News Release

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NIH Director Announces Appointment of Robert Kaplan as Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced today the appointment of Robert M. Kaplan, Ph.D., as Director, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. Dr. Kaplan is expected to join the NIH in early 2011.

"NIH will benefit from Dr. Kaplan's longstanding proven expertise in high priority behavioral health areas such as tobacco-induced lung disease," said Dr. Collins. "His commitment to evidence-based behavioral research and his broad knowledge of health services research and epidemiology will be a significant asset to OBSSR and all of NIH. I look forward to welcoming him to NIH."

OBSSR's work focuses on how behavioral and social factors often influence illness and health. The office stimulates and integrates behavioral and social sciences research across NIH’s institutes and centers to improve the understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Dr. Kaplan comes to the NIH from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is distinguished professor in the Department of Health Services at the School of Public Health and the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine. He has also served as the principal investigator of the UCLA/RAND CDC Prevention Research Center and director of the UCLA/RAND Health Services Research training program. He was also professor and chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

At the University of California, Riverside, Dr. Kaplan earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology. His research interests include behavioral medicine, health services research, health outcome measurement and multivariate data analysis. He is editor-in-chief of the American Psychological Association journal Health Psychology.

Dr. Kaplan received the American Psychological Association's Division of Health Psychology's annual award for outstanding scientific contribution as a junior scholar in 1987 and as a senior scholar in 2001. He also received the Society of Behavioral Medicine's national leadership award in 2004 and distinguished research mentor award in 2006. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)'s mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise, thereby improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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