AERA Submits Comments on OBSSR Strategic Plan

November 2015

On November 20, AERA submitted comments to the NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) regarding the office’s strategic plan for FY 2016 – 2020. AERA commended OBSSR for spearheading numerous initiatives that promote the association between health and education, citing several recent webinars hosted by OBSSR on cross-cutting topics; the office’s attention to STEM education; and its plans for a forthcoming meeting to address best practices for the use of health and education data in light of privacy considerations.  

In her letter, AERA Executive Director Felice Levine encourages OBSSR to continue to engage key stakeholders and the wider community through summits and town hall meetings as it develops its new strategic plan. She also urged OBSSR to explicitly include education research among the fields of social and behavioral sciences germane to health and well-being in the updated strategic plan. On behalf of AERA, Levine praised OBSSR for “the vital role it has played since its inception in advancing the social and behavioral aspects of health and the connections between all of the sciences that contribute to understanding the causes and consequences of health and illness.”

OBSSR is updating its strategic plan from 2007 and indicated in a public notice that it seeks broad public input as it considers how to address “the critical challenges in the behavioral and social sciences that currently hinder scientific advancement and that, if resolved, would have broad, transformative impact on the behavioral and social sciences.”