NAMHC Minutes of the 268th Meeting
September 20 and September 21, 2022
Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Advisory Mental Health Council
The National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) held its 268th meeting at 12:00 pm, September 20, 2022, via Zoom and NIH videocast. In accordance with Public Law 92-463, the session was open to the public until approximately 4:00 pm, followed by the closed session on September 21, 2022, beginning at 12:00 pm for consideration of grant applications until adjournment at approximately 2:54 p.m. Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), presided as Chair for both sessions.
Council Members Present
- Edwin (Ted) Abel, III, Ph.D.
- Laura Almasy, Ph.D.
- Marjorie Baldwin, Ph.D.
- Pamela Collins, M.D., M.P.H.
- David Goldstein, Ph.D.
- Kamilah Jackson, M.D.
- Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D.
- Joel Nigg, Ph.D.
- Matthew Nock, Ph.D.
- Bryan Roth, M.D., Ph.D.
- Joseph Telfair, DrPH, M.P.H.
- Sophia Vinogradov, M.D.
- Hongkui Zeng, Ph.D.
Council Members Absent
- Patricia Recupero, M.D., J.D.
Department of Veteran Affairs (Ex Officio Member)
- Amy Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H.
- Anita Everett, M.D. , DFAPA
Others present at Open Policy Session (Appendix B)
Others present at Closed Grant Review Session (Appendix B)
OPEN PORTION OF THE MEETING
- Open Policy Session Call to Order & Opening Remarks, Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. (NIH Videocast @00:04)
NIMH Director Dr. Joshua Gordon opened the virtual videocast NAMHC meeting and welcomed Council members, NIMH staff, NIH staff, and members from various stakeholder communities. No public comments were received prior to the meeting.
Following a review of virtual meeting procedures, the Council unanimously passed a motion approving the final Summary Minutes of the June 2022 meeting.
- NIMH Director’s Report, Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. (NIH Videocast @04:40)
- Recent Legislative and White House Activities
Dr. Gordon said that, in June 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 , which proposed expanded and modified access to mental health services and would reauthorize many programs within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through 2027. Also in June, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to increase support for community and school-based violence prevention and mental health programs. Additionally, in July, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy hosted NIMH Intramural Research Programs (IRP) investigator, Carlos Zarate, M.D., in a virtual discussion on research and medication development for treatment-resistant depression.
- Analysis of NIMH Applicant Demographics
Dr. Gordon reviewed eventual award rates1 of NIMH grant applicants by demographic characteristics. There has been an increase in the number of applications NIMH has received, with eventual award rates around 20%. Across genders, applicants have seen a similar eventual award rate, although the number of applications received with male PIs continues to be slightly higher than those with female PIs. Over the last few years, the eventual award rate for White and Black investigators has converged. NIMH has aimed to increase the number of applications from investigators from minoritized groups and has seen an increase in the number of applications received from Black investigators in the last five years. In examining ethnicity, the eventual award rates for Hispanic and non-Hispanic investigators appear to converge as we approach 2021.
- Budget and Appropriations Updates
On June 30, 2022, the House Appropriations Committee advanced a draft bill to fund the fiscal year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations, which would increase the NIH budget by $2.5 billion and the NIMH budget by $211 million above the FY 2022 enacted level. On July 28, 2022, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its bill to fund the FY 2023 LHHS appropriations. This bill would increase the NIH budget by $2 billion and the NIMH budget by $116 million above the FY 2022 enacted level.
- Announcements from HHS and NIH
Dr. Gordon announced several NIH leadership changes. Kevin Williams was appointed Director of the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. President Biden announced his intention to appoint Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D., as the inaugural Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an independent entity within NIH. President Biden also announced his intention to appoint Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., as the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NIH appointed Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., as Acting Deputy Director for Intramural Research. In June 2022, James Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., retired from his role as the Director of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director. Anthony Fauci, M.D., announced his intention to retire in December 2022 from his roles as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), Chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden.
On June 7, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra participated in two roundtable meetings with high school students and their parents to discuss the impact of social media on mental health. On June 6, 2022, the NIMH-funded Accelerating Medicines Partnership – Schizophrenia (AMP® SCZ) researchers began enrolling study participants. AMP® SCZ is a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), pharmaceutical and life science companies, non-profits, and other organizations. The AMP® SCZ program is managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to conduct biomarker studies to predict the risk of psychosis and other mental illnesses. In addition, the NIH All of Us Research Program released new health data from nearly 20,000 individuals who had severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), which will support research in disease prevention, progression, and recovery. Finally, Dr. Gordon noted that the NIH Common Fund is soliciting ideas for new scientific programs and that responses are due September 30, 2022.
- NIMH News to Know
NIMH recognized National Suicide Prevention Month through an NIMH guest blog of the September 2022 NIH Director’s Blog . NIMH released two Notices of Special Interest (NOSIs) for research focused on crisis response services and the implementation of evidence-based practices in community-based and general medical settings . The NOSIs aim to support the implementation of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline . In August 2022, NIMH hosted the 25th National Conference on Mental Health Services: Transforming Challenges into New Opportunities. NIMH also announced its second annual James Jackson Memorial Award recipient, Karen Lincoln, Ph.D., who was honored for her research on mental health disparities. Dr. Lincoln presented their research in an NIMH webinar during Minority Mental Health Month. In August 2022, NIMH participated in the NIH Diversity Supplement Professional Development & Networking Workshop , which provided a networking opportunity for 45 NIMH Diversity Supplement Scholars. On July 13-14, 2022, the Interagency for Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) held a Strategic Plan Working Group meeting to discuss the development of their 2021-2022 IACC Strategic Plan.
Dr. Gordon highlighted several changes in NIMH staffing. Christina Borba, Ph.D., was selected to serve as Director of the NIMH Office of Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity (ODWD) and Dr. Lauren Hill will serve as the Acting Deputy Director of ODWD. Within the NIMH IRP, Christopher Bartley, M.D., Ph.D. joined as the Chief of the Translational Immunopsychiatry Unit and Tonya White, M.D., Ph.D., will serve as the Chief of the Section on Social and Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience. Dr. Gordon also acknowledged two retiring NIMH staff—Miles Herkenham, Ph.D., from his role as Chief of the IRP Section on Functional Neuroanatomy, and Scott Young, M.D., Ph.D., from his role as Chief of the IRP Section on Neural Gene Expression.
- Science Highlights
Dr. Gordon shared three science highlights. In the first study2 , researchers sought to understand the relationship between patterns of neural activity and memory formation among adolescents who were being treated for epilepsy. Participants completed a memory recognition task while the researchers recorded neural activity via electrodes that had been surgically implanted to monitor seizure activity. The researchers found that both slow and fast theta activity interacted with the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity during memory formation. However, slow theta activity was slower and fast theta activity was faster among the top-performing older adolescents (aged 15 to 17 years). Using diffusion tensor imaging, the researchers determined that the interaction between age and performance was also correlated with the greater maturity in white matter tracts connecting the MTL to the PFC. These findings extended existing models of memory development, demonstrating that two brain regions involved in memory formation interact via increasingly dissociable mechanisms as memory improves with age.
Dr. Gordon described a second study3 , which was focused on the epidemiology of racial and ethnic disparities in late-life depression severity across regions of the United States. There are well-known disparities in late-life depression among Black and Hispanic individuals; however, the study showed that these disparities are not uniform. The likelihood of severe late-life depression is approximately 20% higher among Black and Hispanic individuals than White individuals in the Northeast and nearly twice as likely among Black individuals than White individuals in the Midwest. No racial and ethnic disparities were observed in late-life depression severity within the Southeast and West.
Finally, Dr. Gordon reviewed a study4 conducted by NIMH IRP researchers which built on previous research showing how disruptions in regular light exposure can influence mood through disruption of the brain's inhibitory networks within the thalamic perihabenular nucleus. The researchers found that perihabenular neurons were connected to a larger network of inhibitory thalamic and subthalamic neurons and extended to create synapses on thalamic excitatory neurons. When light and dark cycles were disrupted, the inhibitory neurons in the perihabenular thalamus also disrupted daily oscillations of genes associated with inhibitory and excitatory PHb signaling, resulting in increased excitatory neural activity during rest. The study also showed that chronic alterations in the inhibitory networks in the perihabenular thalamus can lead to behavioral manifestations of mood deficits.Discussion
Following Dr. Gordon’s update, Council members inquired about the data on diversity among NIMH investigators and the perceived lack of data on gender expression and disability status. Dr. Gordon clarified that NIMH is only allowed to ask applicants questions that are defined by federal policy. However, he also indicated that there is an effort in the federal government to expand the demographic categories so that applicants can provide more nuanced information.
- Recent Legislative and White House Activities
- NIMH 75th Anniversary: NAMHC Update, Phyllis M. Ampofo, M.P.H., CHES, NIMH Legislative Director (NIH Videocast @47:32)
Phyllis Ampofo previewed some events that will commemorate the NIMH 75th anniversary. The year-long celebration will kick-off in September 2023 and events will highlight historical advances, NIMH-supported discoveries, and challenges facing the mental health fields. The Communications Workgroup for the event plans to share feature stories, podcasts, videos, interviews, investigator features, social media events, and a commemorative booklet. The Events Workgroup has organized three full-day events focused on scientific advance and community involvement, and events will take place both virtually and in person. There will be several opportunities for stakeholder engagement, including stakeholder-initiated events, a Congressional event with constituency organizations, and a 75-second NIMH exhibit that can be shared at stakeholder annual meetings. Ms. Ampofo invited attendees to email the event team with any activities or information relevant to the 75th anniversary.Discussion
Following Ms. Ampofo’s presentation, Council members asked about the types of stakeholders that the event team is looking to engage. Ms. Ampofo clarified that stakeholders were not limited to the scientific community and could include individuals and organizations such as professional organizations, patient and family organizations, and people with lived experience.
- NIMH Listening Sessions with Extramural Investigators of Color, Lauren Hill, Ph.D., Acting Deputy Director, ODWD, and Shelli Avenevoli, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NIMH(NIH Videocast @57:37)
Dr. Hill provided background for the decision to hold listening sessions with NIMH extramural investigators. NIMH staff had noticed a persistent, marked gap in funding success between Black and White extramural principal investigators. To understand this disparity, NIMH held a series of focus group discussions in May and June 2020 and a webinar in January 2021.
In both the focus groups and the webinar, participants were self-selected into groups by career stage. Dr. Hill summarized both the thematic content and the tone of the sessions. The overall tone of the trainee’s focus group was grounded and appreciative. Trainees talked about negotiating systemic challenges; defending their competence and merit; and taking on extra diversity, equity, and inclusion work. They discussed the critical role of mentors for minoritized trainees, and some mentioned the challenges of finding a mentor aligned with their research interests. Trainees also described NIMH as a “black box” and expressed the need for more outreach, training, and understanding of how NIMH operates. Compared to trainees, early-stage investigators expressed increased levels of distress and frustration. They talked about instances of exploitation, structural barriers, and limitations of diversity mechanisms that focus on training and end at the transition to career independence. They also spoke about the emotional cost of having to re-submit applications multiple times. The tone among established investigators was the feeling of being overburdened and overcommitted. Participants expressed concerns regarding a perceived lack of appropriate expertise within peer review (for certain areas of science such as health disparities and minority mental health research), lack of diversity among NIMH staff, and systematic devaluation of cultural and traditional knowledge. Like the established investigators, senior investigators were successful academics, many of whom had highly productive research track records funded by non-NIMH sources. The tone among senior investigators and program directors was strident and cynical. They cited negative interactions with program officers, pressure to assimilate to the dominant culture, and an erosion of trust. Despite the difficult topics and candid presentations of often distressing professional experiences, participants also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to be heard by NIMH leadership.
Dr. Hill then presented a set of common themes identified as barriers to funding success that arose in the listening sessions across all career stages. Common barriers included perceived bias in the peer review processes, often manifesting as a preference for institutional or investigator pedigree and giving established, well-funded investigators the “benefit of the doubt.” Participants also discussed the “minority tax,” comprising of competing demands of high levels of committee service, mentoring minoritized students and trainees, uncompensated diversity work, and social or professional isolation or unequal access to institutional resources. Another barrier discussed was inadequate NIH mechanisms to support the time and resources needed to conduct community-based research, and the lack of inclusion of these efforts in promotion and tenure metrics. Finally, participants also discussed NIMH’s perceived prioritization of biological science over social determinants of health that frequently impact mental health disparities and minority mental health outcomes.
Dr. Avenevoli reviewed some of the efforts that NIH and NIMH are taking to address these challenges and noted that NIMH is committed to change. The NIMH ODWD is focused on promoting mental health equity, reducing mental health disparities, and diversifying the mental health research workforce. Additionally, NIMH’s Antiracism Task Force and IRP are focused on reducing racism and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the internal NIMH workforce. NIMH is working with NIH across broad efforts to increase workforce diversity and inclusion. For instance, NIMH participates in the UNITE Initiative to identify and address structural racism within NIH and across the scientific community. NIH recently created the Chief Officer of Scientific Workforce Diversity Strategic Plan , a five-year plan that aims to build, disseminate, and act on evidence to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Additionally, NIH is also developing its NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility .
NIMH is committing to building NIMH leadership and staffing structures in place to lead and support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility efforts. As previously mentioned, Dr. Christina Borba was hired as the new Director of ODWD, and Dr. Lauren Hill was named the Acting Deputy Director of ODWD. The NIMH IRP has also hired a Scientific Diversity Advisor, Christine Piggee, Ph.D.. NIMH plans to recruit a Chief Scientific Diversity Officer. NIMH’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility has been discussed in various forums.
Dr. Avenevoli highlighted some specific initiatives within NIH and NIMH to address concerns about bias in peer review. The NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) has developed a website describing its commitment and actions to mitigate this bias. Their activities span four key areas: bias awareness and mitigation training, reporting avenues for bias, broadening the reviewer pool, and exploring blinded review processes. The CSR reviews the majority of grant applications, though NIMH routinely reviews approximately 25% of NIMH-assigned applications via our NIMH-constituted Scientific Review Groups and special emphasis panels. These enhancements include adding language to communicate NIMH’s commitment to ensure that diverse perspectives are represented in funding, providing updates on funding rates by race and ethnicity to Council, and ensuring a better distribution of funds through Special Council Review policy changes.
To address concerns about inequity in access to resources, NIMH released special funding opportunities, diversity supplements, and joined the Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA) to expand support for pre-Kindergarten – 12th-grade education. NIMH also jointly-hosted with other ICs, the NIH Diversity Supplement Professional Development and Networking Workshop and joined the NIH-wide 21st Century Scholars Program , which provides mentoring to enhance the diversity of program and scientific review officers. NIMH also participated in NIH’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST), a program that promotes the hiring of and support for a diverse cohort of new faculty. NIMH also requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives for many of its Funding Opportunity Announcements. Finally, NIH has a new program that will focus on providing grants to institutions to support their institutional climate assessments and the development of action plans for cultural change.
To address the “minority tax,” NIH released a funding opportunity focused specifically on offsetting this burden by providing funds for outstanding mentors committed to diversity and inclusion.
Additionally, NIMH is addressing the disconnect between its research priorities and the interests of many investigators from racial and ethnic groups. To better understand these research interests, NIMH conducted a series of webinars and workshops and released a Request for Information. The information was synthesized to develop a set of research priorities focused on community-based research and disparities. NIMH also created an Institute-wide Mental Health Disparities Team to work across all areas of science and added new language to the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. In addition, Dr. Avenevoli talked about NIMH’s leadership role in the Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS), an initiative to address structural factors underlying health disparities, and announced a webinar on minority mental health and health disparities research.
Dr. Avenevoli emphasized that the work is a “marathon, not a sprint” and that NIMH will continue to monitor the effects of their programs and identify additional opportunities to enhance workforce diversity.
Following the presentation, Council members collectively praised NIH and NIMH’s steps to address a systemic problem. Council members provided suggestions for going forward, such as providing evidence of change as a result of these efforts, ensuring that participants of the listening sessions contribute to ongoing evaluations of activities, developing a specific portfolio for social determinants of health and understanding social interventions, reviewing successful models of programs for early scholars to improve current training programs, and considering a focus on resiliency factors that reduce the burden of mental illness.
- Concept Clearances
Integrating Data and Implementation Science to Accelerate HIV Prevention, Treatment, and Care, Lori Scott-Sheldon, Ph.D. (NIH Videocast @2:09:27)
Dr. Scott-Sheldon presented a concept to challenge conventional data and implementation science approaches to identify more targeted HIV prevention and implementation strategies. Specifically, the concept seeks to determine if data science can improve implementation effectiveness and if implementation planning can improve intervention efficacy to prevent or treat HIV. In addition, this concept calls for an integration of team science and systems science practices to identify the prevention, treatment, diagnosis, and response required for a more targeted, meaningful, and sustained impact on the HIV epidemic.Discussion
Discussants: Marguerita Lightfoot, Ph.D., and Joseph Telfair, Dr.PH, M.P.H.
Both discussants expressed support for the concept and provided some suggestions. Dr. Lightfoot suggested considering how to ensure community partners will feel respected and valued as part of the team and collecting data with an equity lens to provide a balanced view. Dr. Telfair recommended providing a semi-structured list or examples of what methods are being sought, as well as consideration for who will do the actual work.
- Individually Measured Phenotypes to Advance Computational Translation (IMPACT), Jennifer Pacheco, Ph.D. (NIH Videocast @2:24:19)
Dr. Pacheco indicated that this concept aims to identify clinically meaningful phenotypes that are informative for individual-level prediction of psychopathology. The field is currently based on symptom-based categories that are not as informative as they could be for individual-level prediction of psychopathology. By using data-driven categorization with viable precision medicine approaches, clinical decisions can be made with greater accuracy, higher confidence, and potentially more efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The concept also aims to develop the next generation of behavioral tasks demonstrating individual predictability, thus generating more specific and less biased clinical phenotypes to enrich precision medicine approaches in diagnostics, prognosis, and treatment decisions.Discussion
Discussants: Joel Nigg, Ph.D., and Laura Almasy, Ph.D.
Both discussants were in favor of the concept. Dr. Nigg suggested applying the new algorithms not only to new phenotypes but also to existing phenotypes and behavioral measures. In addition, he recommended considering how the algorithms would be implemented in practice. Dr. Almasy suggested ensuring that the resources are representative of diverse populations and that there are efforts to avoid bias.
- Developing Tools to Inform Treatment Selection in Depression, Michele Ferrante, Ph.D. (NIH Videocast @2:37:19)
Dr. Ferrante said that the goal of this concept is to support the development of accurate, easy-to-use, accessible tools to predict individual responses to a variety of treatments for depression. These tools have the potential to reduce the lengthy trial and error process and help patients access treatments more likely to result in desired responses. To achieve this goal, this concept would support a phased innovation pipeline of sequentially integrated preliminary studies to assess the clinician utility of the prediction tools.Discussion
Discussants: Sophia Vinogradov, M.D., and Matthew Nock, Ph.D.
Both discussants expressed excitement over the concept. Dr. Vinogradov cautioned that there should be a consideration for embedding predictive tools in a clinical workflow. She also suggested considering best practices for data harmonization and integration, as well as the potential for data to inform clinical practices in populations with limited access to more complex treatments. Dr. Nock suggested that the focus on depression might be broadened to include other disorders. He also talked about the potential for using patient self-report data to develop patient characteristic profiles that inform precision treatment rules. Dr. Gordon added that self-report measures may be widely available in large datasets but may also be unlikely to rise to the level of predictivity needed for these tools.
- Experimental Strategies to Evaluate How Environmental Exposures Contribute to Human Disease in the Context of Climate Change, Richard Woychik, Ph.D., Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH Videocast @2:53:34)
Dr. Richard Woychik described the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) mission, which is to discover how the environment affects people to promote healthier lives. The vision of NIEHS is to provide global leadership for innovative research that improves public health by preventing disease and disability. Dr. Woychik highlighted the NIEHS focus on the prevention of exposure to negative elements of the environment that impact health.
“Environment” is a broad concept that encompasses a range of exposures, such as pollutants, pesticides, and agricultural chemicals in products, as well as the lifestyle factors that influence exposure, such as diet, exercise, smoking, or stress. Inter-individual genomic heterogeneity also impacts environmental exposure (i.e., exposure that makes one individual sick may not affect another). In addition, there are inter-individual differences in how environmental exposure influences epigenetic regulation—the way genes are expressed in response to cellular functions, such as methylation or histone translation. Understanding the interactions between environmental exposures, genetics, and epigenetics has advanced the concept of precision environmental health, which aims to understand the individual risk of disease and its prevention strategies.
Dr. Woychik discussed the impact of environmental exposure on mental health outcomes. Research has demonstrated that exposure to pesticides, air pollution, heavy metals, and endocrine disruptors can result in behavioral changes and increased risk of certain mental disorders. For instance, maternal exposure to the endocrine disruptor di-2-ethlyexyl phthalate, a chemical in many personal care products, is associated with an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Additionally, the mental health research community has been increasingly interested in the gene-by-environment effects of environmental exposure. For example, in a recent series of studies looking at the gene CHD8, which is one of the 50+ genes that have been found to be associated with autism spectrum disorder, researchers generated data that suggested that individuals carrying a CHD8 mutation are sensitized to exposure to common pesticides like chlorpyrifos. Additional experiments will be necessary to more fully understand all of the genetic variations that have the potential to influence mental health responses to different environmental exposure.
There are potentially hundreds of genetic variants that can be responsible for environmental exposure response and identifying them will be challenging. NIEHS is currently working with the International Common Disease Alliance (ICDA) to develop strategies to incorporate environmental exposure data into their framework. Specifically, NIEHS is working closely with researchers from the NIH All of Us Research Program, a diverse cohort of over one million individuals and part of the ICDA. NIEHS and All of Us recently held the workshop entitled “Integrating Climate and Environmental Data and Justice into the All of Us Research Program,” which led to the identification of 17 ancillary projects that may help integrate environmental exposure data into the All of Us Research Program. The implication of this collaboration is that there may soon be environmental data to integrate into bioinformatics calculations in mental health research.
Dr. Woychik reviewed the exposome, a framework to research the totality of environmental exposures—including physical-chemical agents, psychosocial factors, lifestyle, and ecosystems (e.g., built environment, population density). There is a need to develop an operational definition of the exposome and build the technological capabilities needed to study it. NIEHS held a series of five workshops designed to define how to conduct an exposomic experiment. Workshop participants developed a series of reports and hope to integrate their ideas into clear definitions and guidance for researchers outside of the field of environmental health.
Dr. Woychik talked about the effects of climate change on health. President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 directed NIH to lead the effort to address the health impacts of climate change. The President’s proposed FY 2023 budget also indicated an addition of $100 million for NIEHS to fund climate change and health research. Toward that end, NIEHS has been collaborating with other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) for the development of the NIH-Wide Climate Change and Health Initiative Strategic Framework . In addition, several Institute Directors, including Dr. Gordon, have formed the Executive Committee on Climate Change and Health. There is also a longstanding workgroup of more than 100 NIH staff members to coordinate efforts across NIH.
The effects of climate change may have substantial implications on mental health. Research has shown that as temperatures increase, so does the pervasiveness of substance use disorders, anxiety, stress-related insomnia, self-harm, and behavioral disorders. Events related to climate change, such as wildfires, can create long-lasting effects on mental health. For instance, individuals affected by the wildfires in Northern California indicated an increased need for mental health support, even two years after the event. Members of the Executive Committee on Climate Change and Health have solicited funds from several ICs for a number of intramural and extramural initiatives across NIH. These include the development of a research coordinating center to support data management, build research capacity, and advance the priorities of the strategic framework. Funds will also support the Alliance for Community Engagement to promote engagement with communities most impacted by climate change, including underserved racial and ethnic populations and rural populations. There will also be an innovative new program called the NIH Climate and Health Scholars Program that will support extramural investigators by bringing them to the NIH campus to collaborate with NIH staff.
Following Dr. Woychik’s presentation, Council members provided feedback and questions. They suggested that the gene-by-environment perspective may need a different approach than genomics research in mental disorders. They also said the work on the exposome is very exciting and should span a number of interest areas across NIH. Council members were also concerned about the effect of climate change on special populations, such as Indigenous communities. Dr. Woychik said that NIEHS had reached out to tribal communities and is working on environmental justice as well as health-related issues. He is also interested in collaborations between NIEHS and other Institutes to conduct social determinants of health research to address the effect of psychosocial environmental exposures.
Dr. Gordon adjourned the open session of the meeting at 4:03 pm.
CLOSED PORTION OF THE MEETING
The grant application review portion of the meeting was closed to the public in accordance with provisions as set forth in Section 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)6. Title 5, U.S. Code and Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended.
Tracy Waldeck, Ph.D., Executive Secretary of the Council, explained policies and procedures regarding confidentiality and conflict of interest to the members of the Council.
Members absented themselves from the meeting during the discussion of and voting on applications from their own institutions, or other applications in which there was a potential conflict of interest, real or apparent. Members were asked to sign a statement to this effect.
- Review of Applications
Refer to Appendix C.
Dr. Gordon thanked the Council members. The closed session of the NAMHC meeting adjourned at approximately 2:54 p.m. on September 21, 2022.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH
NATIONAL ADVISORY MENTAL HEALTH COUNCIL
Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health
Tracy Waldeck, Ph.D.
Division of Extramural Activities
National Institute of Mental Health
|Edwin G. Abel, III, Ph.D. (24)
Chair and Departmental Executive Officer
Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology
Carver College of Medicine
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
|Velma McBride Murry, Ph.D. (25)
Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair
Associate Provost, Office of Research and
University Distinguished Professor
Departments of Health Policy
& Human and Organizational Development
|Olusola Ajilore, M.D., Ph.D. (25)
Director, Mood, and Anxiety Disorders Program
Department of Psychiatry
University of Illinois Chicago
|Joel T. Nigg, Ph.D. (24)
Professor and Vice Chair for Psychology
Director, Center for ADHD Research
Department of Psychiatry
Oregon Health and Science University
|Laura A. Almasy, Ph.D. (22)
Department of Genetics
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
|Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D. (24)
Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology
Harvard College Professor
Chair, Department of Psychology
|Marjorie L. Baldwin, Ph.D. (22)
Department of Economics
W.P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University
|Patricia R. Recupero, M.D., J.D. (24)
Senior Vice President of Education and Training
Care New England Butler Hospital
|Pamela Y. Collins, M.D., M.P.H, (24)
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Global Health
Schools of Medicine and Public Health
University of Washington
|Bryan L. Roth, M.D., Ph.D. (24)
Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor
Department of Pharmacology School of Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
|Daniel H. Gillison, Jr. (25)
Chief Executive Officer
National Alliance on Mental Illness
|Laura Scott, M.P.H., Ph.D. (25)
Department of Biostatics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
|David Goldstein, Ph.D. (23)
Institute for Genetic Medicine
New York, NY
|Joseph Telfair, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., (23)
Professor and Associate Dean
for Public Health Practice and Research
Karl E. Peace Distinguished Chair of Public Health
Fellow, Royal Society of Public Health
Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Georgia Southern University
|Kamilah Jackson, M. D. (23)
|Sophia Vinogradov, M.D. (22)
Donald W. Hastings Endowed Chair
University of Minnesota Medical School
Professor and Department Head
Department of Psychiatry
|Marguerita A. Lightfoot, Ph.D. (24)
Associate Dean for Research
OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
|Hongkui Zeng, Ph.D., (23)
Executive Vice President and Director
Allen Institute for Brain Science
EX OFFICIO MEMBERS
Office of the Secretary, DHHS
Xavier Becerra, J.D.
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
Department of Veterans Affairs
Amy M. Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Professor of Learning Health Sciences
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, MI
Department of Defense
Anita Everett, M.D., DFAPA.
Center for Mental Health Services
US, HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Staff Present Virtually for Open Session
Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Advisory Mental Health Council
Summary of 268th Meeting, September 20 & 21, 2022
Others Present Virtually:
Debra Gilliam, Transcriber, Bizzell US
Marie Rowland, Science Writer, Bizzell US
Candice Martin, Captioner, Bizzell US
Olusola Ajilore, M.D., Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago
Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., National Alliance on Mental Illness; Arlington, Virginia
Velma McBride Murry, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Laura J. Scott, M.P.H., Ph.D., University of Michigan
Staff Present Virtually for Closed Session
|Category||Scored #||Scored Direct Cost $||Not Scored (NRFC) #||Not Scored (NRFC) Direct Cost $||Other #||Other Direct Cost $||Total #||Total Direct Cost $|
2 Johnson, E. L., Yin, Q., O'Hara, N. B., Tang, L., Jeong, J. W., Asano, E., & Ofen, N. (2022). Dissociable oscillatory theta signatures of memory formation in the developing brain. Current biology : CB, 32(7), 1457–1469.e4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.01.053
3 Vyas, C. M., Reynolds, C. F., 3rd, Donneyong, M., Mischoulon, D., Chang, G., Cook, N. R., Manson, J. E., & Okereke, O. I. (2022). Geographic Region, Racial/Ethnic Disparities, and Late-Life Depression: Results From a Large US Cohort of Older Adults. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 30(6), 703–716. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2021.11.010
4 Weil, T., Daly, K. M., Yarur Castillo, H., Thomsen, M. B., Wang, H., Mercau, M. E., Hattar, S., Tejeda, H., & Fernandez, D. C. (2022). Daily changes in light influence mood via inhibitory networks within the thalamic perihabenular nucleus. Science advances, 8(23), eabn3567.