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Director’s Report to the 229th National Advisory Mental Health Council — September 23, 2011


I am pleased to welcome members of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), speakers and guests to our 229th meeting. In this report I will share with you information about new and ongoing initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).


As Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 is coming to close, NIMH is on track to fund 460 new and competing research project grants, which is well below the mean of the past 5 years. On February 14, 2011, the President submitted his FY 2012 budget request to Congress. The FY 2012 request for NIMH is $1.517 billion, an increase of $27.5 million, or 1.84 percent over the FY 2010 level and 2.64 percent over the FY 2011 level. The Budget Control Act, enacted on August 2, 2011, subsequently capped FY 2012 discretionary spending for non-security agencies at the FY 2011 enacted level, which is below the President’s FY 2012 budget request and nearly 1.0 percent below the FY2010 budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee has held a hearing and markup session on the President’s budget request for NIH, while the House Appropriations Committee has done neither. The Senate mark for NIH is $30.5 billion, a decrease of $190 million, or 0.6 percent below the full year FY 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR). We do not know when a final FY 2012 appropriation will be determined, although our fiscal year begins October 1. As in FY 2011, we expect to enter the fiscal year under a short-term CR.

NIH-Wide Updates

National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS)

The NIH Director has proposed a new institute to accelerate translational science. If approved by Congress, NCATS will be launched in FY 2012. Initially, NCATS will consolidate several NIH preclinical programs, including the National Center for Chemical Genomics, with the national clinical research effort known as the the Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSAs). The mission of NCATS is to catalyze the development of innovative methods and technologies that will enhance the development, testing, and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of human diseases and conditions. NCATS will support studies on the discipline of translation, such as efforts to re-engineer the drug development pipeline or to develop better tools for predictive toxicology. The President described the importance of NCATS in his speech on September 16, 2011. A search is underway for a Director of NCATS, co-chaired by the Directors of NIMH and NHGRI.

Diversity of the Biomedical Workforce
A recent paper published in Science (Ginther et al, 2011) described the results of an NIH-funded study of the ethnic and racial diversity of NIH grantees between FY 2000 and FY 2006. The study, limited to PhDs applying for R01 grants, found that 1.4 percent of over 40,000 applicants self-identified as Black, 3.2 percent as Hispanic, 16.2 percent as Asian, and 69.9 percent as White. There were significant differences in award probability by race and ethnicity, with applications from black investigators 13.2 percent less likely to be awarded. Controlling for university of the applicant, the applicant’s educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, and publication record did not eliminate this disparity. Indeed, after controlling for these confounds, Black applicants remained 10 percentage points less likely to be funded. In a policy paper in the same issue of Science, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. and Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D. discussed their concerns about these findings and suggested several remedies to this apparent disparity in funding, such as the Early Career Reviewer program to include more minority scientists on review panels. A new task force of the Advisory Committee of the Director will propose specific plans and policies to ensure the diversity of the biomedical workforce.

Department of Health and Human Services Seeking Comment on Possible Changes to the Human Subjects Regulations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that the Federal government is contemplating various ways of enhancing the regulations overseeing research on human subjects. Before making changes to the regulations, which have been in place since 1991 and are often referred to as the Common Rule, the government is seeking the public's input on an array of issues related to the ethics, safety, and oversight of human research. The changes under consideration can be found in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), Human Subjects Research Protections: Enhancing Protections for Research Subjects and Reducing Burden, Delay, and Ambiguity for Investigators, published in the July 25 Federal Register. The proposed changes are designed to strengthen protections for research participants. For more information, go to: ANPRM for Revision to Common Rule.

Financial Conflict of Interest
HHS issued a final rule in the Federal Register that amends the Public Health Service (PHS) regulations on Responsibility of Applicants for Promoting Objectivity in Research for which PHS Funding is Sought (42 C.F.R. Part 50, Subpart F) and Responsible Prospective Contractors (45 C.F.R. Part 94). Since dissemination of these regulations in 1995, the growing complexity of biomedical and behavioral research; the increased interaction among Government, research Institutions, and the private sector in attaining common public health goals while meeting public expectations for research integrity; as well as increased public scrutiny, have all raised questions as to whether a more rigorous approach to Investigator disclosure, institutional management of financial conflicts and federal oversight is required.

After considering all public comments, HHS developed the final rule resulting in major changes to the 1995 regulations. The 2011 Final Rule includes a de minimis threshold of $5,000 for disclosure (generally applies to payments for services and/or equity interests, including any equity interest in non-publicly traded entities); disclosure of all significant financial interests (SFI) related to the Investigator’s institutional responsibilities; and an expanded definition of income excluded from the disclosure requirement. Additional changes pertain to the types of SFI excluded from the disclosure requirement; travel reimbursements and sponsored travel; more detailed reporting of financial conflict of interest (FCOI) by the Institution to the PHS Awarding Component; new disclosure and FCOI reporting requirements involving Subrecipient Institutions/Investigators; public accessibility; FCOI training for Investigators; and retrospective review in cases of non-compliance with the regulations. Additional information regarding these important changes to FCOI rules, including compliance dates and a comparison of the 1995 regulations can be found in NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-11-109.

NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards
On September 20, 2011, Dr. Collins announced the 2011 recipients of the NIH Pioneer Awards. The Pioneer Award, inaugurated in 2004, aims to stimulate high-risk, high-impact medical research, by providing up to $500,000 per year for five years to a highly select group of individuals who have the potential to make extraordinary contributions to medical research. The 2011 Pioneer award recipients include:

  • Utpal Banerjee, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  • Brenda L. Bass, Ph.D., University of Utah
  • Jean Bennett, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • William M. Clemons, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
  • Florian Engert, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Andrew P. Feinberg, M.D., M.P.H., Johns Hopkins University
  • James E.K. Hildreth, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Davis
  • Tao Pan, Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • Sharad Ramanathan, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • David S. Schneider, Ph.D., Stanford University
  • Thanos Siapas, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
  • Andreas S. Tolias, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
  • Mehmet Fatih Yanik, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

NIH Common Fund Programs and Initiatives
The NIH Roadmap is a trans-NIH effort to support innovative science, stimulate interdisciplinary research and reshape clinical research to accelerate medical discovery and improve public health. Roadmap programs span all areas of health and disease research and boundaries of NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). These are programs that might not otherwise be supported by the NIH ICs because of their scope. Roadmap Programs are expected to have exceptionally high potential to transform the manner in which biomedical research is conducted. They are also expected to be short term, 5–10 year programs. This incubator space time frame is intended to allow the major roadblocks that were defined for each program to be overcome, thereby stimulating further research conducted through the ICs.

  • Molecular Libraries Program (NIMH Program Leads: Linda Brady, Ph.D., Ingrid Li, Ph.D.) The momentum has been built up to implement high-throughput screening (HTS) assays and chemistry projects from the research community to identify and optimize small molecule probes that will be distributed through the Molecular Libraries Program (MLP) website and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Bookshelf. As of July 2011, the MLP has selected 625 HTS assays for entry into the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Center (MLPCN) production pipeline in the program to date (2005-2011). The assay portfolio represents a wide range of biology related to various disease areas: cancer (27%); allergy and infectious diseases (23%); neuroscience (17%); general medical sciences (14%); diabetes, metabolic or endocrine (8%); heart, lung, or blood (6%); and other (5%). The HTS assay campaigns undertaken to date have led to more than 254 chemistry projects and generated 229 small molecule probes.
  • Science of Behavior Change (NIMH Program Leads: Shelli Avenevoli, Ph.D., Bettina Osborn, Ph.D.) The NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort is intended to lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. NIH awarded 10 grants in fiscal year 2010 in response to the request for applications (RFA) entitled Science of Behavior Change: Finding Mechanisms of Change in the Laboratory and the Field. Grantees are conducting behavior change research in a variety of disciplines, including behavioral economics, psychology, neuroscience, neuroeconomics, genetics, pediatrics and clinical medicine. The projects bridge work done in laboratories and in the field, and are intended to stimulate investigations of basic mechanisms at the social, contextual, behavioral, psychological, neurobiological or genetic level of analysis. NIH convened the first annual meeting of investigators in Bethesda, Maryland on June 20-21, 2011, and the speakers included NIMH-funded researchers such as B.J. Casey, Ph.D. from the Sackler Institute at Cornell, James Hudziak, M.D. from the Vermont College of Medicine, Elizabeth Phelps, Ph.D. from New York University and Kevin Ochsner, Ph.D. from Columbia University.
  • Single Cell Analysis (NIMH Program Leads: Andrea Beckel-Mitchner, Ph.D., David Panchision, Ph.D.) NIMH is working with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to coordinate a new Common Fund program dedicated to Single Cell Analysis. Many biological experiments are performed on groups of cells, under the assumption that all cells of a particular “type” are identical. However, recent evidence reveals that significant heterogeneity exists among individual cells within a population, and these differences can have important consequences for the health and function of the entire population. Experimental approaches that only examine population-level characteristics can obscure these crucial differences. New approaches to single cell analyses are needed to uncover fundamental biological principles and ultimately improve the detection and treatment of disease. Significant challenges currently exist with regard to systematically describing the “state” of a cell, defining normal cell-to-cell variation, measuring the impact of environmental perturbations, understanding cellular responses in the larger context of tissues and networks, and overcoming limitations in measurement approaches. This program seeks to overcome obstacles by supporting the development of innovative tools and analytical approaches and by accelerating the translation and uptake of single cell technology from the bench to the clinic.
  • Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) (NIMH Program Lead: Lois Winsky, Ph.D.) The LINCS program supports the high-throughput collection and integrative computational analyses of informative molecular and cellular signatures generated in response to a variety of perturbing agents through two pilot centers, the Broad Institute and Harvard. Two supplements were recently awarded to active NIH grants in an effort to infuse additional expertise and interests to the LINCS program, while bringing the LINCS resources and approaches to independent research groups. One supplement was to NIMH grantee Evan Snyder, M.D., Ph.D. to allow initial LINCS evaluation of iPSCs and derived neural stem cells from bipolar patients and controls. In addition, several U01 applications have been selected for funding consideration in response to RFAs aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the LINCS effort by building informatics and data analyses tools and novel technologies. A fall consortium meeting is planned to bring together the U54, U01 and supplement awardees in coordinating activities for the final two years of this pilot program.
  • Health Economics (NIMH Program Leads: David Chambers, D.Phil., Agnes Rupp, Ph.D.) The Health Economics Program was launched in the wake of national health care reform to support research on how specific features of the structure or organization of health care delivery organizations and reimbursement systems influence how health care technologies are adopted and combined by health care providers; it aims also to ascertain how they are applied or used for specific patients and how those features could be modified to enhance efficiency. The program, co-led by NIMH and NIA, has launched multiple RFAs on the economics of prevention, organization, structure and delivery of care, incentives to incorporate comparative effectiveness results into health care systems and knowledge to improve long-term care.

    Currently, the Program is seeking information on issues relating to the feasibility, scope and design of developing a State Health Policy Database (SHPD) to support scientific research on key research questions in health economics and to facilitate applied health economics research on issues relating to health care reform. The SHPD is envisioned as a research tool that will document state-level policies that facilitates valid comparisons across states and over time. This RFA seeks to identify specific policy areas for inclusion in the SHPD by identifying key research questions that could be addressed using policy information in particular areas, viable research designs that will allow those questions to be answered and additional data that are required to implement those research designs.
  • HMO Collaboratory (NIMH Program Lead: David Chambers, D.Phil.) In the context of health care reform activities, NIH is eager to step up the production of comparative effectiveness research (CER) and health systems analyses to develop faster, more personalized and cost-effective data regarding which interventions work best for whom. Several NIH Institutes support research involving health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Of note is the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) HMO Cancer Research Network (CRN), a network of 14 healthcare systems nationwide, started in 1999; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Cardiovascular Research Network; a network of 15 U.S. member health plans of the National HMO Research Network (HMORN), started in 2007; and NIMH’s recently initiated Mental Health Research Network (MHRN), started in 2010.

    Through Common Fund support, NIH intends to harmonize these efforts to maximize efficiencies and benefits by using high-throughput technologies and leveraging known economies of scale to facilitate new collaborative research activities across HMOs. The HMORN research organizations, because of their history of public sector research and their affiliation with leading integrated healthcare delivery systems, are ideally positioned to lead new research efforts in a number of cross-cutting NIH interest areas, including: mega-epidemiology studies, clinical trial enterprise and health care delivery.

    NIH, led by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and NIMH, is conducting a series of planning activities to explore current capacities of the HMORN research organizations in these areas and define collaborative opportunities that are likely to enhance these capacities and enable effective future collaborations.
  • Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA) (NIMH Program Leads: Roger Little, Ph.D., Chris Sarampote, Ph.D., Steve Zalcman, M.D.) The CTSA initiative assists institutions to create an integrated academic home for Clinical and Translational Science that has the resources to train and advance multi- and inter-disciplinary investigators and research teams with access to innovative research tools and information technologies that apply new knowledge and techniques to patient care. CTSAs attract basic, translational, and clinical investigators, community clinicians, clinical practices, networks, professional societies, and industry to develop new professional interactions, programs, and research projects. Through innovative advanced degree programs, CTSAs foster the discipline of Clinical and Translational Science that is broader and deeper than their separate components. In June the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) announced that 5 new CTSAs had been funded, extending the CTSA consortium to 30 states and the District of Columbia. The 5 new institutions are Pennsylvania State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City; University of Kentucky, Lexington; and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Adding these awardees brings the total number of CTSAs to our planned goal of 60. Another important award will go to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to initiate and run a coordinating center that will promote and facilitate collaboration, sharing and interaction among the CTSAs, as well as with other NIH-funded institutions and organizations.

NIMH Updates

Changes in the NIMH Division of Intramural Research Program
The Division of Intramural Research (IRP) is searching for a new Scientific Director. Dr. Richard Nakamura who led this program for nearly 5 years has been asked by Dr. Collins to serve as Acting Director of the Center for Scientific Review. In addition, Dr. Daniel Weinberger, who led the largest research program within the DIRP, departed in August, 2011. The DIRP is now down to 47 principal investigators, a decrease of 35% over the past decade. Importantly, 10 of the DIRP scientists are outstanding tenure track investigators, who have arrived in the past decade. Dr. Phil Wang is serving as Acting Scientific Director for the DIRP, with assistance from Dr. Rajesh Ranganathan and an administrative team assembled to help with the transition to new leadership.

White House Names NIMH a “Champion of Change” for Its Suicide Prevention Efforts
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was named by the White House as a “Champion of Change” on August 25, 2011, for its efforts in supporting research on suicide prevention. Jane Pearson, Ph.D., and Kevin Quinn, Ph.D., of NIMH accepted the award at a ceremony and roundtable event at the White House where they joined White House policy officials and others for a discussion of suicide prevention best practices. In addition to NIMH, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC); Suicide Prevention Action Network; SAVE Foundation; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; Blue Star Families; the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); the Creative Coalition; and the Trevor Project, all of whom are dedicated to preventing suicide, were honored.

Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative
On July 7, 2011 the journal Nature published the results of the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative, led by NIMH and the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases. This initiative led to identification of the top 40 barriers to better mental health around the world. Similar to past grand challenges, which focused on infectious diseases and chronic, non-communicable diseases, this initiative seeks to build a community of funders dedicated to supporting research that will significantly improve the lives of people living with mental, neurological and substance-use (MNS) disorders within the next 10 years.

NIMH Outreach Partnership Program Solicitation
The NIMH Outreach Partnership Program recently issued a solicitation for the selection of Outreach Partners in 26 states. Outreach Partners are selected through a competitive review process involving NIMH and other Federal agency staff and external experts in public education, health communications, disparities and community-based research. NIMH has received 48 proposals and plans to conduct review calls during the weeks of September 19 and September 26. Selection of Outreach Partners will be made by NIMH OPP staff based on reviewers’ scores and comments. The new Outreach Partners will begin their contract term (12 months with the potential for two option years) in January, 2012.

Recent NIH and NIMH Meetings of Interest

National Association for Rural Mental Health 2011 Annual Conference
NIMH sponsored a federal grant information session, led by P. Kim Pham, Ph.D. at the National Association for Rural Mental Health’s (NARMH) 2011 Annual Conference, in Dubuque, Iowa from June 22-25. The NARMH annual meeting focuses on rural and frontier mental health practice, research and public policy issues. The conference brings together rural clinicians, administrators, consumers, researchers and policy-makers.

Navigating Your Way through a Successful Research Career
ORDGMH hosted a workshop at the Neuroscience Center in Rockville, Maryland from July 5-6, 2011 entitled, Navigating Your Way through a Successful Research Career. Organized by LeShawndra Price, Ph.D., the workshop was designed to provide early stage investigators from diverse backgrounds with the tools necessary to continue along the path of competitive research support and transition to independence. The participants were recipients of NIMH Diversity Supplements and Re-Entry Supplements as well as trainees in the Intramural Research Program. NIMH staff and extramural research faculty led the participants through a series of sessions focused on leadership, key skills for success as a researcher, transitioning to independence, understanding NIMH and the grants review process, maintaining work-life balance, and articulating career goals and the steps needed to achieve them.

Improving Care for Child and Adult Behavioral Clients with Suicidal Ideation and Behavior in Emergency Department Settings Conference
On July 26–28, 2011, staff from the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR) partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), representatives from the Institute for Behavioral Healthcare Improvement and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the planning and coordination of a meeting to discuss suicide prevention in Emergency Department (ED) settings. The conference was held in conjunction with the National Suicide Prevention Center Lifeline Crisis Centers Conference. The goal of the meeting was to review the empirical basis and consider best practices for the assessment and care of children and adults with suicidal thoughts and behaviors who present to hospital EDs/urgent care settings. Related goals were to (1) identify the specific practices that not only lead to improve clinical outcomes, but also improve the satisfaction of clients and staff; and (2) identify ways to encourage the development of improvements in ED operations through the use of these practices. In order to achieve these goals, meeting participants represented an array of backgrounds/disciplines, including researchers, program administrators, policy makers, direct service providers and consumers.

NIMH Mental Health Services Research Conference
The Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch of DSIR hosted its 21st conference from July 27-28, 2011 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Conference chairs Susan Azrin, Ph.D. and Beverly Pringle, Ph.D. of NIMH, Jürgen Unützer, M.D., M.P.H., M.A. of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Ramesh Raghavan, M.D., Ph.D. of Washington University at St. Louis welcomed more than 300 participants to the meeting, including the nation’s leading mental health services researchers and leadership from NIMH and other NIH institutes and Federal agencies. The conference theme Improving Public Health in an Era of Change emphasized the essential nature of mental health to overall well-being, challenging participants to maximize the public health impact of their mental health services research.

NIMH Alliance for Research Progress
The Institute convened its fifteenth meeting of the NIMH Alliance for Research Progress (the Alliance) on July 29, 2011. The Alliance is a group of leaders from patient and family-related advocacy organizations directly concerned with brain disorders including, but not limited to, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and autism. This group meets twice a year to provide Alliance members with the opportunity to learn about scientific advances in mental health research, to discuss important information related to changes in the field and to engage in day-long direct dialogue with NIMH leadership through which they provide crucial input and feedback for the Institute. Presentations included a research update from Dr. Insel, mental health issues in the media, how to establish a learning mental health care system, strategic approaches to addressing drug discovery challenges and new initiatives to advance translational research.

NIH Training Institute in Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH)
In an effort to increase field capacity for dissemination and implementation (D&I) research, the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR), National Cancer Institute, NIMH and the VA sponsored a week-long summer training D&I institute in August 2011. Faculty and guest lecturers consisted of practitioners and teachers in theory, as well as implementation and evaluation approaches to D&I research. Top experts in the field, they led the creation of partnerships and multi-level transdisciplinary research teams and research design, methods and analyses appropriate for D&I investigations.

Autism Sequencing Consortium
On September 9, 2011, the NIMH Office of Genomics Research Coordination (OGRC) hosted a meeting to discuss the current state of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) genetics research and to develop recommendations for areas of future scientific focus. The Autism Sequencing Consortium comprises major national and international advocacy groups, funders, and researchers with the goal to support and conduct research to unravel the molecular constituents of ASD.

Closing the Gaps: Reducing Disparities in Mental Health Treatment through Engagement
On September 12-13, ORDGMH hosted a workshop at the Bethesda Hyatt entitled Closing the Gaps: Reducing Disparities in Mental Health Treatment through Engagement. Organized by Dana March, Ph.D. (ORDGMH) and Denise Juliano-Bult (DSIR), the goal of this meeting was to inform NIMH’s strategic investments in research to address mental health treatment disparities. ORDGMH solicited a wide range of ideas from a group of thought leaders regarding critical gaps in evidence, measurement issues, requirements for adaptation and scale-up of evidence-based interventions, and the prioritization of needs.

Twin Research Consortium
On September 15, 2011, OGRC hosted the third biannual meeting of the Twin Research Consortium (TRC). The TRC comprises Dutch and U.S. scientists who collaborate on studies that leverage the resources of the Netherlands Twin Registry (NTR) and similar longitudinal cohorts for a variety of genetic studies. This registry is of exceptional value, providing biospecimens from monozygotic and dizygotic twins with extensive phenotypic characterization and potential for longitudinal genetic studies. NTR biospecimens and associated phenotypes have been submitted to the NIMH Center for Collaborative Genomic Studies on Mental Disorders as a resource to the global investigator community. Discussions focused on the results and publication plans from investigations of existing projects, and on the development of a roadmap for possible future studies.

Grantee Awards and Honors

  • Elizabeth Buffalo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University received the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award in May 2011 for her work investigating neurophysiological signals that may underlie memory. Her recent work uncovered that a particular type of coordination among neurons (theta phase-locking and single unit firing) predicts better memory formation. This work is funded by NIMH grant R01-MH080007.
  • Perry Hoffman, Ph.D., President of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder received the 2011 Excellence in Community Mental Health Award by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at its national conference this July in Chicago. The award gives recognition to outstanding efforts by professionals who reach out to people living with mental illnesses in their own communities. Dr. Hoffman is also co-developer of Family Connections, a group psycho education course for families of a relative with borderline personality disorder.
  • Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington was recognized in TIME Books 100 New Scientific Discoveries for her breakthrough treatment for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, coined as Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
  • Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., Alfred E. Mirsky Professor at the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University is the recipient of the 2011 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience, awarded annually by the McGovern Institute for Brain Research to recognize outstanding advances in the field of neuroscience. Dr. McEwen was recognized for his contributions to our understanding of how hormones affect the brain. McEwen’s influence extends beyond his own work. Many of the leading researchers in the field of neuroendocrinology trained in his lab. He has also been an exceptional pubic advocate for brain health, is a regular advisor to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, and as president of the Society for Neuroscience, he launched the popular Brain Awareness Week program. The McGovern Institute will award the prize to Dr. McEwen on September 26, 2011.
  • Morphonix, LLC received the Creative Child Magazine 2011 Seal of Excellence Award in July for the songs they created for their web-based educational program “Every Body Has a Brain.” This NIMH SBIR-funded program is designed to teach children 4-6 years of age about the brain through songs, interactive stories and games. Floyd Blum, M.D., of the Scripps Research Institute, Eric Chudler, Ph.D., of the University of Washington Bioengineering Department, Art Toga, Ph.D., of UCLA’s Neurology Department and Warren Young, Ph.D., 3D Vision Systems, Inc are consultants for the company.
  • Brian Mustanski, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine was the 2011 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution by the Society for Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues, a division of the American Psychological Association (APA) at its 119th Convention in Washington, D.C. on August 6th. A central focus of his research is on the clustering of psychological, behavioral and physical health, particularly as they relate to HIV in vulnerable populations.
  • Matthew Nock, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University is a 2011 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “Genius Award” for his work on suicide and self-injury behaviors in adolescents and adults. He has made significant breakthroughs associated with the very basic question of why people harm themselves. Dr. Nock's research has markedly deepened our understanding of suicide and self-injury, with important implications for development of more effective treatment protocols.
  • Bonnie Zima, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Director of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute Health Services Research Center and Professor-in-Residence in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Elaine Schlosser Award for her 2010 paper Quality of Care for Childhood Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in a Managed Care Program. This award recognizes the best research paper on attention deficit disorder published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

NIMH Staff News


  • Alice Luo Clayton, Ph.D., accepted an assistant director for research position with the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) in New York City. Alice joined the Division of Developmental Translational Research in the fall of 2009 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. During her tenure at NIMH, she made significant contributions to division and institute programmatic goals through management of the Trajectories of Trauma, Anxiety, and Fear Program and through participation in the development and implementation of several initiatives and scientific workshops.
  • Rebecca DelCarmen-Wiggins, Ph.D., recently joined the Division of AIDS Research as a Program Officer in the Primary Prevention Branch of the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS. Dr. DelCarmen-Wiggins has been with NIMH since 1991, where she has served in various research areas including autism, infant and toddler disorders, emotion regulation and trajectories of neurocognitive functioning. Prior to that she was a recipient of the National Research Service Award (NRSA) and spent three years as a research postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology in the intramural program of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. DelCarmen-Wiggins received her Ph.D. degree in Clinical Child and Developmental Psychology from the Ohio State University.
  • Bonnie Dwyer retired in August after 42 years of service to the government. Having served in a number of administrative positions both within and outside of NIH, Ms. Dwyer most recently worked as a Program Specialist with Committee Management in the Division of Extramural Activities. She was instrumental in keeping meeting records organized and in handling reviewer affairs.
  • Gregory Farber, Ph.D., has been appointed Director of the Office of Technology Development and Coordination (OTDC). Dr. Farber oversees and coordinates all NIMH efforts related to research and development of technologies and scientific informatics to ensure a coherent strategic approach to the research, including implementing strategies to link data across new and existing NIMH and NIH data resources. He also serves as the chief contact and representative to all trans-NIH committees and groups involved in technology development and informatics (e.g., NIH Biomedical Informatics Coordinating Committee and NIH Human Connectome Project), oversees and coordinates the SBIR and STTR programs in each of the five NIMH extramural research divisions and directs and continues to develop the NIH National Database on Autism Research. Dr. Farber worked at NCRR for 10 years in various capacities, including Director of the Division of Extramural Activities.
  • Andrew Forsyth, Ph.D., recently left the Division of AIDS Research to become the Senior Science Advisor in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health where he will work with Deputy Assistant Director Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H. on implementation activities critical to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
  • Richard Nakamura, Ph.D. At the request of NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Nakamura accepted the position as Acting Director of the Center for Scientific Review while a national search is conducted for a new Director. Dr. Nakamura has served at NIMH as both Scientific Director and Deputy Director; he was also Acting Director of the Institute from 2001-2002. He joined NIMH in 1976, working first in the lab, then in extramural administration and later in senior policy and management positions. He’s received various professional and government awards, including the Presidential Rank Award for outstanding leadership.
  • Lisa Nichols, Ph.D., completed a year-long fellowship with the Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications (OSPPC) as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow. Before joining OSPPC, Dr. Nichols was a postdoctoral fellow in the NIMH IRP under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Berman. Moving forward, she is pursuing a second year as an AAAS fellow with the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board.
  • Dianne Rausch, Ph.D., was appointed Acting Director of the Division of AIDS Research in June. She joined the NIMH Office of AIDS Research in 1995, going on to become the Deputy Director for the Center for Mental Health Research of AIDS in 1997 and Deputy Director for the Division of AIDS Research in 2010. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and first joined NIMH in 1985 as a fellow in the Laboratory of Cell Biology in the Division of Intramural Research Programs.
  • Daniel Weinberger, M.D., Chief of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch and Director of the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program in the Division of Intramural Research Programs has left NIMH to lead the Lieber Institute for Brain Development at Johns Hopkins as its Chief Executive Officer. His research at NIMH has defined dysfunctional neural systems in the brain that appear to underlie many clinical symptoms of neurological disorders. He was instrumental in targeting abnormal brain development as a risk factor for schizophrenia: his lab identified the first specific genetic mechanism of risk for schizophrenia and developed the first high fidelity animal model of the disease. His lab also identified the first genetic effects that account for variation in specific human cognitive functions and in human temperament. He will continue to collaborate with his colleagues in the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch as a special volunteer.


  • Howard Nash, M.D., Ph.D., whose career in the Intramural Research Program at NIMH spanned more than four decades, passed away on June 12, 2011 in his home in Bethesda, Maryland. A senior investigator and Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Dr. Nash was renowned for his intellectual rigor in solving mysteries of genetic recombination and consciousness, as well as his scientific citizenship. He was a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. National Institute of Mental Health FY 2011 Full Year C.R.

National Institute of Mental Health FY 2011 Full Year C.R.

  NIMH FY 2011 Mechanism Table (Formulation)
  (dollars in thousands) 
  FY 2010 Actual
  Non-AIDS AIDS Total
  No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Noncompeting 1,380 552,936 170 93,910 1,550 646,846
Admin. Suppl (58) 6,431 (14) 4,193 (72) 10,624
Competing 489 199,373 66 32,960 555 232,333
Subtotal 1,869 758,740 236 131,063 2,105 889,803
SBIR/STTR 74 28,623 16 4,836 90 33,459
Subtot.,RPG 1,943 787,363 252 135,899 2,195 923,262
Research Centers 56 91,802 8 18,868 64 110,670
Careers 343 53,925 53 8,357 396 62,282
Coop. Clin. Res   485   0 0 485
Other 97 27,811 17 3,774 114 31,585
Subtot., Other 440 82,221 70 12,131 510 94,352
Total Res.Grants 2,439 961,386 330 166,898 2,769 1,128,284
Research Training: FTTP   FTTP   FTTP  
Individual 275 10,487 30 1,058 305 11,545
Institutional 606 28,068 74 3,683 680 31,751
Total Training 881 38,555 104 4,741 985 43,296
R&D Contracts 129 62,924 11 8,176 140 71,100
Included SBIR (2) (1,051)   (68) (2) (1,119)
Total, Extramural   1,062,865   179,815   1,242,680
  FTEs:   FTEs:   FTEs:  
Intramural Res 367 171,726 3 3,169 370 174,895
Res. Mgmt. & Supp 235 63,756 15 8,041 250 71,797
Total, NIMH 602 1,298,347 18 191,025 620 1,489,372
  NIMH FY 2011 Mechanism Table (Formulation)
  (dollars in thousands) 
  FY 2011 Continuing Resolution
  Non-AIDS AIDS Total
  No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Noncompeting 1,399 583,985 172 96,383 1,571 680,368
Admin. Suppl (48) 15,984 (8) 1,471 (56) 17,455
Competing 399 155,473 72 30,249 471 185,722
Subtotal 1,798 755,442 244 128,103 2,042 883,545
SBIR/STTR 75 29,310 12 4,948 87 34,258
Subtot.,RPG 1,873 784,752 256 133,051 2,129 917,804
Research Centers 54 87,486 9 19,818 63 107,304
Careers 328 51,612 58 9,221 386 60,833
Coop. Clin. Res            
Other 86 24,658 18 4,186 104 28,844
Subtot., Other 414 76,270 76 13,407 490 89,677
Total Res.Grants 2,341 948,508 341 166,276 2,682 1,114,785
Research Training: FTTP   FTTP   FTTP  
Individual 240 9,332 22 832 262 10,164
Institutional 607 28,616 72 3,626 679 32,242
Total Training 847 37,948 94 4,458 941 42,406
R&D Contracts 129 68,707 11 7,341 140 76,048
Included SBIR () ()   (51) () (51)
Total, Extramural   1,055,163   178,075   1,233,238
  FTEs:   FTEs:   FTEs:  
Intramural Res 365 166,817 3 3,078 368 169,895
Res. Mgmt. & Supp 244 65,965 11 8,194 255 74,159
Total, NIMH 609 1,287,945 14 189,347 623 1,477,292