A national health care leader will be the featured guest at the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE)’s annual Spring Forum.

Christine Hunter, the acting director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will provide a virtual presentation during the event March 31 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. A watch party will be held in the Smithfield Room at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center followed by an in-person networking reception. A Zoom option also will be available.

“We are delighted that Dr. Hunter accepted our invitation to join us and discuss the many opportunities at the NIH for social and behavioral science research,” said Karen Roberto, University Distinguished Professor and the institute's executive director. “NIH is an important source of external funding that supports basic and applied health-related research in areas where social scientists can make significant contributions.”

The institute's goal is to increase the quality, quantity, and competitiveness of the Virginia Tech research portfolio. It does this by supporting innovative, interdisciplinary, and translational research that addresses critical human and societal concerns impacting the lives of people and places. Throughout the year, the institute supports several research teams through the ISCE Scholars program and its new Preparing your Research for an Extramural Proposal program in addition to offering proposal development assistance and other trainings and workshops.

Hunter’s presentation will focus on new and emerging directions in social and behavioral science research and how social science is integral to many biomedical research endeavors. Following the presentation, Hunter will respond to questions from the audience. The reception will provide attendees an opportunity to network with colleagues who may share similar interests in health-related social and behavioral science research.

Currently a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, Hunter is board certified in clinical health psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Hunter’s own research interests include uncovering mechanisms of behavior change, understanding individual differences in treatment response, and translating basic science findings into meaningful human application.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research's mission is to enhance the impact of health-related behavioral and social sciences research, coordinate and integrate these sciences within the larger NIH research enterprise, and communicate health-related behavioral social sciences research findings. While the office does not provide direct funding, it works with NIH institutes and centers to identify and co-fund promising and emerging lines of basic behavioral and social science research relevant to the mission of the NIH. It also advances new areas of research, such as firearm injury and mortality prevention, and facilitates the translation of relevant findings to applied research, interventions, and treatments.

Since its establishment 30 years ago, the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research has been instrumental in accelerating the behavioral and social sciences relevant to health as well as coordinating and integrating those sciences within the NIH research enterprise. In addition to co-funding research, it offers extensive workshops and training and has developed a clinical trials protocol template for social and behavioral science research.

Registration for the presentation is required. Visit the event webpage for more information and register online.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, contact Felicia Spencer, felicia@vt.edu, during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.


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