Fourth Science Advocacy Workshop Focuses on NIH

Fourth Science Advocacy Workshop participants
Workshop participants (left to right): Jack A. Naglieri, PhD, Ohio State University; Brett Laursen, PhD, Florida Atlantic University; Lynne Cooper, PhD, University of Missouri; Thomas Achenbach, PhD, University of Vermont; Karen Christoff, PhD, University of Mississippi; James H. Bray, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine; Kathryn Urberg, PhD, Wayne State University; Lawrence Gaines, PhD, Vanderbilt University; Leona Eggert, PhD, University of Washington; and Thomas Berndt, PhD, Purdue University. (Photo by Charles Votaw.)

Ten research psychologists traveled to Washington, DC, November 16-18, to attend the fourth Science Advocacy Workshop, sponsored by the APA Public Policy Office and the Science Directorate. The focus of the workshop was on advocating for adolescent research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to having an impressive research portfolio, each participant lives or works in a state or district whose congressional representative is on a budget committee or an authorization or appropriations subcommittee overseeing NIH.

During the 2-day workshop, the psychologists participated in discussions and presentations on the federal legislative process (including the important role of constituents), grassroots advocacy efforts, NIH's organization, activities of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, as well as current and future NIH appropriations and authorization issues. They also learned how to communicate effectively with their federal legislators and the media.

The group met with Chris Bachrach, PhD, Chief of the Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch of the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, and David McMillen, Professional Staff on the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, to discuss agency and policy issues.

On the second day of the workshop, participants visited their representative's and senators' offices on Capitol Hill where they learned first-hand their value to the political process as experts, researchers, and academicians. When James H. Bray, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, visited the office of Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX), and Brett Laursen, PhD, Florida Atlantic University, visited the office of Sen. Connie Mack (R-FL), they discovered that the staff had just returned from meetings concerning increases to NIH funding. Kathryn Urberg, PhD, Wayne State University, agreed to help arrange a visit for her legislator to an institute on her campus. Following the Capitol Hill meetings, the workshop participants were urged to make appointments with their legislators at their home offices during upcoming recesses.

The most recent workshop participants were the latest of a growing cadre of psychologists that APA has brought to Washington for intensive advocacy training. They form the nucleus of an expanding network of researchers committed to forging and maintaining ties with their Washington legislators so that they can influence policy critical to federal support for psychological science. For more information, contact Geoff Mumford, PhD, in PPO, or Merry Bullock, PhD, in the Science Directorate.

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