Page images
[ocr errors]

around 1900. At that time no institution in the United States was dedicated to physiocochemical biology, and the scholars interested in this field were treated as second-class citizens in the medical community. Fortunately, a few philanthropists who had been made aware of this situation endowed new kinds of research facilities to change this trend. The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University) is probably the most typical example of a conscious and successful attempt to provide a basis of physicochemical knowledge for the art of medicine. As a result of its creation, physicochemical biology acquired such glamor that its specialists have become the most honored citizens of the medical establishment.

Environmental biomedicine is today even less developed than was physicochemical biology 50 years ago. It will remain undeveloped unless a systematic effort is made to give it academic recognition and to provide adequate facilities for its exploration.

Senator HARRIS. Our witnesses this morning will be in this order: Dr. Edward Glaser, followed by Dr. Shannon and then by Mr. Mike Gorman.

Dr. Edward Glaser is president of the Human Interaction Research Institute, Los Angeles. His Ph. D. which he received in 1940 is in the field of psychology.

Without objection, we will place in the record at this point a brief biographical sketch concerning Dr. Glaser.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Edward M. Glaser President Human Interaction Research Institute, 10889 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90024; Ph. D., Columbia University, 1940, Field : Psycology 1938–39, Chief Research Psychologist, Committee on Medical Jurisprudence, N.Y. Academy of Medicine; 1940–42, Psychologists, U.S. Public Health Service; 1942–46, Classification and Selection Officer, USNR; 1946–52, Consulting Psychologist; 1952–Present, Managing Associate, Edward Glaser & Associates; 1961-Present, President, Human Interaction Research Institute, Past President, Division of Consulting Psychology, Amer. Psychol. Assoc. ; Past President, So. Calif. Psychol. Assn. ; Fellow, Amer. Psychol. Assn., Amer, Assn, Advancement of Science.

Author of many publications.

Senator HARRIS. Dr. Glaser, we are very honored you are here. I believe you have a prepared statement. You may proceed with it in any way you desire. TESTIMONY OF DR. EDWARD M. GLASER, PRESIDENT, HUMAN


Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the honor of this invitation to testify, as a member of the private sector, about some studies of the Human Interaction Research Institute concerning the systematic improvement of health-related programs and practices through the utilization of research results. I am testifying as a psychologist, which is a “bridging" discipline in that its interests range across biological and social phenomena, not as someone working in the biomedical field per se. However, deficits in research utilization occur in the biomedical as well as in other fields. I believe that some of the strategies we have found helpful for putting research findings to use are applicable to the biomedical field.

* *

To provide context and background, it may be pertinent to supply some information about the Human Interaction Research Institute. We are a multidisciplinary group which includes psychologists, psychiatrists, economists, educators, a sociologist, a business executive, a lawyer, a public administrator, an accountant, and a theology professor. We have as consultants persons from other disciplines as needed.

A statement of our orientation, written in January 1962, follows:

The Human Interaction Research Institute has been formed * * * for educational and scientific purposes, and for the specific and primary purpose of organizing, conducting, sponsoring, and directing research and education in human behavior for the public benefit * * *.

Research efforts generally are focused on searching for new knowledge. Relatively little research has been devoted to identifying the forces of inertia, resistance and lag in connection with utilization of the best knowledge or skill which already exists in various fields, and experimenting with new ways of reducing or overcoming those forces. There is an urgent need to apply the new knowledge that is becor ng available if the benefits of research are to reach the people who need them *

By identifying * * * unusual excellence in coping with important problems in certain major areas of life, and attempting to reduce cultural lag by helping interested people better understand and adapt these findings to their own particular situations, our societal performance may well be upgraded and thus our national welfare and security enhanced. No one small research institute like ours can attempt to identify and transmit unusually superior programs in very many fields, but we can undertake studies in some few particular areas * * *.

One of the things we have undertaken which is germane to the interests of this subcommittee is a 3-year study entitled “Utilization of Applicable Research and Demonstration Results," which was funded in part by the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration, Department of HEW. This study had three aims:

1. To investigate the causes of the lag between the discovery of an innovation in vocational rehabilitation and its application elsewhere.

2. To demonstrate experimentally how specific methods can be used to reduce that lag.

3. To demonstrate experimentally how to increase the development and application of innovation within an organiza

tion, in addition to interchange among organizations. Another relevant recent activity has been to plan, conduct, and write a report on a multi-Federal agency seminar, entitled "Putting Research, Experimental and Demonstration Findings to Use.” The seminar was hosted (and funded) by the Office of Manpower Policy, Evaluation and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, and held November 28–29, 1966 in Washington, D.C.

With the above as background, I turn now to respond to the questions which the subcommittee has posed for consideration. 1. Is there a need for additional attention by Federal agencies in the

field of biomedical development? I am not familiar in a detailed way with the degree of attention which the various Federal agencies currently are giving to biomedical development. Based upon what I do know, however, I would say yes; in my judgment there is such a need. Let me try to specify the nature of the need.

First, I think that Federal agencies which have research dollars to invest might well be advised to give more sponsorship to what might



30 years

be termed "developmental research.” By this I do not mean sponsorship of new product development, which I regard as the job of private enterprise. Rather, I mean the kind of research that asks the question, "If this proposition or finding is true in principle, how can it be applied in everyday practice to get something accomplished substantially better?” I am defining developmental research as a middle step between a theoretical concept or insight or discovery on the one hand, and the use of that concept to solve a specific operating problem on the other hand. For example, we have hardly begun to work out all the ways of developing into everyday practice the vital research finding of Skeels and Skodak regarding the importance of an environment that includes loving care on the intelligence and adult life adjustment of orphans, as revealed in a follow-up study made after

Second, I think there is a need for additional attention by Federal agencies to problems of research utilization per se. Research results are often phrased cautiously (as they should be) and with due regard to the severe criteria of a critical scientific community which is inclined to ask for the qualification of statements in a way which limits the immediate, apparent application of the results in practical situations. This is especially pertinent to biomedical situations, which can affect human life. The process of utilizing research results, it seems to me, involves two steps:

(a) Verification and applied demonstration of the results.This development may be through pilot demonstration projects, or replications, large-scale experimental tryout of principles, or by the searching out of problems to which the research findings appear applicable

. This last approach has been taken by NASA through its biomedical program, which tries to match what has been learned from aerospace technology to relevant biological problems.

(6) Dissemination and implementation of the results.-Once research results have been verified and demonstrated to be valuable, they must be brought to the attention of potential users. When they are brought to the attention of relevant people, those people then must be helped to utilize the new methods as effectively as possible. The processes of the implementation of change is a place where possibly a great deal of additional attention is needed not only additional attention by Federal agencies, but additional attention by foundations supporting research. The social-psychological problems of the successful introduction of change and the development of a corps of experts (change agents) who can help agencies deal with this problem can be of considerable importance

in maximizing the payoff from our research dollar investment. The key problem is to test the new method suggested by research for possible side effects, acquire skill in its application, then develop a comprehensive set of strategies to facilitate dissemination and application by potential users. 2. An evaluation of existing Federal procedures for establishment of

research priorities and long-range plans in the field of biomedicine I do not feel qualified to respond to this question in detail because I am not familiar with how all the existing Federal agencies establish research priorities and long-range plans in the field of biomedicine.

As a general response, however, I think the time has come for more directed or targeted or specifically invited research on the part of Federal agencies as contrasted with their reacting to proposals that are initiated elsewhere, important as this is too.

One way to stimulate needed research or demonstrations, as suggested in the November 28–29 Department of Labor Seminar referred to earlier, is for a funding agency to develop a comprehensive, readable, and succinct review of the state of knowledge in various subject matter fields of that agency's program interests. At the end of each review, research, experimental and demonstration proposals can be invited to fill important gaps.

Perhaps the Federal agencies, with perceptive attention to evolving societal needs, are in the best position to determine priorities among problem areas. The Federal agencies and their advisory committees also could suggest research strategies they think might be fruitful in attacking these problems—so long as the suggested strategies constitute merely an open sharing of ideas, rather than serve as a constrainer of originality and innovation.

Much of this type of invited research on identified problems might be carried out by contract rather than by grant. Grant support for basic, original, offbeat, or experimental research should continue to be encouraged.

A way of outlining the steps by which Federal agencies might stimulate needed research is:

(a) Undertake systematic surveys of the need for knowledge in critical areas. This involves the use of broadgage advisory committees.

(b) Examine existing studies in progress likely to yield the desired knowledge.

(c) Identify (1) the organizations, institutions and persons who might be invited to consider undertaking (probably on a contract basis) the desired projects, and (2) the potential categories of users of any applicable findings.

(d) Establish a system of communication and consultation between the information producers and the information consumers. The above is in contrast to the present policy which places the Federal Government in the position of being a more or less passive respondent to researchers in the field. The experience of some Government agencies has shown that if they let the research community know about the agency's program interests and needs, many qualified people willingly and even enthusiastically will turn their attention to those

In connection with unsolicited grant applications, the preliminary establishment of research priorities of a given agency should be accomplished by the agency, with the help of experts in the field under study and in related fields on a purely "scientific" basis. Evaluation involved in the establishment of grant research priorities should be by more than one person, by people who are not connected even institutionally with the proposing individuals, and as far as possible on the basis of scientific worth.

The priorities must be coordinated with long-range plans in the field of biomedicine. The development of these plans would have to cover two phases: first, the development of the plans in terms of the


logic of scientific discovery, and second, the revision of those plans in terms of the political, social, and/or military importance which may call for increasing emphasis in one area of concern over another. This suggests that planning as opposed to the establishment of research priorities must perforce represent more than a scientific judgment as to the appropriate development of a subject-matter area. 3. Are existing techniques for implementing plans and priorities ade

quate? If not, what suggestións do you have for improving them? I do not know in a comprehensive sense what the existing techniques are. In some agencies at least, I doubt that they exist; rather there is mainly an assumption, often not borne out by subsequent evidence, that the agency's research program will by natural process lead into implementation of the agency's service plans and priorities. In many cases the people engaged in service programs seem unaware of research findings which, if skillfully implemented, might improve the service programs.

There might be better communication and consultation between research programs and service programs. The suggestion already made that Federal agencies use a larger percentage of their research-support funds for invited proposals in given knowledge or program fields to complement proposals others have already submitted, and to assure proper coverage of the subject, is relevant in answer to this question. Further, the melding of scientific and nonscientific national needs must be adequately represented.

Speaking from the standpoint of one who has observed the response of scientists to the letter advising of acceptance or rejection of a proposal, I should add that existing techniques for implementing plans and priorities could be improved in the feedback offered the scientist as to the strengths or weaknesses of his proposal or as to how and why his proposal either did or did not fit in with the plans of the granting or contracting agency. 4. An evaluation of existing means of communications between the

scientific community (research scientists, engineers, medical practitioners, and hospitals) and Federal agencies concerned with

biomedical research I am not fully qualified to answer this question. From what I do know, communications between the scientific community and Federal agencies concerned with biomedical research can be improved a good deal, as is true for all fields of research. While there are seminars, symposia and professional meetings at which the scientific community and persons from Federal agencies meet, and there are visits between Federal agency people and people from universities and research centers, much of what is done in the way of communication is through rather formal and traditional publication channels. The latter constitute a relatively ineffectual medium. The work of the project on scientific information exchange in psychology confirmed that the communication of research findings through journal publication often lagged more than a year behind submission of the paper. The informal report of James Miller of the University of Michigan indicated that readership of the average journal article was limited to a few persons, although this improves when research specialists and scholars dig deeply into the literature regarding problems of their special interest.

« PreviousContinue »