Six questions for Kate Sweeny

A psychologist shares her thoughts on a researcher’s role in advocating for science.

Kate Sweeny of the University of California, Riverside represented the American Psychological Association (APA) at the 24th Annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exhibition on May 9, 2018.  Kate’s work focuses on the anxiety associated with waiting for big news, like medical test results or the outcome of a job interview. APA staff asked her a few questions about her research and her experience communicating her work to policymakers on Capitol Hill.

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NIH announces new initiative to address opioid epidemic

Plan dovetails with APA recommendations to president’s opioid commission.

On April 4, 2018, Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced an ambitious new plan to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic.  Through the HEAL Initiative (Helping to End Addiction Long-term), NIH is nearly doubling its commitment to opioid research from $600 million in 2016 to $1.1 billion in 2018.

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Science fares well in FY 2018 appropriations bill

Funding is healthy, and NIH clinical trial policy is suspended.

[updated 3/27/18]

The congressional appropriations committees have labored mightily and produced a $1.3 trillion final funding bill for Fiscal Year 2018, the current fiscal year. In February Congress raised the budget caps that had made reaching agreement on a full year’s spending legislation difficult. With a two-year budget agreement and extra money in hand, the appropriations committees produced a bill that passed both houses of Congress and was signed by the President before the temporary funding bill expired.

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President’s Budget Picks a Few Science Favorites

But Congress Will Have the Last Word

There has been quite a bit of budget-related news this month.  Last week Congress passed a two-year agreement to raise the budget caps put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011, allowing for $312 billion in additional spending on defense and nondefense accounts in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019.  This is a major victory for research advocates who weighed in on many occasions about inadequate budgets.  Many were frustrated with years of sub-inflationary budget increases and long months during which the agencies operated on temporary funding authority, as they continue to do for FY 18 (through March 23). The budget agreement is not ideal, but it allows room for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to advance funding bills that promise to be friendlier to research budgets than the Continuing Resolutions have been (friendlier, too, than the Administration has been).  For example, the budget deal calls for an additional $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health over the next two years, though the FY 18 omnibus funding bill has not yet appeared for final action. See this update for more details on the budget agreement.

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FDA initiates review of all research with nonhuman animals

APA raises concerns about precedent, channels for scientific advice, and importance of animal models.

In a statement released on January 26, 2018, Scott Gottlieb, MD, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that he had initiated an “independent, third-party investigation of the agency’s animal research programs.”  However, he provided no details about who would conduct this investigation or what processes it would follow.

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We break down a potential shutdown: What will and won’t happen?

Yes, the federal government will likely shut down at midnight.

Temporary funding for the federal government will expire at midnight tonight (Jan. 19, 2018) unless both houses of Congress approve a temporary extension or a longer-term funding deal that includes several pieces of legislation that have been negotiated for the past couple of weeks. The House of Representatives yesterday approved a one-month Continuing Resolution (CR), the fourth since September 30, 2017, when the 2018 fiscal year began.

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