The House Appropriations Committees are starting to release their annual appropriations bills. On July 15, 2021, the Committee released the second largest of the 12 funding bills (PDF, 465KB), the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS). During consideration of the bill, the chair of the Appropriations and Subcommittee on Labor-HHS, Rosa DeLauro, (D-CT), stated that the legislation provides a “historic” increase of 28% above last year. “We are bringing hope to the individuals, communities, and regions that need it most and providing crucial funding to build a better tomorrow and expand our capacity to meet any future challenges,” she said.
APASI convened more than 400 psychologists as part of the virtual winter and spring advocacy summits, who made over 500 congressional visits to encourage Congress to provide increased funding for three of APA’s priorities supporting behavioral research and training:
Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research
The Labor-HHS bill’s accompanying report (PDF, 3.07MB) included language providing a budget of $49.8 million, a $19.5 million increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), an increase APA promoted at the May 16 Stand for Science to Advance Psychology: Science Advocacy Summit 2021. The report further noted the committee’s strong support for the “continued strengthening of the behavioral science enterprise at NIH and urges OBSSR funding be increased to accomplish this mission.” The office’s mission is to enhance the impact of health-related behavioral and social sciences research, coordinate and integrate this science within the larger NIH research enterprise, and to communicate health-related behavioral and social sciences research to stakeholders.
Graduate Psychology Education
The Labor-HHS bill included $25 million for graduate psychology education (GPE), a $6 million increase over FY21’s enacted level. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, GPE supports the education and training of doctoral-level health service psychologists. Established in 2002, GPE provides three-year grants to accredited psychology doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral training programs to support the interprofessional training of psychology graduate students while also providing mental and behavioral health services to vulnerable populations in underserved communities. Increased funding for the program would support additional grantees in FY22, as a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is expected this fall.
Minority Fellowship Program
APA has also prioritized increasing funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), which provides funding for training, career development, and mentoring for mental and behavioral health professionals to work with ethnic minorities. The committee provided $20.3 for the MFP currently funded at $16.2M. The president’s budget requested $17.1 million for FY 2022.
Specifically, MFP focuses on training students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents to be culturally and linguistically competent to adequately address the needs of minorities in underserved areas. It funds trainees in psychology, nursing, social work, psychiatry, addiction counseling, professional counseling, and marriage and family therapy. Culturally competent behavioral health professionals are a key component to improving health care outcomes for underserved communities. They also help with addressing the lack of bilingual providers.
Funding amounts provided for other APA priorities for agencies and programs in the House bills are can be found in the Highlights from FY22 House Appropriations Bills (PDF, 90KB).