Announcements

  • May 2, 2016

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR), seeks a Health Scientist Administrator to manage and develop a portfolio of innovative grant-supported research and research training and identify scientific opportunities to generate new knowledge supporting the NIA mission, related to the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action (https://aspe.hhs.gov/national-plan-address-alzheimer%e2%80%99s-disease-2015-update).  

    The NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers at NIH, leads a broad scientific effort to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life.  BSR supports social, behavioral, and economic research and research training on the processes of aging at both the individual and societal level.  Health Scientist Administrators in NIA/BSR enjoy a scientifically energizing and collegial environment with opportunities to develop research initiatives; cultivate a portfolio of grant-supported research; lead and participate in transdisciplinary research collaborations; and develop scientific programming (e.g., symposia, special journal issues, conferences, and workshops).  

    The successful candidate will have primary responsibility for research and research training on formal and informal dementia caregiving, including long-term supports and services for persons with dementia, and services for their caregivers:  

    • Providing scientific administration at each stage of the grants process, including reviewing and approving progress reports;
    • Identifying significant research findings in areas of expertise, summarizing and explaining the results to NIA leadership and other audiences;
    • Proposing future program emphases, and drafting Funding Opportunity Announcements, based on knowledge of the scientific fields and NIA goals;
    • Communicating about NIA program emphases and the NIH grant process to prospective applicants and grantees;
    • Presenting and justifying funding plans to NIA leaders and the National Advisory Council on Aging;
    • Participating in initiatives related to the National Alzheimer’s Plan of Action, working with NIA and NIH colleagues, staff from other agencies, and stakeholders from the private sector and other levels of government.

    Candidate Qualifications

    PhD, MD, or doctoral equivalent in behavioral, social or population science (e.g., Social Epidemiology, Health Policy, Health Services, Psychology, Behavioral Medicine)  and several years of significant experience in research or research management.  Candidates should have strong writing, communication and interpersonal skills.  Experience with research and programs on long-term supports and services, long-term care, or health of informal caregivers will be an advantage.  Candidates must be US citizens.

    All applicants will receive consideration without regard to ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.    DHHS, NIH and NIA are Equal Opportunity Employers.

    The work site is in Bethesda, Maryland.  Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience; excellent benefits are offered.   The position likely will be posted at the GS-12, 13, and 14 federal government salary grades, with an annual salary between $77,490 and $141,555.

    For more information

    Interested parties should contact John Haaga at John.Haaga@nih.gov.  This is a pre-announcement of the vacancy which will be posted on www.usajobs.gov and applications must be submitted through that website to be considered.  All inquiries will remain confidential.

  • April 28, 2016

    Previous research has shown that aging affects cognitive ability, and that subtle sex differences in cognition exist across the lifespan. A recent observational study by Dr. Anna C. McCarrey and colleagues in NIA’s Intramural Research Program showed that cognitive ability in some, but not all, domains declines at a steeper rate for men than for women.

    NIA researchers followed participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging up to nine years on average. Participants ranged in age from 50 to 96, and were free of cognitive impairment throughout the course of the study. Participants periodically took memory and other cognitive tests that assessed mental status, visuospatial ability, verbal learning and memory, perceptuomotor speed and integration, and other cognitive skills.

    Initially, men outperformed women on the two tests of visuospatial ability, and women did better than men on several other cognitive tests. Men showed overall steeper rates of cognitive decline in areas of mental status, perceptuomotor speed and integration, and visuospatial ability. None of the measures showed significantly steeper declines for women. This suggests that women have a greater resilience to age-related cognitive decline than do men.

    The researchers note that societal changes may contribute to these sex differences as they have resulted in greater improvements in cognitive stimulation, financial prosperity, and health for women. In addition, sex differences in cognitive aging may be affected by differences in brain structure and function, which tend to show more favorable outcomes for women at advanced ages. Further research is needed to link longitudinal brain changes to cognition in older men and women.

    Reference: Sex Differences in Cognitive Trajectories in Clinically Normal Older Adults. Anna C. McCarrey, Yang An, Melissa H. Kitner-Triolo, Luigi Ferrucci, and Susan M. Resnick. Psychology and Aging. 2016 Apr 13; 31(2):166-175. doi: 10.1037/pag0000070.

     

  • April 5, 2016

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR), seeks a population or social scientist to be a Health Scientist Administrator in the Population and Social Processes Branch.  The HSA will manage and develop a portfolio of innovative grant-supported research and research training and identify scientific opportunities to generate new knowledge supporting the NIA mission.

    Major duties:

    • Providing scientific administration at each stage of the grants process, including reviewing and approving progress reports;
    • Identifying significant research findings in areas of interest, summarizing and explaining the results to NIA leadership and other audiences;
    • Proposing future program emphases, and drafting Funding Opportunity Announcements, based on knowledge of the scientific fields and NIA goals;
    • Communicating about NIA program emphases and the NIH grant process with prospective applicants and grantees;
    • Presenting and justifying funding plans to NIA leaders and the National Advisory Council on Aging;
    • Participating in NIH- and department-wide research initiatives as approved;
    • Depending on qualifications and experience, serving as Project Scientist for one or more of the major longitudinal data resources supported by BSR, such as the Health and Retirement Study or the National Health and Aging Trends Study. 

    Candidate Qualifications:

    Ph.D. in a relevant discipline in social or population science (e.g., Demography, Sociology, Economics, Social Epidemiology, Health Policy) and several years of successful experience in research or research management.  Excellent oral and written communications skills are required.  Candidates must be US citizens.

    All applicants will receive consideration without regard to ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

    The work site is Bethesda, Maryland.  Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience; excellent benefits are offered.  The position will likely be posted at the GS-12, 13, and 14 federal government salary grades, with an annual salary between $77,490 and $141,555.

    For more information:

    Interested parties should contact John Haaga at John.Haaga@nih.gov.  This is a pre-announcement of the vacancy which will be posted on www.usajobs.gov and applications must be submitted through that website to be considered. All inquiries will remain confidential.

  • April 5, 2016

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR), seeks a senior population or social scientist to serve as Chief of the Population and Social Processes Branch. The Branch Chief will lead a talented group of professionals and foster innovative grant-supported research and research training supporting the NIA mission.

    Major Duties include:

    • Supervising and providing scientific leadership to four professional staff members managing BSR's research and research training grants in the population and social  sciences;
    • Evaluating progress, assessing scientific opportunities, and proposing future program emphases in support of the NIA mission;
    • Communicating NIA program emphases and NIH process to diverse audiences;
    • Presenting and justifying funding plans to NIA leaders and the National Advisory Council on Aging;
    • Identifying significant research findings from grants managed by the branch and communicating results to NIA leadership and other audiences, both professional and public;
    • Serving as Program Officer for a portfolio of research and research training grants in areas of particular interest and expertise;
    • Serving as or supervising the NIA Project Scientist of one or more of the major longitudinal data resources supported by BSR, such as the Health and Retirement Study or the National Health and Aging Trends Study. 

    Candidate Qualifications:

    The ideal candidate will possess a Ph.D. in a relevant population or social science discipline (e.g., Demography, Sociology, Economics, Social Epidemiology, Health Policy) and demonstrate successful experience in research or research management.  He/she will be a good communicator.  Candidates must be US citizens.

    Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience; excellent benefits are offered.  All applicants will receive consideration without regard to ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. The position will likely be posted at the GS-15 federal government salary grade, with an annual salary range of $128,082 to $160,300.

    For more information:

    Interested parties should contact John Haaga at John.Haaga@nih.gov.  This is a pre-announcement of the vacancy which will be posted on www.usajobs.gov, and applications must be submitted through that website to be considered. All inquiries will remain confidential.

  • April 5, 2016

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA), Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR), seeks a behavioral or social scientist to serve as Deputy Director of the Division.  BSR manages an active program of grant-supported research and research training supporting the NIA mission.

    Major Duties include:

    Assisting the Director in management and scientific leadership of an extramural research program spanning the behavioral and social sciences related to health and aging.

    Representing the Division or NIA as a whole in scientific conferences, committees, workshops and ad hoc meetings.

    Managing the process of assigning applications to program officers across the division, negotiating those involving shared interests with other divisions, and working with the Division of Extramural Activities and other divisions to assess the match between applications and NIA research emphases. 

    Managing a scientific portfolio of grants and cooperative agreements in her or his own area of expertise, developing research initiatives, providing advice to potential applicants and grantees, keeping abreast of the relevant scientific literature, and advising NIA senior leadership on scientific opportunities and research priorities.  This part of the work will be implemented in close association with one of the division's two scientific branches.

    Supervising the Program Specialist and Extramural Support Assistant providing administrative support to all components of the division.

    Coordinating and/or drafting division responses to inquiries from Congressional, departmental, NIH, or public sources, and request for comments on policy documents and reports.

    Managing special projects as agreed with the Director, such as conducting evaluative reviews of the NIA portfolio of grants in selected scientific areas or grant mechanisms, developing and coordinating the division's input into major NIH- or government-wide initiatives, or developing new initiatives that cut across organizational boundaries within NIA or NIH.

    Candidate Qualifications:

    The ideal candidate will possess a PhD, MD, or doctoral equivalent in behavioral, social or health sciences and demonstrate successful experience in research or research administration relevant to aging.  Candidates must be US citizens.

    Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience; excellent benefits are offered.  All applicants will receive consideration without regard to ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. The position will likely be posted at the GS-15 federal government salary grade, with an annual salary range of $128,082 to $160,300.

    For more information: 

    Interested parties should contact John Haaga at John.Haaga@nih.gov.  This is a pre-announcement of the vacancy which will be posted on www.usajobs.gov, and applications must be submitted through that website to be considered. All inquiries will remain confidential.

  • March 18, 2016

    The Division of Behavioral and Social Research congratulates Drs. Anne Case and Angus Deaton on their selection as winners of the Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Case and Deaton's article, "Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century" is one of six papers published in 2015 to earn this distinction.

    The paper reported that deaths among white U.S. men and women aged 45–54 rose significantly between 1999 and 2013, reversing decades of progress in mortality; the change was unique to non-Hispanic whites in the United States. Morbidity rates increased as well, with self-reported declines in health, mental health, and abilities to conduct activities of daily living, accompanied by increases in reports of chronic pain, inability to work, and deterioration of liver function.

    The Cozzarelli Prize acknowledges papers that reflect scientific excellence and originality. The award was established in 2005 and named in 2007 to honor late PNAS Editor-in-Chief Nicholas R. Cozzarelli.

    This year's award winners will be recognized during the PNAS Editorial Board Meeting and the NAS Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony on May 1, 2016, in Washington, DC.

  • February 25, 2016

    When prescribed correctly, antibiotics can be very effective in treating a variety of bacterial infections. However, U.S. clinicians often prescribe antibiotics to patients with non-bacterial infections, particularly those with acute viral respiratory tract infections, a practice that has important repercussions. Not only are antibiotics ineffective against non-bacterial infections, they may also be associated with unpleasant side effects or allergic reactions. And, over-prescription is a significant cause of population-level antibiotic resistance.

    In an NIA-funded randomized clinical trial involving 248 primary care clinicians, Dr. Jason N. Doctor, of the University of Southern California, and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of three different behavioral interventions in an attempt to affect prescribing practices:

    • The accountable justifications intervention prompted clinicians to write justifications for antibiotic prescriptions in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), following a notification that antibiotics may not be right for the patient. This was associated with an 18.1 percent decrease in inappropriate prescriptions.
    • The peer comparison intervention ranked physicians on the number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions they wrote. Those with the highest inappropriate prescribing rates received e-mail messages informing them that they were not “top performers” compared to others in their region who wrote fewer inappropriate prescriptions. The e-mail included the number and proportion of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions they had written compared to the top performers. This tactic reduced inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by 16.3 percent.
    • The suggested alternative intervention presented a pop-up message on the EHR indicating that antibiotics may not be right for the patient and suggesting a more appropriate alternative. This was associated with a 5 percent decrease in inappropriate prescriptions.

    Over the 18-month intervention period, the overall number of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions decreased by 11 percent from baseline. The researchers note that while the study sample was relatively small and depended on the use of EHRs, the use of accountable justification and peer comparison behavioral interventions resulted in meaningfully lower inappropriate prescribing rates and might be useful tools to improve the quality of care by individual clinicians.

    Reference: “Effect of Behavioral Interventions on Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescribing Among Primary Care Practices: A Randomized Clinical Trial” by Daniella Meeker, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016 Feb 9;315(6):562-70. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.0275.

  • February 11, 2016

    In the United States, as many as 5.2 million people age 65 and older are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and these numbers are expected to rise with an aging population. However, a new NIH-funded study showed a progressive, decades-long decline in dementia incidence (newly reported cases) among older people in Framingham, Mass., and examined factors that may influence this trend.

    The report appeared online February 10, 2016, in The New England Journal of Medicine. It was conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine and colleagues.

    Researchers following thousands of older volunteers participating in the NIH-funded Framingham Heart Study reported a steady decline in new cases of Alzheimer’s and related dementias over several decades. They tracked the cognitive status of 5,205 volunteers age 60 and older at 5-year intervals during four periods in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. They also examined how age, education, and vascular risk factors such as blood pressure might influence dementia rates.

    Their findings suggest that while the number of people with dementia may be rising due to the aging population, the risk of dementia may have been decreasing in high-income communities such as Framingham. They found:

    • There was a progressive decline in dementia incidence, at any given age, with an average reduction of 20 percent per decade since the 1970s.
    • The amount of education appeared to play a significant role in dementia risk. Among volunteers with at least a high school diploma, dementia incidence declined by 22 percent by the 1980s, 38 percent the 1990s, and 44 percent by the 2000s when compared to the first decade. They also noted that more study participants graduated from high school as the study progressed.
    • A parallel trend in improved cardiovascular health (with the exception of obesity and diabetes) over the decades may have influenced the decline in dementia prevalence. Again, this cardiovascular health improvement was seen only among volunteers who had graduated from high school.
    • The average age at which dementia was diagnosed rose from age 80 in the 1970s to age 85 in the 2000s.

    The researchers note that these findings suggest that higher education levels, along with treatment of vascular disease, may have helped delay the onset of dementia. They emphasized that these factors, however, did not explain all of the observed decline, and that more research is needed to fully understand the factors underlying lower incidence of dementia.

    The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute on Aging, both components of the NIH.

    Reference: Satizabel CL, et al. Incidence of dementia over three decades in the Framingham Heart Study. New England Journal of Medicine. Published online Feb. 10, 2016.

  • February 1, 2016

    The UC Davis RCMAR (Latino Aging Research Resource Center) and the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center will be hosting a Cognitive Aging Conference at UC Davis on March 16.

    The goals of the conference are to present a framework for scientific research on cognitive aging in diverse populations, highlight research progress resulting from training efforts of the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADC), Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR), and NIH Support for Scientific Conferences (R13) and promote ADC and LARRC resources for the scholar and pilot programs.

    Dr. Carl V. Hill, will be giving an update on Diversity and Health Disparities Research. The morning session will also provide an overview and guiding principles on cognitive aging research and includes notedresearchers from UC Davis, UC San Francisco and Kaiser. The early afternoon session will highlight the important contributions to the field of research from RCMAR scholars and R13 trainees. The conference will end with a panel discussion, moderated by Dan Mungas, PhD, UC Davis with panelists discussing critical issues for the future of cognitive aging research.

  • January 25, 2016

    Emerging researchers, including those with limited involvement in research on aging, are invited to apply for the next Butler-Williams Scholars Program, to be held July 25-29, 2016, at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD.

    Sponsored by NIA, the 5-day program will explore research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to racial/ethnic minorities and health disparities. The agenda will include:

    • lectures covering the biology of aging; genetics and Alzheimer’s disease; and health, behavior, and aging
    • discussion sessions focusing on methodological approaches and interventions
    • consultation on the development of research interests
    • advice on preparing and submitting research grant applications to NIA

    Applications and letters of recommendation are due by March 25, 2016.

    Learn more about the Butler-Williams Scholars Program and access the online application form.

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