Celebrating successes and next steps for the Science of Behavior Change Program

We all know first-hand how tough it can be to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors, even though we know that poor health behaviors account for a good portion of the disease burden in the United States.

 

In response to this challenge, NIH launched the Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund Program in 2009. The program was established with two major long-term goals: 1) to promote a systematic approach to discovering the mechanisms underlying successful behavior change, and 2) to provide blueprints for developing behavior interventions that could reliably improve health outcomes.

 

Over the past 10 years, under the leadership of co-chairs Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director, NIA; and Dr. Patricia Grady, former director, National Institute of Nursing Research, SOBC has hosted several scientific workshops and annual meetings of investigators and supported 48 awards and administrative supplements. You can learn more about the work of SOBC’s network of researchers in special issues of Behavioural Research and Therapy (February 2018), Health Psychology Review (February 2020), and Health Psychology (September 2020).

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Special Issue: The Science of Behavior Change: Implementing the Experimental Medicine Approach

A pioneering collaboration between 10 prestigious institutions across the nation has released a special issue of Health Psychology that proposes groundbreaking approaches to uncover basic behavioral processes that influence behavior change. This collaboration involves researchers at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research of Northwell Health, Columbia University, Medical University of South Carolina, Oregon Health & Science University, SUNY Downstate Health University, Yale University, University of California Berkeley, University of Connecticut, Harvard University, and Boston University.

 

In this special issue, the authors unveil nearly a dozen scientific tests of basic behavioral processes and two commentaries covering diverse scientific areas in behavior change interventions. They describe how investigative teams are using the experimental method to advance our understanding of what drives human behavior, such as medication adherence, mindfulness training, and episodic future thinking. Importantly, each scientific team describes how they have adhered to Open Science processes in the conceptualization and implementation of their project. With this new knowledge, researchers can move beyond a trial-and-error approach to develop powerful evidence-based tools that improve behavior change interventions across a wide range of human behavior.

 

Research Opportunity: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Emergency Competitive Revisions for Research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Notice Number: NOT-RM-20-015

Release Date: April 27, 2020
First Available Due Date: April 15, 2020
Expiration Date: June 20, 2020

Issued by Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)

Purpose

The Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC), which manages the Common Fund, is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to stimulate innovative research on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). OSC seeks new, innovative perspectives and approaches to the prevention of, preparation for, or response to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, domestically or internationally. The funding for this supplement is provided from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, 2020.

OSC is therefore offering Emergency Competitive Revisions to active Common Fund grants and cooperative agreements addressing the research objectives described below.

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Can Mindfulness Evolve From Wellness Pursuit to Medical Treatment? | New York Times Magazine

Roughly a third of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It’s a condition that can be largely controlled with diet, exercise and medication, yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only about half of the 75 million people who have high blood pressure manage to keep it in check. In November, Eric Loucks, director of the Mindfulness Center at the Brown University School of Public Health, and colleagues published a study in Plos One, a science journal, that put forward a possible solution: an eight-week mindfulness-based program.

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New NIH Adherence FOAs published

These new funding opportunities on Adherence direct people to SOBC resources and encourage their use:

Improving Patient Adherence to Treatment and Prevention Regimens to Promote Health

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-18-722.html  –  R01

https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-18-723.html  – R21

 

This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is being issued by the NIH Adherence Network through the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) with participation from multiple NIH Institutes and Centers. This FOA calls for research grant applications which address patient adherence to treatment and prevention regimens in healthcare to promote health outcomes. This FOA accepts applications that either propose or do not propose a clinical trial(s).

Applications under this FOA are encouraged, but not required, to apply approaches and tools developed under the NIH Common Fund’s Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Program. These include: use-inspired basic research on mechanisms of change at multiple levels of analysis; assays for self-regulation, interpersonal processes and stress that have evidence as malleable targets for behavior change (see https://osf.io/zp7b4) developed under the SOBC program; and an experimental medicine approach which requires a clear a priori specification of the intended mechanistic target(s) of an intervention, and methods that test the degree to which an experimental manipulation or intervention engages those targets.

For more information about the SOBC program, please see: https://commonfund.nih.gov/behaviorchange.

 

Journal of Behaviour and Research Therapy, Special Issue on the Science of Behavior Change

Members of the SOBC research network collaborated on a newly published special issue in the Journal of Behaviour and Research Therapy titled, Special Issue on the Science of Behavior Change (Feb. 2018). This issue introduces readers to the SOBC network, provides examples of how the mechanistic, experimental-medicine approach to behavior change research is currently being implemented, and showcases emerging research within the network. The issue features seven papers focusing on the vital research of the network members. This work spans important and diverse topics that are each highly relevant to progress in the SOBC mission, including all of the following (and more): the ontology of self-regulation; the ingredients of mindfulness; the most promising stress response targets for interventions; self-efficacy, executive function, temporal discounting as mechanisms by which stress may affect health behaviors; coercive interpersonal relationships; self-regulation in children; and virtual reality measures of self-regulation. read more »