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Public Affairs

Creators of National

Longitudinal Study on Public

Health Honored with Golden

Goose Award

Five researchers, whose determined pursuit of

knowledge about the factors that influence ado-

lescent health led to one of the most influential

longitudinal studies of human health — with

far-reaching and often unanticipated impacts on

society — will receive the first 2016 Golden Goose

Award. The researchers are

Peter Bearman





Kathleen Mullan Harris


Ronald Rindfuss



Richard Udry

, who worked at the University

of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the late 1980s

and early 1990s, to design and execute the National

Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add

Health for short.

The social scientists’ landmark, federally funded

study has not only illuminated the impact of social

and environmental factors on adolescent health —

often in unanticipated ways — but also continues

to help shape the national conversation around

human health. Their work has provided unantici-

pated insights into how adolescent health affects

wellbeing long into adulthood and has laid essential

groundwork for research into the nation’s obesity

epidemic over the past two decades.

“Five bold researchers wanted to learn more about

adolescent health. Who knew that one federal study

would change the way doctors approach everything

from AIDS to obesity?” said Rep.

Jim Cooper


TN), who first proposed the Golden Goose Award.

“Decades later, this work is still paying off, help-

ing Americans lead longer, healthier lives. America

always comes out ahead when we invest in scientific


The Golden Goose Award honors scientists whose

federally funded work may have seemed odd or

obscure when it was first conducted but has resulted

in significant benefits to society. The Biophysi-

cal Society is a supporter of the award. The five

researchers will be honored with two other teams of

researchers —yet to be named — at the fifth annual

Golden Goose Award ceremony at the Library of

Congress on September 22.

NIH Leaders Reiterate

Commitment to Basic Science

To demonstrate National Institute of Health’s

(NIH’s) commitment to supporting basic re-

search, all of NIH’s senior leadership and Institute

and Center directors signed a letter to the editor



, published March 25, reiterating NIH’s

commitment to basic science. The letter makes clear

that the NIH leadership is responding to feedback

that it is viewed as favoring applied research over

basic research in the awards it makes. NIH Director

of Extramural Research

Mike Lauer

, wrote about

this letter to the editor as well as NIH’s commit-

ment to funding basic research in a March 25 blog

post. In the post he writes about how funding

basic science is at the core of the NIH mission. He

also points out that an analysis of the NIH bud-

get shows that over half of NIH’s research fund-

ing supports basic research, but the number of

basic research applications submitted to NIH has


The effort to show this commitment has also made

its way into grant application instructions. The in-

structions for the public health relevance statement,

required to be completed by applicants, have been

updated to make clear that a proposal could have

short-term or long-term contributions to human

health. The instructions now read:

Using no more than two or three sentences,

describe the relevance of this research to public

health. For example, NIH applicants can describe

how, in the short or long term, the research would

contribute to fundamental knowledge about the

nature and behavior of living systems and/or the

application of that knowledge to enhance health,

lengthen life, and/or reduce illness and disability.