S 41

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 41

To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment of a National Office for Social Work Research.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 25 (legislative day, January 5), 2011

Mr. INOUYE introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment of a National Office for Social Work Research.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `National Office for Social Work Research Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) Social workers help people overcome some of life's most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. They help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life. Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life--in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, the military, corporations, and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need.

      (2) Social workers focus on the improvement of individual and family functioning and the creation of effective health and mental health prevention and treatment interventions in order for individuals to become more productive members of society.

      (3) Social workers provide front line prevention and treatment services in the areas of school violence, aging, teen pregnancy, child abuse, domestic violence, juvenile crime, and substance abuse, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

      (4) Social workers are in a unique position to provide valuable research information on these complex social concerns, taking into account a wide range of social, medical, economic, and community influences from an interdisciplinary, family-centered and community-based approach.

      (5) Social work research as it relates to the health of individuals sheds light on the behavioral and social determinants of wellness and disease and helps to develop effective interventions for improving health outcomes.

SEC. 3. NATIONAL OFFICE OF SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH.

    Part A of title IV of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 281 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

`SEC. 404I. NATIONAL OFFICE OF SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH.

    `(a) Establishment- There is established within the Office of the Director of NIH an office to be known as the Office of Social Work Research (in this section referred to as the `Office'), which shall be headed by a Director (in this section referred to as the `Director') to be appointed by the Director of NIH.

    `(b) Purpose of Office- The general purpose of the Office is the conduct and support of, and dissemination of, targeted research concerning social work methods and outcomes related to problems of significant social concern. The Office shall--

      `(1) promote research and training that is designed to inform social work practices, and otherwise increase the knowledge base which promotes a healthier America; and

      `(2) provide policymakers with empirically based research information to enable such policymakers to better understand complex social issues and make informed funding decisions about service effectiveness and cost efficiency.

    `(c) Duties-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office shall carry out the following:

        `(A) Recommend an agenda for conducting and supporting social work research through the national research institutes and centers. The agenda shall provide for a broad range of research, training and education activities, including scientific workshops and symposia to identify social work research opportunities.

        `(B) With respect to social work, promote coordination and cooperation among the national research institutes and centers and entities whose research is supported by such institutes.

        `(C) If determined appropriate, and in collaboration with the directors of the other relevant institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, enter into cooperative agreements with and make grants for centers of excellence on social work in accordance with section 404G.

        `(D) Promote the sufficient allocation of the resources of the National Institutes of Health for conducting and supporting social work research.

        `(E) Promote and encourage the establishment of a centralized clearinghouse for social work research that will provide understandable information about this research to the public, social service professionals, medical professionals, patients and families.

        `(F) Biennially prepare a report that describes the social work research and education activities being conducted or supported through the national research institutes and centers, and that identifies particular projects or types of projects that should in the future be conducted or supported by the national research institutes and centers or other entities in the field of social work research.

        `(G) Prepare the annual report of the Director of NIH to Congress concerning social work research conducted by or supported through the national research institutes and centers.

      `(2) PRINCIPAL ADVISOR REGARDING SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH- With respect to social work research, the Director shall serve as the principal advisor to the Director of NIH and shall provide advice to other relevant agencies. The Director shall provide liaison with national and international patient, health and behavioral health and social service organizations concerned with social work research.

    `(d) Definitions- For purposes of this section, the term `social work research' means the study of preventive interventions, treatment of acute psychosocial problems, care and rehabilitation of individuals with severe, chronic difficulties, community development interventions, organizational administration, and the effects of social policy actions on the practice of social work (TFSWR, 1991, p.1). Social work research may cover the entire lifespan, and may be focused at clinical and services and policy issues, focusing on individual, family, group, community or organizational levels of intervention and analysis.

    `(e) Authorization of Appropriations- For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may have been appropriated for fiscal year 2011 for such purpose, and $4,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015.'.

SEC. 4. SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE.

    Title IV of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 281 et seq.), as amended by section 3, is further amended by inserting after section 404I the following:

`SEC. 404J. SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE.

    `(a) Cooperative Agreements and Grants-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Director of the Office of Social Work Research (in this section referred to as the `Director'), in collaboration with the directors of the other relevant institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, may enter into cooperative agreements with, and make grants to, public or private nonprofit entities to pay all or part of the cost of planning, establishing, or strengthening, and providing basic operating support for, centers of excellence for clinical and psychosocial research, training in, and demonstration of social work research.

      `(2) POLICIES- A cooperative agreement or grant under paragraph (1) shall be entered into in accordance with policies established by the Director of NIH.

    `(b) Coordination With Other Institutes- The Director shall coordinate the activities under this section with similar activities conducted by other national research institutes, centers and agencies of the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the Administration for Children and Families, the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the extent that such institutes, centers and agencies have responsibilities that are related to social work research.

    `(c) Uses for Federal Payments Under Cooperative Agreements or Grants- Federal payments made under a cooperative agreement or grant under subsection (a) may be used for--

      `(1) staffing, administrative, and other basic operating costs, including such patient care costs as are required for research;

      `(2) interdisciplinary training for health and social service professionals on research and the use of evidence, with respect to social work research; and

      `(3) social work research and demonstration programs.

    `(d) Period of Support; Additional Periods- Support of a center under subsection (a) may be for a period of not to exceed 5 years. Such period may be extended by the Director for additional periods of not to exceed 5 years if the operations of such center have been reviewed by an appropriate technical and scientific peer review group established by the Director and if such group has recommended to the Director that such period should be extended.

    `(e) Authorization of Appropriations- For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may have been appropriated for fiscal year 2011 for such purpose, and $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2012 through 2015.'.

END