NIH’s Top Behavioral Official, Robert Kaplan, Moving On


Robert M. Kaplan
Robert M. Kaplan
The head of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research is leaving that post to become the chief science officer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Robert M. Kaplan’s switch is effective Monday, when William T. Riley, chief of the Science of Research and Technology Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute will step in as acting director. According to a memo from James M. Anderson, who leads NIH, the institutes will hold a nationwide search to locate a permanent replacement for Kaplan.

Kaplan joined the NIH in February 2011. Before entering public service, he was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine where he was principal investigator of the California Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Improvement Center. He is a past president of several organizations, including the American Psychological Association Division of Health Psychology, the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and served as editor-in-chief of the journals Health Psychology and the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

At NIH, Anderson noted, Kaplan’s contributions include “bringing together leaders in mobile technology, behavioral sciences, and clinical research to forge new partnerships in mHealth; leading a variety of activities in dissemination and implementation research in health; and providing support for training in systems science methodologies to facilitate the study of behavioral and social dimensions of health.”

Riley’s research interests include behavioral assessment, psychosocial health risk factors, tobacco use/cessation, and the application of technology to preventive health behaviors and chronic disease management.


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