Velma McBride Murry, PhD, Vanderbilt University Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Peabody College, was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Mental Health Council, an appointment approved by the U.S. Congress.
The National Advisory Mental Health Council advises, assists, consults with, and makes recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, also referred to as Institute) on matters related to the activities carried out by and through the Institute and the policies respecting these activities. The Council prepares triennial reports describing the manner in which the Institute has complied with public health service policies, which sets forth requirements addressing the inclusion of women and members of minority groups as subjects in clinical research conducted or supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each report shall be submitted to the Director, NIMH, for inclusion in the triennial report submitted to Congress by the Director of NIH.
The position is appointed by Congress through the Director of NIMH with a term of four years.
Dr. Murry's comments: "I received an email from the Executive Secretary of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, June 2021, to inform me that I had been nominated to be considered to become a member of the NAMHC and to arrange a time to meet and discuss procedures with proceeding with the nomination with a description of the year-long vetting process. Having no communication since summer of 2021, the email informing me of my appointment was received August 2022. My first reaction was similar to hearing about having been selected to become a member of the National Academy of Medicine, excited, honored, and humbled. Having served on standing NIH Grant Review Study Sections, a part of the review process is keeping abreast of when grant applications are directed to “Research Council.” While I was aware that final decisions regarding funding occur during the council meetings, the process by which this occurs was a mystery. It is an incredible opportunity to not only engage in conversation about funding but to also bring to the Director of NIMH critical issues that may impact funding and fundable areas of research. I have lots of ideas, primarily around ways to increase funding for underrepresented research scholars and to elevate funding to advance health equity research. These are opportune times and a position to facilitate change."