February 2013 Issue • Volume 41 • Issue 2

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Science Policy

science policy

Americans in Worse Health than People in Other High-Income Countries

A report released in January from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine finds that Americans die sooner and are generally sicker than people in other high-income nations. This U.S. health disadvantage exists at all ages, and the trend is not concentrated only among the poor or racial minorities. Many of these health conditions disproportionately affect children and adolescents. On average, infants, children, and adolescents in the U.S. die younger and have greater rates of illness and injury than youth in other countries finds the report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. The report compared the United States with 16 peer nations, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and many western European countries. Americans ranked last or near-last in nine key areas of health: low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections; prevalence of HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and disability. The report examines the role of underlying social values and public policies in understanding why the United States is outranked by other nations on both health outcomes and the conditions that affect health, including relatively high rates of poverty and income inequality as well as lagging behind other countries in the education of young people.  More information can be found at www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13497.

The NHA Named Stephen Kidd the New Executive Director

Last fall, Stephen Kidd was recently named Executive Director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a coalition of more than 100 humanities organizations and institutions from around the country committed to advocacy for the humanities. Kidd comes to the Alliance most recently from the Smithsonian Institution, where he served as Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Associate Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Michael Brintnall, President of the NHA, said that the Alliance is delighted to bring on Stephen as the new director. Throughout his career, Kidd has focused on bringing humanities scholarship to both broad public audiences and policymakers. Kidd received M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies from George Washington University. His appointment as Executive Director of the National Humanities Alliance was effective September 4, 2012.

NIH Names New Director of The Center for Scientific Review

In December, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins announced the selection of Richard Nakamura as the new director for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR). Nakamura has been serving as the acting director since September 2011. He leads CSR’s

450 scientists and administrative staff, overseeing their efforts to manage 80,000 incoming NIH grant applications a year and review the majority of them in CSR peer review groups. Nakamura had a 32-year career at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he has served as both its Scientific Director and Deputy Director. He also was Acting Director of the NIMH from 2001 to 2002. During his time at NIMH, he received a number of leadership awards, including the prestigious Presidential Rank Award.He earned his PhD in psychology from the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

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