work with at-risk youth and high-demand populations; and resources and models for states to implement integrated care offered by the Center for Integrated Health Solutions (a collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). 

Consortium of Social Science Associations 

Governing Members  

American Anthropological Association 
American Association for Public Opinion Research 
American Economic Association 
American Educational Research Association 
American Historical Association 
American Political Science Association  
American Psychological Association 
American Society of Criminology 
American Sociological Association 
American Statistical Association 
Association of American Geographers 
Association of American Law Schools 
Law and Society Association 
Linguistic Society of America  
Midwest Political Science Association 
National Communication Association 
Population Association of America 
Society for Research in Child Development
Membership Organizations
Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences 
American Evaluation Association
American Finance Association
American Psychosomatic Society
Association for Asian Studies
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations
Association of Research Libraries
Council on Social Work Education 
Economic History Association
History of Science Society
Justice Research and Statistics Association
Midwest Sociological Society
National Association of Social Workers
North American Regional Science Council
North Central Sociological Association
Rural Sociological Society
Social Science History Association
Society for Anthropological Sciences
Society for Behavioral Medicine
Society for Empirical Legal Studies
Society for Research on Adolescence
Society for Social Work and Research
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Southern Political Science Association
Southern Sociological Society
Southwestern Social Science Association
Centers and Institutes

American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 
American Council of Learned Societies 
American Institutes for Research 
Brookings Institution 
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences 
Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research 
Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan 
Institute for Social Science Research, University of Massachusetts
Institute for Women's Policy Research 
NORC at the University of Chicago 
Population Reference Bureau
RTI International
RWJF Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico
Social Science Research Council
Vera Institute of Justice
Colleges and Universities  
Arizona State University
Boston University
Brown University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
Carnegie-Mellon University
University of Chicago
Clark University
Columbia University
University of Connecticut
Cornell University
University of Delaware
Duke University
Georgetown University
George Mason University
George Washington University
Harvard University
Howard University
University of Idaho
University of Illinois
Indiana University
University of Iowa
Johns Hopkins University
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
University of Maryland
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse
University of Michigan
Michigan State University
University of Missouri, St. Louis 
University of Minnesota  
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
New York University
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
North Dakota State University
Northwestern University
Ohio State University
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
University of South Carolina
Stanford University
State University of New York, Stony Brook
University of Texas, Austin
University of Texas, San Antonio
Texas A & M University
University of Virginia
University of Washington
Washington University in St. Louis
West Virginia University
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Yale University


    Executive Director:  Wendy A. Naus
Deputy Director:  Angela L. Sharpe
Assistant Director for Public Affairs: Julia Milton
Assistant Director for Government Relations: Josh McCrain
President:  James S. Jackson 


Address all inquiries to COSSA at  Telephone: (202) 842-3525


The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) is an advocacy organization promoting attention to and federal support for the social and behavioral sciences.


UPDATE is published 22 times per year.  ISSN 0749-4394.