FOOTNOTES SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2000
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Public Affairs Update

  • Kington to Direct OBSSR . . . . Based on an extensive search, NIH Principal Deputy Director Ruth Kirchstein announced the appointment of Raynard S. Kington (MD/PhD/MBA) as an Associate Director at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). Kington currently is the Director of the Division of Health Examination Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCES) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to joining the CDC, Kington was a senior scientist at RAND Corporation. His MBA/PHD in health policy and economics led to a long-term research interest in health economics, aging, and race and ethnic differences in health status and use of health care. Welcome Kington . . . more to follow for Footnotes readers.

  • Pampel Joins NSF and Sociology . . . . Effective in August, Fred Pampel (University of Colorado) joined NSF as Visiting Scientist and Director of the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). A Footnotes interview is scheduled to appear in November; meanwhile, Pampel is committed to outreach and a strong and vital sociology program. He can be reached at fpampel@nsf.gov.

  • Other Moves in Federal Posts for Social and Behavioral Science . . . . James Griffin has been detailed to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as the new Assistant Director for Social and Behavioral Science, Trained in psychology, Griffin is on loan from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) at the Department of Education, where he helped developed (along with counterparts at NSF and the National Institute on Child Health and Development) the Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI). Meanwhile psychologist Phillip Rubin has been named as Division Director for the Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division at NSF. Bringing a specialty in speech communication and administrative experience as chief operating officer at Haskins Laboratory, his expertise in neuroscience fits well with anticipated increases in that arena of work.

  • COSSA Contributes to NSF Initiative Planning . . . . The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) is convening a small research workshop on October 12-14, 2000 to help define the framework of a major, NSF-wide initiative in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. While grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, the ultimate initiative needs to command the involvement of the other science directorates. NSF Director Rita Colwell has reiterated her interest in this initiative for 2003. . . much remains between the cup and the lip, but there is reason for optimism with the social and behavioral sciences working together!

  • CBASSE Too Adds its Voice . . . . In a similar vein, the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (CBASSE) of the National Academy of Sciences is holding a one-day planning meeting on October 6 on future possibilities at NSF. This meeting is also directed to taking stock of the social and behavioral sciences research portfolio and considering the contours of framework for a major behavioral and social sciences initiative for 2003.

  • NRC Report Speaks to Need for Health-Related Scientists . . . . The National Research Council (NRC) released a report entitled Addressing the Nationís Changing Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists (that can be seen and ordered online at http://books.nap.edu/ or purchased directly through the National Academy Press). This product results from a Committee on National Needs undertaken at the request of the National Institutes of Health to assess the need for National Research Service Award (NRSA) training grants and fellowships and for research personnel in these sciences. For the social and behavioral sciences, the report acknowledges that job market opportunities are more favorable but concludes that current levels of PhD production are sufficient. Submitting a personal statement (see Appendix A), Committee member John Khilstron took issue with recommendations for the social and behavioral sciences, stating that in the health arena, the real and potential need for these sciences has hardly been tapped.

  • Celebrate Census 2000 Response Rate . . . and . . .Is a Fixed Term for the Director Likely. . . . Concerned citizens and data users alike can take pride in the success of Census 2000 returning a mail response rate of 67 percentóreversing a trend of decreasing mailed back responses since the all-mail census started in 1970 (a high of 78 percent in 1970, 75 percent in 1980, and 65 percent in 1990). The Bureau had projected only 61 percent for 2000. Hats off to the success of partnerships at the community level and the quality leadership provided by Director Kenneth Prewitt and the professionals at the Bureau. . . . As Census 2000 moves forward into its next phases, there seems to be broad based support for leaving partisan politics behind for the Bureau by setting a fixes term of office for the Census Bureau director. The Bureauís director is the only head of a major statistical agency in the United States who serves without a fixed term that spans presidential elections. More to come!