NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

OBSSR’s Riley To Retire

Dr. Bill Riley
Dr. Bill Riley

Dr. William (Bill) T. Riley, NIH associate director for behavioral and social sciences research and director of the Office of BSSR for the past 7 years, will retire from NIH at the end of December 2021. 

“Bill has done an outstanding job advancing understanding of the field and integrating BSSR into broader biomedical research efforts,” said NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, in an NIH-wide email message. “Bill has led OBSSR during a time of a great change in the field.”

The integration of BSSR with the neuroscience, genetics and “omics” fields is beginning to shed light on the many complex interactions between the brain, behavior and the environment, Collins noted. Advances in measurement science and technologies are providing data on the influence of human behavior on health at levels of detail previously unimaginable. Expanding sources of integrated population-level data provide both the platform to better monitor the behavioral and social influences on health, and the ability to assess population-level interventions more rigorously. 

“As we have seen clearly during Covid-19,” he continued, “the health of the nation is heavily influenced by behavior and social influences, and research in this area provides the tools to help people modify their behaviors to improve their health. OBSSR, under Bill’s direction, has played a key role in that effort.”

Riley’s research interests have included behavioral assessment, psychosocial health risk factors, tobacco use/cessation, and the application of technology to help prevent and manage chronic disease. He has been involved with applying new technologies, particularly mobile and wireless technologies, in behavioral measurement and intervention.

Prior to OBSSR, he served in various roles at NCI, NIMH and NHLBI. Riley earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Florida State University and has experience in both academic medicine and the private sector.

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