Archive for November, 2007

Neuroscience Quarterly: Q&A with Steve Burrill

Friday, November 30th, 2007

The Society for Neuroscience, a Research!America member, has published a Q&A with Campaign for Medical Research Chair G. Steven Burrill in Neuroscience Quarterly. Burrill is also CEO of Burrill & Co. as well as a member of the Research!America Board of Directors.

NQ: You’ve taken an active role in the California stem cell initiative, the National Health Museum, the National Science and Technology Medals Foundation, and the Campaign for Medical Research. As a business leader, why do you participate in these activities?

Burrill: First, we have a scientifically illiterate society that desperately needs help in understanding the benefits of science and technology. Second, for 40-some years, I’ve been in the world of science and technology and appreciate the tremendous change that is caused by and results from it.

AARP’s Divided We Fail Campaign

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Research!America has signed onto the Divided We Fail platform, headed by Research!America member and frequent partner AARP. More at www.dividedwefail.org.

Op-Ed: Seattle Post Intelligencer

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research Ambassador Christopher Elias, MD, president of PATH, co-authored an op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The World Health Organization’s Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015 calls for $6.7 billion in funding for TB/HIV control in affected countries over the next 10 years. Let’s hope that the money is found to support both the research of new tools and the bolstering of current practices. “If not,” says Dr. Mohammed Makame, PATH’s TB/HIV project director in Tanzania, “defeating TB and TB/HIV will be a dream that will take ages to realize.”

Alliance for Health Reform’s Reporter Toolkit

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

The Alliance for Health Reform has created a reporter’s toolkit – one in a series supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The information provided is useful to put the message about research in the broader context of health care. Our 2003 Garfield Award winner David Cutler, PhD, is cited.

Baltimore Sun: Shift tactics in AIDS battle

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

In advance of World AIDS Day, December 1, Dr. Michael J. Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, writes this op-ed about PEPFAR in The Baltimore Sun:

With PEPFAR, our country and our president have decided to do something very generous. Now, let’s do it right.

Public Health Thank You Day Slideshow

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

The Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment has posted a slideshow of their Public Health Thank You Day efforts at www.skyalbum.com/showAlbum/123122.

New Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

“This important committee will play a key role in coordinating autism research, services, and education related to autism spectrum disorder,” Secretary Leavitt said. “I’m pleased that its members bring to the committee a wide range and great depth of expertise, including research and program administration, advocacy and personal experience with the condition.”

Read more about this committee, which is chaired by Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of NIMH.

Alert: Play a Role in the Presidential Primaries Urge the Candidates to Speak Out on Research and Health

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

As an advocate for research to improve health, you know funding for NIH and CDC is a hot topic right now. But do you know where the candidates for President in 2008 stand on the issues? Help ensure the candidates speak out on health research by encouraging them to respond to the Your Candidates-Your Health: Presidential Primaries 2008 questionnaire.

Please go to www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org to let the candidates know you expect them to participate in the initiative. Click on each candidate’s photo on www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org to find their contact information and a sample message you can send. The current deadline for campaigns to respond is December 3.

Please spread the word about Your Candidates-Your Health: Presidential Primaries 2008 to your members and colleagues. Strong encouragement to participate from the health community is essential to engaging the candidates in this important initiative.

Help make research to improve health an issue during the 2008 presidential primaries by visiting www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org and urging each candidate to respond to the questionnaire.

Brinkley: Encourage Stem Cell Research in All Ways

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Research!America board member William R. Brinkley, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine, advocates for stem cell research funding in The Houston Chronicle:

Scientific research in cancer, diabetes, tissue regeneration or other areas should proceed freely and openly along all viable lines of investigation until there is sufficient progress that can be successfully applied to the treatment and alleviation of diseases and human suffering.

NYT: The High Cost of Healthcare

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

This New York Times editorial is relevant to the mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality:

“The sad truth is that less than half of all medical care in the United States is supported by good evidence that it works, according to estimates cited by the Congressional Budget Office. If doctors had better information on which treatments work best for which patients, and whether the benefits were commensurate with the costs, needless treatment could be junked, the savings could be substantial, and patient care would surely improve. It could take a decade, or several, to conduct comparative-effectiveness studies, modify relevant laws, and change doctors’ behavior.”

Huffington Post: Health Diplomacy: A Prescription for Peace

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Susan Blumenthal, MD, writes at The Huffington Post:

Health diplomacy is an important and underutilized instrument in our nation’s foreign policy toolbox. It can be a powerful playing field for diplomacy — one organized around the possibility of sharing knowledge, tools and other resources to improve global health.

Globalization: Implications for the Science and Engineering Workforce

Monday, November 19th, 2007

The U.S. House of Represenatives Committee on Science and Technology held a hearing this month: The Globalization of R&D and Innovation, Pt. IV: Implications for the Science and Engineering Workforce.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Researchers who track the American labor market told Congress last week that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the United States has more than enough scientists and engineers and that federal agencies and universities should reform the way they train young scientists to better match the supply with the demand for researchers.

The article clarifies some of the debate about whether the U.S. has too many/enough/too few scientists and engineers. But there are still no easy answers.

Alert: Attempt to Override LHHS Appropriations Veto Falls Short

Monday, November 19th, 2007

The House of Representatives attempted to override President Bush’s veto of the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill on November 15. Although a strong, bipartisan majority voted for the bill, 277 to 141, the vote fell just short of the two-thirds majority necessary. See how your Representative voted.

Thank you for sending thousands of messages to President Bush and Congress in support of FY 2008 LHHS appropriations. Please contact your Members of Congress again now to thank those who voted for the bill or express your disappointment with those who did not.

Because the President’s veto of the FY 2008 LHHS appropriations was sustained, continued outreach from advocates will be necessary. Congress will return from the Thanksgiving recess on December 3. We will keep you advised of the next steps in the appropriations process and count on your continued action in support of increased funding for research to improve health.

AMERICANS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FUTURE MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS, CONCERNED THAT NOT ENOUGH PROGRESS IS BEING MADE

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Public Favors Increase in Medical Research Spending

Washington, DC — November 16, 2007 — Although nearly three quarters of Americans expect breakthroughs in treatments for diabetes, cancer and heart disease over the next decade, a majority of Americans (57%) believe we are not making enough progress in medical research, according to a survey conducted for Research!America and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The survey is being presented today at “Transforming Health: Fulfilling the Promise of Research,” a conference in Washington, DC, featuring keynote speaker Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health.

The survey also found that, while 74 percent of Americans say the United States is a global leader in medical research, they would like to see spending on medical research increased.

Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley noted that just 57 percent of survey respondents say health-related research has helped them or someone close to them. “We see a disconnect between expectations for medical research and appreciating its real-life benefits that help Americans and their loved ones every day,” said Woolley.

Further, although 95 percent of Americans consider clinical trials to be valuable and more than half (57%) maintain they are likely to participate in such a trial, only 7 percent say their doctors have suggested that they participate in them, the survey found. According to Woolley, this must change in order for innovation to keep pace with expectations.

PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin said, “Clearly, the future looks bright, with new medicines, new treatments, and a better understanding of what causes disease and what may be done to halt it. However, it is essential that we preserve an environment that fosters innovation and research. What’s more, phenomenal treatment advances are of little use if the Americans who need them cannot access them.”

The poll found that virtually all (95%) Americans think that research institutions from the public and the private sectors should work collaboratively. Nearly half (45%) of Americans believe that tax dollars pay for most medical research in the U.S., 14% say pharmaceutical companies, and 9% say consumers pay for most medical research. Yet a recent Research!America report noted that pharmaceutical and biotech industry R&D spending has for several years exceeded federal spending. In 2006, the largest federal agency that funds health-related research, the NIH, saw its budget remain flat for the third consecutive year, at $28.5 billion. Research!America’s Woolley urged Congress to show greater commitment to federally funded medical research.

Charlton Research conducted the telephone survey among 800 adults nationwide using random digit dial methodology. The sample was proportionate to the country’s demographics, including geography, gender and ethnicity. The survey has a theoretical sampling error of +/-3.5%. More findings from the poll are available at www.researchamerica.org and www.innovation.org.

About Research!America
Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by more than 500 member organizations that represent the voices of more than 125 million Americans.

About PhRMA
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $43 billion in 2006 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $55.2 billion in 2006.

Giving Thanks: November 19 Honors Public Health Heroes

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Research!America and Partners Urge Strong Funding for the CDC

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2007–Research!America and the leading U.S. public health organizations ask Americans to give special thanks to their state and local “public health heroes” on November 19.

Joining Research!America are the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, and the National Association of County & City Health Officials.

“Public Health Thank You Day is a chance to salute the people who bring the benefits of health to all Americans every day through public health research and services. These often unsung heroes include researchers, teachers, and nurses and all those working behind the scenes to keep our water clean, our food safe and our families healthy,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America.

“Vigilance on so many fronts — protecting Americans from chronic conditions, infectious disease, potential pandemics and bioterrorism — requires support from Congress for an increased investment in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s leading public health research, prevention and preparedness agency,” said Woolley. “Increased funding for CDC will lead to stronger funding of state and local health departments that are expected to prepare for and respond to health threats.”

While the House and Senate passed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) bill with a 6.6% increase for the CDC budget, this bill was vetoed by the president and the veto was sustained by the House. As Congress negotiates a revised appropriations bill, Research!America and its partners urge Congress to uphold a strong increase for the vital work of the CDC.

In national Research!America polls, 79% of Americans say that the U.S. should invest more in state and local health departments and 54% would like to see an increase in funding for the CDC.

Send an e-thank you card to your public health hero at www.publichealththankyouday.org. Take part in Public Health Thank You Day with our Web banners and ads, communication tools and poll findings.

Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority.

Ms. Woolley is available for further comment.

Keokuk County Honors Public Health Heroes

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

The Sigourney News-Review – Keota Eagle honors Keokuk County public health professionals in this article marking Public Health Thank You Day:

Keokuk County has records of a Board of Health dated back in 1903 and the first Public Health Nurse was employed in 1950. Today, Keokuk County Public Health services have expanded to include: Skilled Nursing Services, Therapy Services, Personal Care Assistance, Homemaker Services, Immunization Clinics for children and adults and 7 Public Health programs. The current KC Board of Health is appointed by the KC Board of Supervisors and includes: Richard Denny; Dr. G. Randhawa, M.D.; Carol Schmidt, ARNP; Connie Kapple, RN and Matt Ives.

Letter to Congress: VOTE TO OVERRIDE THE VETO OF H.R. 3043, APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

The Campaign for Medical Research, Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research and Research!America have sent a letter to members of Congress, urging them to vote to override President Bush’s veto of H.R. 3043:

Earlier this year, we sent you a letter signed by over 450 organizations supporting the conference report, which provides an increase for the NIH equal to $899 million. The amount proposed for NIH in H.R. 3043 will provide important support for research and clinical trials in every state in the country. NIH has faced serious budget constraints every year since FY 2003. The agency’s purchasing power has declined by almost 10% just as our nation’s research enterprise faces increasing competition from overseas and just as science is on the verge of leveraging the extraordinary opportunities presented by the mapping of the human genome. …

We urge you to support this important spending, which helps protect the future health of every American and vote to override the veto of H.R. 3043.

Alert: President Bush Vetoes LHHS Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Override Vote Expected Thursday
Urge Congress to Override

President Bush vetoed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill (H.R. 3043) yesterday. The bill is now back in the hands of Congress. Please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to override the veto of the LHHS appropriations bill. The override vote is expected to take place tomorrow.

If your Representative or Senators are Republican, it is especially important to let them know that health is a priority for you. Ask them to serve the best interests of Americans by overriding the veto.

Congress agreed to a 3.1% increase for the National Institutes of Health and a 6.6% increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the LHHS conference report. Help secure these vital increases in funding at the NIH and CDC by writing to Congress now!

Letter to President Bush – CONTACT THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

The FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations conference report (H.R. 3043) has been sent to the White House. The conference report includes a 3.1% increase for the NIH and a 6% increase for the CDC. Many thanks to all of you who were in touch with your Representative and Senators to urge passage of the conference report.

President Bush has indicated he will veto the conference report. The letter to President Bush urging him to sign H.R. 3043 can be viewed at
www.researchamerica.org/publications/Bush_LHHS_letter.pdf. The letter is signed by Research!America’s Chair, the Honorable John Edward Porter; the Chair of the Campaign for Medical Research, G. Steven Burrill; and the Chair of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, Richard M. Knapp, PhD.

If you have not yet done so, please call the White House switchboard at (202) 456-1414 and urge the President Bush to sign the LHHS appropriations bill, H.R.3043.

Thank you for your continued commitment to advocacy for medical and health research!

Alert: Congress Sends LHHS Appropriations to President Bush

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Urge Him to Sign the Bill

Both the House and Senate approved the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) appropriations conference report, which included a 3.1% increase for NIH and a 6% increase for CDC. President Bush has said he will veto the bill.

Take action now! Tell President Bush to sign the LHHS appropriations bill (H.R. 3043). Call the White House switchboard at (202) 456-1414 or send an e-mail.

Although the House passed a conference report that included both the LHHS and the Military Construction and Department of Veterans Affairs (Mil Con-VA) appropriations on November 6, the Senate separated them the next day. The Senate passed the LHHS appropriations conference report 56 to 37, sending it back to the House, which approved it 274 to 141. Some members have proposed a 2% cut across the board for LHHS if President Bush vetoes the bill as expected. Help retain the increases for NIH and CDC by urging President Bush to sign the LHHS appropriations bill.