October 20, 2014      Volume 33, Issue 19

In This Issue
Social Scientist among National Medal of Science Winners
SMRB Continues Discussion of Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science
NCHS Brief Looks at Depression and Obesity
Public Comment Period for Healthy People 2020 Open through November 7
National Academies SBS Policy Roundtable Seminar, "Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government" -- October 30
2015 MCAT Includes New Social and Behavioral Sciences Section
NSF: RAPID Proposals Sought to Address Ebola Crisis
DOD: 2015 Minerva Deadline Extended
SPSSI Seminar Explores the Psychology of Human Rights


Social Scientist among National Medal of Science Winners

On October 3, President Obama named the winners of the 2014 National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation.  Among the recipients of the National Medal of Science is University of Michigan political scientist Robert Axelrod, honored for his work on the "evolution of cooperation," which holds applications for conflict de-escalation. Dr. Axelrod will be awarded the Medal of Science at a White House ceremony later this year.

SMRB Continues Discussion of Pre-College Engagement in Biomedical Science

During its October 14 meeting, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) continued its examination of the NIH grant review, award, and management process, and its discussion of the evidence base for successful approaches for pre-college biomedical science programs designed to strengthen the biomedical workforce pipeline.  Clyde Yancy, chair of the SMRB's Working Group on Pre-college Engagement in Biomedical Science (PEBS) presented the group's draft report to date, including findings and recommendations. The NIH's charge to the SMRB is for it to recommend ways to optimize NIH's pre-college programs and initiatives that align with the agency's mission and ensure a continued pipeline of biomedical science students and professionals  (see Update, July 28, 2014). 


Read on for more details.

NCHS Brief Looks at Depression and Obesity

A new data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) examines the relationship between obesity and depression. It found that 43 percent of adults with depression were obese and that adults with depression were more likely to be obese, particularly women. In addition, as the severity of depression symptoms increased, so did the proportion of those with obesity. And over half of people whose symptoms were not relieved by medication were obese. The report observes, "It is not clear whether depression or obesity occurred first because they were both measured at the same time. Other studies have shown a bidirectional relationship, meaning obesity increases risk of depression and depression increases risk of obesity." The data is drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005-2010.

Public Comment Period for Healthy People 2020 Open through November 7

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments regarding new objectives proposed to be added to Healthy People 2020.  The previous public comment period occurred in fall 2013. The proposed new objectives to be included in one of the 42 existing Healthy People 2020 topic areas are: 
  • Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions
  • Early and Middle Childhood
  • Heart Disease and Stroke
  • Maternal, Infant, and Child Health
  • Tobacco Use 

Healthy People 2020 also seeks suggestions of additional objectives for consideration that address critical public health issues within the existing 42 topic areas of Healthy People 2020.  To participate in the public comment period, visit HealthyPeople.gov. Comments will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. ET on November 7, 2014.


National Academies SBS Policy Roundtable Seminar, "Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government" -- October 30

The National Academies Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences will conduct at its next meeting a seminar and discussion on stimulating effective innovation in government. The seminar will be held from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, 2014, in Room 120 of the National Academy of Sciences building at 21st and Constitution Avenue, N.W. The Policy Roundtable is chaired by David Ellwood, Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.


Presenters will include Scott Cody, Vice President, Mathematica Policy Research; Robert Gordon, The Brookings Institution; Evelyn M. Kappeler, Director, Office of Adolescent Health; Robert Slavin, Chairman of the Board, Success for All Foundation; Howard Rolston, Abt Associates; and Mark F. Testa, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Presentations will focus on how innovations are stimulated, how we can learn whether they produce positive impacts, and how to use the lessons of innovations to manage, reshape, and expand programs. Among the programs to be discussed are Investing in Innovation (i3) and Race to the Top in the Department of Education, Public Assistance and Child Welfare waivers and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Department of Agriculture.


The seminar is open to the public, but registration is required. More information on the Policy Roundtable is available here or from Miron Straf at mstraf@nas.edu.

2015 MCAT Includes New Social and Behavioral Sciences Section

Starting in spring 2015, the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) will test prospective medical students' knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences. The MCAT2015, the first update to the MCAT since 1992, includes a new section on "Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior."


Read on for more information. 


NSF: RAPID Proposals Sought to Address Ebola Crisis 

The National Science Foundation has issued a Dear Colleague Letter requesting research proposals "to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebola, educate about prophylactic behaviors, and encourage the development of products, processes, and learning that can address this global challenge." NSF's Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism will be used to fund the proposals. 

DOD: 2015 Minerva Deadline Extended

As previously reported, the Office of the Secretary of Defense within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has issued the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the 2015 Minerva Research Initiative, DOD's signature social science research program. DOD recently extended the deadline for the 2015 competition. White papers are now due November 10 and full proposals are due February 10. See the BAA for full details.

SPSSI Seminar Explores the Psychology of Human Rights

The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), a COSSA member, held the last seminar in its 2014 series, Psychological Insights into Legislative Issues, on October 8. The topic was "Who Cares about Human Rights? The Psychology of Human Rights Support," and featured Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Sam McFarland of Western Kentucky University.

Read on for more on the seminar.

11th Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research, American Educational Research Association, October 23, 2014

Measuring Dimensions of Subjective Well-Being: The Role of Official Statistics, National Academies Committee on National Statistics, October 24, 2014


Stimulating Effective Innovation in Government, National Academies Policy Roundtable of the Behavioral and Social Sciences, October 30, 2014


NSF Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Advisory Committee Fall Meeting, October 30-31, 2014


The City: 2014 Behavioral and Social Science Summit, Stanford University, November 8, 2014


A list of COSSA member conferences and annual meetings can be found on the COSSA website.

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 Empirical Legal Studies
Society for Research on Adolescence
Society for Social Work and Research
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Society of Behavioral Medicine
Southern Political Science Association
Southern Sociological Society
Southwestern Social Science Association  
Centers and Institutes

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Political and Social Sciences 
American Council of Learned Societies 
American Institutes for Research 
The 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
Social Science Research Council
Vera Institute of Justice

Colleges and Universities  
Arizona State University
Boston University
Brown University
Carnegie-Mellon University
Clark University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Duke University
The George Washington University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Howard University
Indiana University
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Michigan State University
New York University
North Dakota State University
Northwestern University
The Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Stanford University
State University of New York, Stony Brook
Texas A & M University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Chicago
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri, St. Louis
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Carolina
University of Texas, Austin
University of Texas, San Antonio
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Washington University in St. Louis
West Virginia University
Yale University


    Executive Director:  Wendy A. Naus
Deputy DirectorAngela L. Sharpe
Assistant Director for Public Affairs: Julia Milton
President:  James S. Jackson 


Address all inquiries to COSSA at newsletter@cossa.orgTelephone: (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.