Dr. Phillip W. Graham, DrPH, MPH, senior director at RTI, was invited by the Consortium of Social Sciences Association (COSSA) to join their board of directors. He will hold one of three at-large director chairs on the board, where members work to promote sustainable federal funding for widespread use of social and behavioral science policies that positively impact the conduct of research.
RTI executive vice president Tim Gabel supported Dr. Graham’s nomination for the appointment and expressed enthusiasm over the invitation: “Phillip’s extensive experience in a wide range of social science methods and domain areas makes him an ideal addition to the COSSA board.”
COSSA is an education organization designed to inform Congress about the importance of social and behavioral science, as well as protecting federal funding for the field. The association is made up of numerous organizations from a diverse set of disciplines, including RTI International, that collaborate to ensure policymakers understand the value of science in decision making.
Dr. Graham recognizes the current significance of COSSA’s mission to promote social and behavioral science in federal policy making: “Like no other time in my career, the use of good science is critical to improving outcomes for individuals and communities. There is no other way to understand and address the current pandemic and related drivers of health.”
Dr. Graham emphasized his efforts to promote how social science research should operate, particularly in communities of color, and diversifying viewpoints on the topic is a step towards that goal. He believes his role on COSSA’s board will enhance his ability to address how policy decisions are made and how funding is allocated.
“I want us to more effectively educate lawmakers in ways that are non-partisan and allow increase perceptions of objectivity as we all work together to address the health and wellbeing of all Americans,” says Dr. Graham.
The three-year-long COSSA board appointment begins in January 2021, but Dr. Graham will join the COSSA board meeting in December 2020 to prepare for the position. He will meet with fellow board directors, including Barbara Entwistle who previously sat on RTI’s Board of Governors, and learn his specific roles.
Dr. Graham has more than 25 years of experience conducting community-based research and evaluation focused on preventive interventions developed to address adolescent interpersonal violence and substance use. In addition to serving as the senior director for RTI’s Center on Social Determinants, Risk Behaviors, and Prevention Science, Dr. Graham currently serves as Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health’s HEAL Prevention Coordinating Center, which supports efforts to develop, adapt, and test interventions and strategies to prevent initiation of opioid misuse and development of opioid use disorder in at-risk older adolescents and young adults.
In addition to bringing his considerable expertise to the board, Dr. Graham highlighted how excited he is to have the opportunity to learn from COSSA and its diverse network of organizations that support a successful and vibrant social science research enterprise. While on the COSSA board, he hopes to highlight the great science that emerges from RTI as an example of how research can improve the human condition.
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RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach — one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.