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Science Policy Discussion Group - Topics


The Science Policy Discussion Group at NIH offers fellows the opportunity to discuss science policy issues with each other and with distinguished speakers from within and outside the NIH. Monthly discussion topics are chosen by the group co-chairs as well as Discussion Group members based on their current relevance and the group's perceived interests.

Some of the discussion topics and invited speakers from previous years are listed below.


2017-2018 topics and speakers included:

Introduction to Science Policy. Speaker: Dr. Carrie Woltinez, Associate Director for Science Policy, NIH

Linking Legislative Analysis, Communications, and Information Access to Policy. Speaker: Dr. David A. Kosub, Health Science Policy Analyst, Office of Extramural Research, NIH

FDA’s mission and vision of protecting and promoting public health. Speaker: Anna Abram, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation and Analysis, FDA

How scientists can best facilitate policy makers? Speaker: Dr. Melinda Kelley, director of Office of Legislation, Policy, and International Activities, National Institute on Aging, NIH

Health Communications. Speaker: Mr. Gary Schwitzer, publisher & founder of

Workforce Diversity. Speaker: Dr. Hannah Valantine, Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, NIH

Synthetic Credibility: Science in the Age of Misinformation. Speaker: Rick Weiss, Director of SciLine, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Science as a vehicle for improving international relations. Speaker: Dr. Mahlet Mesfin, Deputy Director of AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy

 Science Diplomacy. Speaker: Erika Elvander, Director, Director, Asia/Pacific Office, Office of Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) 

Science Diplomacy. Speaker: Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health

How to prepare your resume to be competitive for science policy positions? Speaker: Dr. Lori Conlan, Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Services

Drug Development and Regulation. Speaker: Kimberly Maxfield, Office of Clinical Pharmacology, FDA

2014-2015 topics and speakers included:

Economics of Antibiotic Drug Resistance. Speaker: Hellen Gelband from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, NIH

Vaccination. Speaker: Nelson Michael Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)

Current and Future Strategies to Face Pandemics. Speaker: Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

Genomics & Personalized Medicine. Speaker: David Goldman, Section Chief at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, NIH

Genomics & Personalized Medicine, Is Policy Catching Up With Science? Speaker: Jennifer Zeitzer from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Regulatory Science and Policy in relation to the FDA.  Speaker: Dr. Rasika Kalameghan from the American Association for Cancer Research

Education and Diversity. Speaker: Sharon Milgram, Director of the Office of Intramural Training and Education, NIH 


2013-2014 topics and speakers included:

▪   Introduction to Science Policy. Speaker: Kei Koizumi, Assistant Director for Federal Research & Development, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy 

▪   Congressional Science Policy. Speaker: Tyrone Spady, Ph.D., Director of Legislative and Public Affairs, The American Society of Plant Biologists

▪   U.S. National Security and International Affairs in Science Policy. Speaker: Andrew Hebbeler, Ph.D., Senior Policy Advisor, Division of National Security and International Affairs, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

▪   Global Health and Science Policy. Speaker: Patrick Kelley, M.D., Dr.P.H., Director, Board on Global Health, Institute of Medicine, The National Academies

▪   Science Policy and Public Opinion. Speaker: Scott Pace, Ph.D., Director, Center for International Science and Technology Policy, George Washington University

▪   Vaccine Policy: Mandates & Exemptions. Speaker: Bruce Gellin, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health; Director, National Vaccine Program Office, Office of Public Health and Science, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

▪   STEM Workforce Development: A Bleak Future for Biomedical Scientists? Speaker: Sally Rockey, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health

▪   The Emerging Threat of Antibiotic Resistance. Speaker: Joseph G. Toerner, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Director for Medical Affairs, Office of Antimicrobial Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

▪   Improving Science Communication with the General Public. Speaker: Jeanne Braha, Public Engagement Manager, American Association for the Advancement of Science

▪   Open Access Publishing. Speaker: Heather Joseph, Executive Director, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition


2012-2013 topics and speakers included:

▪   NIH Research and Funding Priorities. Speaker: Patrick White, Director, Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis, NIH OD

▪   Future of PhDs in Biomedical Science. Speaker: Dr. Rodney Ulane, Director, Division of Scientific Programs in the Office of Extramural Programs, NIH OER

▪   Congressional and Executive Branch Policy. Speaker: Dr. James E Jensen, Director, Office of Congressional and Government Affairs at The National Academies

▪   International Science Policy Engagement. Speaker: Dr. Richard Pilch, Scientist-in-Residence, Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

▪   Ethics of Animal Research. Speaker: Dr. Alan Goldberg, Founding Director and Chairman of the Board, The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

▪   Science Education in the US: K-12. Speaker: Dr. Bruce Fuchs, Director, Office of Science Education, OSE NIH

▪   Government Legislation and R&D: Tech Transfer. Speaker: Ann Hammersla, Director, Division of Policy at the Office of Technology Transfer, NIH

▪   Scientific Innovations: Impact on Public Policy. Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Gitlin, Science Policy Analyst, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH

▪   Individual Rights vs. Individual Mandates. Speaker: Dr. Tony Yang, Associate Professor, Department of Health Administration and Policy, George Mason University College of Health and Human Services

▪   Science Diplomacy. Speaker: Dr. Frances Colon, Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State


2011-2012 topics and speakers included:

▪   Science Policy/Strategic Planning. Speaker: Dr. Margaret Ames, Director, Office of Science Planning and Assessment, NCI

▪   Biodefense/Synthetic Biology. Speaker: Jessica Tucker, Ph.D., Chief, Emerging Technologies and Threats Branch at US Department of Health and Human Services

▪   FDA Regulation of Off-Label Drug Use and Innovation Policy. Speaker: Anne Pariser, M.D., Associate Director for Rare Diseases, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA

▪   Scientist Advocates and Policymakers in a Time of Declining Public Trust. Speakers: Cynthia Robinson, Director of the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships, and Michael Halpern, Scientific Integrity Program Manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists

▪   Policies Addressing Mental Health Disparities and Evidence-Based Practices. Speaker: Linda Raines, Executive Director, Mental Health Association of Maryland


2010-2011 topics and speakers included:

▪   Science assessment and planning. Speaker: Margaret Ames, Director, Office of Science Planning and Assessment, NCI

▪   Federal R&D Budget. Speaker: Jennifer Zeitzer Director of Legislative Relations, FASEB

▪   Science Diplomacy. Speaker: Tom Wang, Deputy Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy, Director for International Cooperation, AAAS

▪   Science outreach & advocacy. Speaker: Heather Benson, Manager of Science Outreach, ResearchAmerica!

▪   STEM Education policy. Speaker: Jay Labov, Senior Advisor for Education and Communications at the National Academies

▪   Drug Addiction/Drug Abuse policy. Speaker: Bill Piper, Director, National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance

▪   Protecting the food supply, from farm to fork. Speaker: Col. John Hoffman, National Center for Food Protection & Defense

▪   Role of government in dietary habits of children. Speaker: Arianne Corbett, Senior Nutrition Policy Associate at Center for Science in the Public Interest

▪   Pseudoscience/Science in the Media Discussion. Speaker: Jonathan Samet, Director, USC Institute for Global Health

▪   Medicare policy. Speaker: Chad Boult, Director, Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Additional topics from previous years included:

▪   Health care policy

▪   Biodefense policy

▪   Climate change policy

▪   Veterans health policy