Public Policy Briefs
Federal and Legislative Update for the Behavioral Sciences
APA Exhibits at DoD Hill Reception
APA joined 16 research-intensive universities at a May 22 reception and exhibit
featuring university research sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD). The
Capitol Hill event was organized to showcase the contributions of university
research to addressing national security needs and was designed to educate
members of Congress and their staff about the merits of DoD support for basic
Stephen Kosslyn, PhD, of the Harvard University Psychology Department,
represented psychological science at this event. The APA exhibit featured Dr.
Kosslyn's research sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Air
Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). The exhibit, 'DoD's
State-of-the-Art Technology: The Role of Psychological Research in Visual
Perception and Decision Making in a Complex Environment,' depicted how Dr.
Kosslyn's research is used by the military. For example, his ONR research on
perception and visual-spatial abilities led to the construction of tasks that
can weed out those who will not succeed as pilots. This screening, performed
before training begins, could save the military a considerable amount of money,
as wash-out rates during flight training are high.
This was the second Hill event that APA has participated in to inform the 104th
Congress about the value of federally supported psychological research. The
first, described in the last issue of Psychological Science Agenda, focused
on research supported by the National Science Foundation.
Search for NIMH Director Reopened
Following a long and unsuccessful effort, the search for a permanent director
of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is being readvertised, with
applications due by the end of August.
According to Harold Varmus, MD, Director of the National Institutes of Health,
he is now modifying the composition of the search committee in an attempt to
identify a new group of candidates who did not surface in previous efforts.
Dr. Varmus hopes to find the 'leader for the next 10 years' for NIMH, and in
order to do so, the search committee may need to look at less prominent
scientists with strong potential for leadership and breadth of expertise.
NIMH has been without a permanent director since Frederick Goodwin, MD, left
for George Washington University last April. Rex Cowdry, MD, has served as
the Acting Director of NIMH since that time.
Kenji Hakuta Appointed to First OERI Research Policy and Priorities Board
Education Secretary Richard W. Riley named Kenji Hakuta, PhD, APA Member and
Professor of Education at Stanford University, to be Cochair of the new
15-member National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board.
The Board was established with bipartisan support as part of the Educational
Research, Development, Dissemination, and Improvement Act of 1994 to develop
a long-term research agenda and to set priorities for the Office of
Educational Research and Improvement (OERI). Board Members will serve 6-year
terms with initial appointments randomly staggered.
Dr. Hakuta, an experimental psychologist, has conducted research on first- and
second-language acquisition, cognitive development, and bilingualism. He is
currently studying the adjustment patterns of Latino students with different
immigration histories. Most recently he chaired the Stanford Working Group on
Federal Education Programs for Limited-English Proficient Students, which
issues recommendations for Goals 2000. As Cochair of the National Educational
Research Policy and Priorities Board, Dr. Hakuta will play a significant role
in the future of educational research in America.
APA President Testifies on DoD Budget Request
Robert J. Resnick, PhD, APA President, testified before the House
Appropriations Subcommittee on National Defense on May 16. Dr. Resnick
presented a strong case for continued Department of Defense (DoD) support for
psychological research in the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Air Force
Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and the Army Research Institute (ARI).
APA's testimony supported the FY 1996 request for ONR and AFOSR, but urged an
increase for ARI, which faces another decrease in funds for basic research in
Last year, Congress eliminated $200 million from DoD-sponsored university
research. APA, along with the Association of American Universities (AAU), has
been working to convince Congress of the value of this research and its
contributions to meeting national security needs.
Kurt Salzinger Testifies on NSF and EPA Appropriations
Kurt Salzinger, PhD, member of APA's Board of Directors, testified before the
House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies on April
5. Dr. Salzinger's testimony focused on the FY 1996 budget request for the
National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency
Congressional Fellows Selected for 1995-1996
APA is pleased to announce the selection of the 1995-1996 APA Congressional
Fellows. Each fellow will serve a 1-year appointment, beginning September 1995,
as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or
Congressional Committee. The new Congressional Fellows are Steven Greene, PhD,
Assistant Professor, Princeton University; Michael Stevenson, PhD, Associate
Professor, Ball State University; Janette Benson, PhD, Associate Professor,
University of Denver; Alan Omoto, PhD, Associate Professor, University of
Kansas; and David Nickelson, who holds a JD/PsyD. Also serving as a Fellow will
be Margy Heldring, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Seattle. First selected as a
1994-1995 Fellow, Dr. Heldring deferred her fellowship due to a run for
Dr. Omoto will serve as the first-ever William A. Bailey AIDS Policy
Congressional Fellow. The Bailey Fellowship, jointly funded by the American
Psychological Foundation (APF) and APA, was established to honor the
contributions of APA staffer Bill Bailey to national AIDS/HIV and gay and
lesbian policy issues. Bailey died in April 1994 from complications due to
Dr. Benson's fellowship is funded through the Esther Katz Rosen Fund, which is
dedicated to the advancement and application of knowledge about gifted
children. The Fund is administered by APF.
For additional information about the Congressional Fellowship Program, contact
Andrea L. Solarz, PhD, at (202) 336-6067; or via e-mail at
APA Science Policy Fellow Extends Fellowship
The current APA Science Policy Fellow, Karen Kovacs, PhD, has been asked by the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to extend her
fellowship for another year. Dr. Kovacs, the first APA Science Policy Fellow,
has been at OSTP since September 1994. Her extension will run through August
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