A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Go to bat for health research

Dear Research!Advocate,

We are just days away from Super Tuesday, with many more states’ primaries ahead. We’ve heard so much talk about so many topics, but almost nothing on issues you and I think about every day. Are you like me, wanting to know what Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have to say about research for health? If enough of us ask their campaigns to let us know, they will do so, as Newt Gingrich and the Obama campaign have already. There is ample evidence that campaigns respond to voter sentiment – especially expressed voter sentiment. That’s our problem as a community of stakeholders in research – we’re not speaking up. More people making the case, making the ask, is what it’s all about. The more of us who speak up – driving home the point that health research is a public priority and an economic engine – the more traction we will have in convincing would-be presidents to address public sector funding and private sector incentives to advance research. Please take a minute, right now, to send a message via our voter education initiative, at this link: http://capwiz.com/ram/issues/alert/?alertid=59636531.

I will be discussing Your Candidates–Your Health, the upcoming elections and the importance of making research for health a higher national priority this Sunday on BioCentury TV.  The show will air in the Washington area at 8:30 a.m. on channel 9, WUSA, and later in the day in the Houston area (where I recently visited our members Baylor College of Medicine, MD Anderson and Rice University). The program will also be posted on BioCentury’s website, www.biocenturytv.com. Please tune in and tweet all about it!

Speaking of Texas, my talk at Baylor stimulated the Houston Chronicle’s “SciGuy,” Eric Berger, to blog all about it. I’m always interested in what nuggets journalists pick up from speeches, be they the speeches of candidates for office or, on a much less grand scale, my own. Mr. Berger thought it noteworthy that few Americans can name a living scientist or identify a place – any place – where research is conducted. If the research enterprise remains essentially invisible to the American public, they are not going to go to bat for us. We have a lot of work to do.

I will be talking about the work that we are doing at our annual meeting in two weeks on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Hemisphere A, The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Each institutional member of Research!America is entitled to one vote to elect the proposed slate of Directors. To register for the Annual Meeting, click here, or you may submit your proxy through this link. I hope to see you there and at the other exciting events we have planned throughout the day – the National Health Research Forum and the Advocacy Awards Dinner.


Mary Woolley

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