Outlook: A Quarterly Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
Winter 2008 Return to Outlook Main page >>

SBM joins The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)

SBM's Board of Directors is pleased to announce that SBM will become an organizational member of The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) on January 1, 2008. COSSA is an advocacy organization that promotes attention to and Federal funding for the social and behavioral sciences. It serves as a bridge between the academic research community and the Washington policymaking community. Its members consist of more than 100 professional associations, scientific societies, universities, and research centers and institutes. The decision to join COSSA was based on SBM's desire to support lobbying efforts for the funding of behavioral and social science research without violating its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status and to keep members apprised of activities occurring at the federal level in support of behavioral and social science research.

In its many activities, COSSA represents the needs and interests of social and behavioral scientists. It is a lobbying organization and members of its staff are all registered lobbyists. COSSA's focus is mostly on budgeting for behavioral and social sciences within federal agencies, with the majority of its attention directed to the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. However, it also addresses the budgeting activities of almost 50 different federal agencies. COSSA's activities involve many of the routine tactics of lobbying - testifying to Congress, meeting with staff on the Hill and in the agencies, and working in coalitions. COSSA does not have a political action committee and does not make political contributions.

There are two Coalitions that are run out of the COSSA office: (1) The Coalition to Protect Research (CPR), which has functioned to protect peer reviewed research projects from congressional attempts to defund them; and (2) the Coalition for the Advancement of Health Through Behavioral and Social Science Research (CAHT-BSSR), which works with NIH's Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR) to infuse health and behavior issues throughout NIH. COSSA is also active in many BSSR-friendly organizations for individual NIH institutes as well as with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

COSSA is also active in non-budgetary issues. It is actively involved in training issues at NIH, science education issues at NSF and elsewhere, human subjects' protection questions, data collection, analyses, and dissemination activities, and others as they arise. COSSA electronically publishes a newsletter 22 times a year which covers federal policies and debates relevant to social and behavioral scientists. In addition, COSSA holds an invitation-only annual meeting each Fall. SBM members are eligible to attend his meeting, which has featured presidential science advisers, NSF and NIH directors, Members of Congress, and other key Washington policy makers as speakers. COSSA has also produced briefings on Capitol Hill.

More information can be found at www.cossa.org.