OSPAC deals with emerging science and policy issues within the fields of population research, the health of mothers, children, and families, and medical rehabilitation. The Office supports the functions of the NICHD on matters related, but not limited to the topics below.
- Bioethics - Coordinates, analyzes, and maintains current information about the ethical, legal, and social implications of NICHD research and about bioethics policy and guidance.
- Briefing Papers - Prepares briefing materials for the Director of NIH, for the NICHD director, for other Institute directors, and for the DHHS Secretary to provide information about the NICHD’s activities and about policy issues.
- Communication and Public Information - Communicates and serves as the primary liaison with many different audiences, including (but not limited to) other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional societies, news media representatives, policy makers, children, adults, families, and communities; ensures that information about the Institute and its research is communicated accurately and appropriately to any audience.
- Consensus Development Conferences - In collaboration with the Office of Disease Prevention, sponsors consensus development and state-of-the-science conferences, which are the focal point for evidence-based assessments of medical practice and state-of-the-science.
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Operational and Strategic Planning - Implements an annual process that promotes the scientific priorities of the NICHD through program initiatives; guides the long-term planning for the NICHD’s research agenda; develops overall Institute strategic plans and guides the development of targeted plans for specific research areas.
- Program Evaluation, Analysis, and Reports - Analyzes Institute programs to summarize content, scientific findings, and plans; prepares reports requested by the NIH, DHHS, the White House, and others; initiates, coordinates, and consults on studies to assess the operations, outcomes, and impacts of various scientific programs and activities; works with NICHD program officials to obtain evaluation funds, and coordinates all trans-NIH evaluation activities.
- Science Policy - Synthesizes, analyzes, summarizes, and interprets scientific literature and technical reports, applying findings to science policy issues.
- Trans-NIH and Trans-agency Committees - Represents the NICHD on committees that coordinate, develop policy, and disseminate information regarding trans-institute and trans-agency issues targeted to specific areas of interest, e.g., women’s health, complementary and alternate medicine, bioethics.
OSPAC includes the following Branches: