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OBSSR Releases Report on Education and Health Research
 
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November 2014

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health recently released a report of a workshop on “Education and Health: New Frontiers.” OBSSR convened clinicians and researchers in June 2014 to identify opportunities and gaps in the field and to develop strategies to ensure that education and health research remains a national priority. AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine served as an invited participant in the workshop.

As explained in the executive summary of the report: “Education and health are issues of national importance that affect the ability of the United States to remain competitive in a global environment. Education policies might be the most promising avenue of any social policy in improving the health of the nation because there is broad evidence of the causal impact on a broad range of health outcomes and because they are likely to be politically feasible and cost-effective.”

The workshop focused on four themes: (1) the nature of the causal relationship between education and health; (2) contextual issues involved in the relationship between education and health; (3) the need for more and better data in education and health; and (4) interventions in education and health.

Some of the most important topics considered were confounding variables to account for education and health outcomes; the influences—positive and negative—that health and education have on each other; and the need for interventions to be implemented in concert with ongoing research.

The OBSSR report recommended that education and health researchers cooperate to more effectively use existing data, develop common vocabulary and measures, and emphasize that “education policy is health policy.”

In the spirit of collaboration, Michael Spittel, a health scientist administrator at OBSSR, met with members of the AERA Government Relations and Research Advisory Committees last month during the 2014 Coordinated Committee Meeting to explore how OBSSR could work with AERA to advance the report’s recommendations.

 
 
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