Posts Tagged ‘poll’

KFF: While Misconceptions Exist, Americans Supportive of Improving Health Abroad

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The Kaiser Family Foundation on Monday released a batch of public opinion polling, focused on improving health in developing countries. As an organization that loves its poll data, the results were fascinating – and, in some instances, very telling.

“Overall, our survey finds a majority of the American public believes the U.S. has a major role to play in the world, through many remain confused about the size and composition of U.S. foreign assistance,” the report states in the introduction. “We also find that providing people with accurate information has the potential to move opinion significantly.”

In short: Countering misconceptions with facts works.

For instance, only 5% of respondents answered correctly that foreign aid comprises just 1% of the federal budget. (Thirteen percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer.) Kaiser averaged out all of the answers and found that Americans believe 27% of the budget is spent on foreign aid. If you use the numbers in President Barack Obama’s FY13 budget request, 27% of the budget is equivalent to $1.026 trillion.

Kaiser then asked if the U.S. was spending too much, too little or the right amount on foreign aid. More than half (54%) said the government spends too much. Going one step further – Kaiser said it had not asked this question previously – they asked the following: “What if you heard that about 1% of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid? Would you still think that the U.S. is spending [too much/too little/about the right amount] on foreign aid, or would you now say that the U.S. spends …” To that question, 36% said too little and 30% said the right amount. Only 24% – a full 30 points less – said too much.

Misconceptions weren’t limited to something as precise as budget matters, either. The poll found that respondents’ ideas of foreign aid varied greatly. Most people said foreign aid is spent on food (31%), military/weapons/defense and health care (both 21%) and a range of other items at 10% or less, including diplomacy, basic necessities, disaster relief, education, bribes and economic aid/development.

But when the frame of the question changed, the responses did too. When asked about “spending to help developing countries” instead of “spending on foreign aid,” respondents said food (33%), health care (32%), education (13%) and basic necessities (12%), with weapons, diplomacy and bribes all scoring at 10% or less.

Even so, the poll found Americans were broadly supportive of efforts to improve health in other countries; it ranked fourth behind preventing nuclear proliferation, fighting global terrorism and providing aid to disaster-stricken areas. Examining the health aspect more closely, the poll found that 2/3 of respondents said that providing access to clean water should be the top priority. Children’s health and reducing hunger and malnutrition were also high on the list of priorities.

The survey also found that respondents realize that aiding developing countries could also have benefits at home; but, by a wide margin, said the U.S. should help because it’s the right thing to do. Fifty-one percent of respondents said that, while economic and security concerns were next at 12%.

And, the poll notes, these concerns are more consistent across ideological lines than certain domestic issues, which tend to be more divisive.

Not all was good news, however. Respondents indicated they still harbor deep skepticism that any foreign aid reaches those who most need it. Averaging all the responses, Kaiser found that, on average, Americans believe 23 cents reaches those who most need it while more than double that – 47 cents – is lost through corruption.

Another disappointing development was that – in a similar vein to many polls Research!America has conducted – a majority of respondents were unable to name even one person who they thought of as a leader in efforts to improve health in developing countries. Obama and philanthropist Bill Gates (along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) were the most cited individuals at 5% each. Former President Bill Clinton received 4%, and the remaining individuals all received 1% or less. (Organizations besides Gates were mentioned at a rate of 2%.) In all, 63% said they were unable to name anyone. The poll also found an increasing public appetite for media coverage of global health concerns, though in its commentary, indicated how difficult this would be to achieve given the looming presidential elections, which will dominate the headlines through November.

“The message here is threefold,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman, PhD, wrote in a blog post. “First, global health aid has the potential to be relatively popular even if foreign aid is not. It may not move votes in an election as issues like jobs and the economy can, but it could be a plus instead of a minus for elected officials. Second, information and public education — to counter misperception — can matter to the level of public support. But third, whether for foreign aid generally or global health more specifically, the ultimate obstacle to greater public support is the need to make the case effectively that aid is not ripped off and makes a difference.”

More than Half of Americans Doubt U.S. Global Leadership in 2020

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

WASHINGTON—March 14, 2012—More than half of likely voters doubt that the United States will be the No. 1 world leader in science, technology and health care by the year 2020, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. The findings reveal deep concerns among Americans about the country’s ability to maintain its world-class status in innovation, research and development before the next decade.

“A lackluster investment in science and innovation is driving fears among Americans about our world dominance in the years ahead,” said Research!America Chair and former Illinois Congressman John E. Porter. “These concerns will likely increase unless policy makers take action to avoid serious consequences, such as a major loss of U.S. jobs, business, medical breakthroughs and output in innovation.”

Only 23% of Americans consider the U.S. first in medical and health research today. And an overwhelming majority (91%) say it is important for the U.S. to maintain its world leadership role, as other nations such as China and India ramp up their investment.

Americans are especially concerned about funding cuts to medical and health research. Upon hearing that federal spending for medical and health research (after adjusting for inflation) has declined over the past five years, more than half of likely voters (57%) had a negative reaction to the cut in spending. Moreover, 54% think that federal spending for medical and health research should be exempt from across-the-board cuts outlined in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“With the threat of automatic cuts on the horizon, a significant amount of federally supported research and innovation will be shelved, impacting the pace of scientific discovery in the U.S. and forcing patients to stand aside as other priorities dominate,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “We simply cannot afford to jeopardize our leadership and settle for second best.  Elected officials and candidates must make stronger commitments to sustaining our world-class status in research and innovation.”

More than half of likely voters (64%) say they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports increased government funding for medical and health research. A vast majority of likely voters also think it is important for presidential and congressional candidates to debate issues relating to science, innovation and health.

Poll highlights include:

  • 58% of Americans do not believe the United States will be a world leader in science and technology in 2020;
  • 53% of Americans do not believe the United States will be a world leader in health care in 2020;
  • 65% of Americans say it’s important that the U.S. is a leader in medical and health research.
  • 85% of likely voters are concerned about the impact of a decreased federal investment in research, including the possibility of scientists leaving their profession or moving abroad to countries with a stronger investment in research;
  • 66% of likely voters believe government investment in medical and health research will have an impact on the future of the United States; and
  • Nearly 70% of Americans believe science and math education will have an impact on the future of the United States.

To view the poll, visit: http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/0312nationalpollwithJZA.pdf

About the Publication: Research!America began commissioning polls in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America’s polls have proven invaluable to our alliance of member organizations and, in turn, to the fulfillment of our mission to make research to improve health a higher national priority. In response to growing usage and demand, Research!America has expanded its portfolio, which includes state, national and issue-specific polling. Poll data is available by request or at www.researchamerica.org.

The National Public Opinion Poll was conducted online in March 2012 by JZ Analytics for Research!America. The poll had a sample size of more than 1,000 likely U.S. voters, with a theoretical sampling error of +/- 3.2%.

About Us: Research!America  is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: “The most important election in my lifetime”

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

Is the U.S. slipping from the top? Read The Scientist article about our new national public opinion poll which shows that 58% of likely voters don’t believe the U.S. will be number one in science and technology in 2020. This is just one of the eye-opening findings in our new public opinion poll released yesterday. Findings like these are critical for making the case that our nation is underinvested in research. View the full results of the poll here. Yesterday was a big day for the Research!America Alliance.

Let me express my deep gratitude to all those who attended and supported our events. At our National Forum, we were thrilled to have the agency heads of NIH, NSF, AHRQ, FDA, and CDC participate along with research leaders from industry and academia. What followed was a lively and sobering discussion about the challenges facing science, innovation, and research and what the future may hold for America’s global competitiveness.

Clearly, advocates have our work cut out for us in fighting for U.S. R&D – we are fighting for the very future of our nation. We must roll up sleeves and get to it, this year more than ever. As our Chair, John Porter said several times yesterday: “This is the most important election in my lifetime – none of us can afford to stand back.” Next week, my weekly letter will include a summary of the key points and action items from our Forum. Meanwhile, read press clips of the poll and National Health Research Forum here.

At our awards event, we were honored to hear from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) as she accepted the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. The Senator spoke about the critical role that research plays in our nation and her belief that science needs and deserves bipartisan support. Her advocacy and achievements on behalf of health have saved lives and helped ensure that our economy will continue to be powered by investments in research. My congratulations to the Senator and the other awardees! Roll Call attended the dinner and wrote a sterling review.

On the Congressional front, this is the time to ask your representative and senators to include research in their federal funding priorities. Take a minute now to call or write your representatives and ask that they include increased funding for NIH, CDC, NSF, AHRQ and FDA in their appropriation request letters, investments that truly pay off in terms of longer, healthier lives for Americans enabled by medical breakthroughs, higher economic output for our nation fueled by innovation, and lower health care costs derived from cost-saving improvements to our health care system. To have an impact, advocates need to act soon – the deadline for members of the House to submit their appropriations request letters is March 20, and the deadline for members of the Senate is March 22.

Last week, I wrote about a bipartisan letter in the House in support of increased NIH funding, an effort lead by Reps. Markey and Bilbray. I’m pleased to report that the letter has reached 137 co-signers! Make sure your representative has heard from you – contact them now. This week, Senators Casey (D-PA) and Burr (R-NC) are circulating a bipartisan letter in the Senate that expresses support for strong funding of the NIH. Send an email to your senators and encourage them to sign-on to the Casey-Burr letter to demonstrate our nation’s continued bipartisan commitment to medical research.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

Florida Poll: Research Important for State Economy, Jobs

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

WASHINGTON—October 27, 2011—A majority of Floridians (87%) believe it is important for their state to be a leader in science and medical research, according to a new state poll commissioned by Research!America. The poll also shows that 80% think spending money on scientific research is important for Florida’s economy in terms of job creation and incomes.

Many Floridians also believe the state should lead in science and technology education and career growth. An overwhelming majority (92%) believe education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is important to U.S. competitiveness and economic prosperity. Eighty-seven percent think it is important for their state to encourage young people to pursue careers that require a solid education in science and 88% say their state should create more opportunities for careers in science and research for its young people.

The Florida poll findings were released today at a forum on science journalism at the Embassy Suites Tampa-USF convened by Research!America, Pfizer and the University of South Florida (USF).

“Scientists have a responsibility to tell the public just how intricately tied the research enterprise is to their state’s economy,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. “When research funding slows, medical progress stalls, health care costs rise and jobs are lost.”

“There needs to be a culture change in the sciences that’s integrated into the educational process of future scientists,” said Jay Dean, PhD, professor and interim chair of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology at the University of South Florida. “We have to learn to effectively and concisely communicate in a technologically advanced age what we do and why it matters to the public.”

Despite their strong support for research Floridians do not feel well-informed about research-related issues. More than 80% cannot name a living scientist. Sixty-percent would like to see more information about science and research than is currently in the news.

A huge percentage of Floridians trust scientists (90%) and health care professionals (86%) as spokespeople for science news. However, trust in journalists is less widespread. Many Floridians (60%) think journalists are just somewhat trustworthy as science news spokespersons. While 62% of Floridians trust their elected officials less today than they did five years ago, trust in the scientific community has remained stable. More than half (56%) say they trust the scientific community about the same as five years ago.

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“Scientists are trusted spokespersons because they are the obvious communicators of what is newsworthy in science,” said Jack Watters, MD, vice president, External Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc. “There is no shortage of material. Indeed the frontiers of science have never been more exciting and yet we have done a poor job of communicating that excitement. Scientists make discoveries that can positively affect the lives of millions and now is the time to talk about it.”

Further findings from the Florida poll include:

  • 52% believe that the use of animals in medical research is necessary for progress in medicine.
  • 65% favor medical research using embryonic stem cells.
  • Floridians trust the information provided by newspapers (74%), radio (69%), television (71%), magazines (70%), and websites (69%). Social media fared less well, with 55% of Floridians saying social media is not trustworthy.
  • Television and the Internet are the most commonly consumed media outlets in the state. 73% use television as a news source while 62% frequent the Internet/Websites for news information.

About the poll: Research!America commissioned JZ Analytics to conduct an online survey of 800 adults in Florida in September 2011. The sample is proportionate to the state’s demographics, including gender, age and ethnicity, with a theoretical sampling error of ±3.5%.

The poll is available online here: http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/2011FLAstatepoll.pdf

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

Majority of Californians See Global Health Research as an Important Investment for the State’s Economy

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

WASHINGTON—October 19, 2011—More than half (58%) of California residents think spending money on global health research is important for the state’s economy and 66% say global health is an issue about which they should be concerned, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Research!America.

With the largest economy of any U.S. state and the 10th largest economy in the world, California is one of the nation’s global health research powerhouse states. In 2010, California received $3.3 billion in National Institutes of Health research funding—more than any other state—which helped employ more than 62,000 people in the state. California ranked number one in NIH funding in 2010. California’s global health sector supports 350, 000 high-quality jobs and generated $19.7 billion in wages in 2007.

Californians also recognize that global health is intricately tied to America’s health. Nearly three-quarters of California residents (72%) are concerned that infectious diseases elsewhere in the world will impact the U.S.; 70% think Americans should be concerned about global diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera; and 88% think it is important for the U.S. to conduct global health research to prevent drug resistance around the world. Rightfully so: the state draws thousands of international travelers each day, making it critical to prevent global diseases from entering the U.S. through California’s gateways.

Research!America’s chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, said: “Thanks to its global economic position and its dynamic research enterprise, California serves as a model for all states. It has a rich environment for research collaborations that fuel its economy and foster innovative medical advances to help maintain U.S. competitiveness and improve health in the U.S. and around the world.”

“Californians’ strong support for global health research should send a clear message to local and national policy makers about the critical need to prioritize further investment in this area,” said Research!America’s CEO Mary Woolley.

Further findings from the California poll include:

  • 83% of Californians say it is important for the federal government to be involved with product development partnerships (PDPs) that fill gaps in global health research and development.
  • 70% believe that Americans will be better off if the U.S. government invests in global health research.
  • 70% think it is important for the state to offer incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally.
  • 85% say it is important that the federal government play a role in research for prevention and wellness.
  • 78% are concerned that American troops overseas are exposed to global diseases.
  • 79% think American civilians benefit from health research conducted by the U.S. military.

For more information about global health R&D in California, visit www.researchamerica.org/gh_california.

About the poll: Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online a survey of 1,200 adults in California in July 2011. The sample is proportionate to the state’s demographics, including gender, age and ethnicity, with a sampling error of ±2.8%. The poll is available online at www.researchamerica.org/uploads/CAGlobalPoll.pdf.

About us: Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

Georgia Residents: Investment in Global Health Research is Vital to State’s Economy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

WASHINGTON—June 29, 2011—Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Georgia residents think spending money on research to improve health globally is important for economic development in Georgia, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Research!America.

Eighty-one percent say global health is an issue about which Georgia residents should be concerned, and Georgians place a very high value on their state’s leadership in research to improve health here and around the world: 96% say it is important for Georgia to be a leader in health research and development, and 81% say their state already is a leader in this area. Bioscience is one of the state’s fastest-growing industries; from 2001 to 2005, the number of Georgia bioscience firms grew by 38%, versus 13% in other industries.

Georgians also recognize the importance of advancing global health R&D through public-private collaboration, such as product development partnerships: 92% think the different types of institutions conducting global health research in the U.S. should work together to develop new treatments and cures. The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) is an important asset to the state in this regard, bringing together Georgia’s research universities, business community and state government to create opportunities to grow Georgia’s economy through scientific discovery.

Research!America’s chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, said: “Global health research is one of Georgia’s greatest investments. It creates growth and partnership opportunities among Georgia’s universities, businesses and public sector stakeholders—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—that fuel the state’s economy, all the while helping to improve health for Georgians and people everywhere.”

Porter added, “While Georgia ranks ninth in population, it ranks just 15th in federal R&D funding. There is tremendous potential to grow the R&D enterprise in Georgia for the sake of jobs, economic activity and public health here and abroad.”

Georgians recognize that global health is America’s health: three-fourths say that Americans will be better off if the U.S. government invests in research designed to improve health around the world, and nearly as many (72%) believe Americans should worry about global diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera that mostly affect poorer countries.

Georgia residents’ strong support for global health research extends to public health and prevention. Nearly nine in 10 say it is important that the federal government play a role in research for prevention and wellness. Almost two-thirds recognize the CDC as the government agency whose primary responsibility is disease prevention and health promotion, and 91% say the CDC is important to Georgia’s economy.

This week, Research!America is convening journalists for a daylong tour of the CDC. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in discussions with CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, and other senior CDC staff to learn about the important role the CDC plays in protecting the health of the nation and the world. More about the CDC’s role in global health is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6024a4.htm?s_cid=mm6024a4_w.

“It is clear from the poll findings that Georgia residents strongly support investment in public and global health research. The presence of the CDC in the state, along with leading academic and private sector research-based institutions and businesses, is rightly a point of pride for the residents of Georgia. This should send a strong message to local and national policy makers about the need to further strengthen their commitment to R&D,” said Mary Woolley, Research!America president and CEO.

Further findings from the Georgia poll include:

  • 77% think it is important for Georgia to offer incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally.
  • 93% say it is important that global health research is conducted to help prevent drug resistance around the world.
  • 87% say they are concerned that American troops overseas are exposed to global diseases, and 88% think American civilians benefit from health research conducted by the U.S. military.
  • About the poll: Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online a survey of 800 adults in Georgia in May 2011. The sample is proportionate to the state’s demographics, including gender, age and ethnicity, with a sampling error of ±3.5%. The poll is available online at www.researchamerica.org/uploads/GAGlobalHealth2011.pdf.

    About us: Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

    Ohio Residents: Medical & Health Research Important to State’s Economy, Jobs and Incomes

    Monday, May 16th, 2011

    ROOTSTOWN, Ohio—May 16, 2011—Ohioans broadly support a strong commitment to medical and health research and recognize its direct link to job creation and the state’s and the nation’s economy, according to a new statewide poll conducted by IBOPE Zogby for Research!America and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).

    A strong majority of Ohioans (86%) thinks medical and health research is important—42% say very important—to the state’s economy. Eight in 10 believe spending money on scientific research is important to Ohio’s economy in terms of jobs and incomes.

    Nine in 10 (92%) Ohioans think it is important—62% say very important—for the state to be a leader in medical and health research, but only half say the state is a leader in this area. Nearly as many (88%) say it is important for the state to be a leader in science and technology, but just 28% think it is.

    The poll findings were released today at a forum convened by NEOMED and Research!America in Rootstown, Ohio.

    “The strong public support by Ohioans for research is a reflection of the growth and strength of medical and health R&D conducted by the universities and academic health centers in our state,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S, Ph.D., president of the University. “Ohio’s universities are building the state’s leadership in medical and health research, educating health professionals to work in underserved areas and creating innovative collaborations with the state’s growing life science industry and broader business community.”

    Fully 85% say it is important—47% say very important—for Ohio to support the education of health professionals for rural and urban underserved communities. Six in 10 believe it is very important for Ohio to encourage young people to pursue careers that require a solid education in science, and nearly as many (57%) say it is very important that Ohio create more opportunities for careers in science and research.

    “These poll results show the strong priority Ohio residents place on medical and scientific research and that they understand the link between strong investment in research and science education, job creation and economic prosperity,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “This widespread support should send a resounding message to policy makers about the critical need for continued investment in medical and scientific research.”

    Nearly half (49%) of Ohioans say that the 5½ cents of each health dollar the nation spent in 2009 on medical and health research was not enough, and 60% say it is a top or high priority to accelerate our nation’s investment in research to improve health. One-third say it is primarily the federal government’s responsibility to accelerate that investment; 28% say private industry; and 20%, research institutions or universities.

    “Our survey research clearly shows that vast majorities of people in Ohio feel strongly about the importance of medical and health research to the economy of the state and that it is important for Ohio to support the education of health professionals for rural and urban undeserved communities,” said John Zogby, chairman of the board and chief insights officer, IBOPE Zogby International. “These results are compelling, and interestingly, they often transcend political ideologies and party lines.”

    Further findings from the Ohio poll include:

    • 81% say they would approve of their state offering financial incentives to companies to attract new scientific research labs or companies;
    • 97% think education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is important—78% say very important—to U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity;
    • 90% of Ohioans say it is important that elected officials at all levels listen to advice from scientists and public health professionals when setting policy or spending priorities; and
    • 62% agree that basic research which advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government, even if it brings no immediate benefits.

    IBOPE Zogby International conducted an online survey for Research!America of 600 adults in Ohio, April 27-May 2, 2011. The sample is proportionate to the nation’s demographics, including age, race/ethnicity, gender and education, with a margin of error of ±4.1%. Highlights of the poll findings are available at www.researchamerica.org/uploads/ohiopoll2011.pdf.

    Maryland Poll: Traditional Media & Internet More Trusted than Social Media for Research News

    Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

    WASHINGTON—May 11, 2011—Most Maryland residents trust the health and medical research information provided by traditional media—newspapers (77%), television (71%), magazines (68%), radio (66%)—and the Internet (also 66%), according to a new state poll commissioned by Research!America. Social media fared less well, with 51% saying social media is not trustworthy for health and medical research issues. Fewer than 20% use their cell phone or other mobile device to find health information.

    The Maryland poll findings were released today at a forum on science journalism at the National Press Club convened by Research!America, Pfizer Inc and the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, School of Public Health and School of Public Policy.

    “The modern media landscape has become very complex, which creates many more opportunities to communicate with many more people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Kevin Klose, dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. “At the same time, this presents a challenge in communicating about complex issues such as medical and health research findings.”

    One such challenge is public trust in news sources and spokespeople. Marylanders largely trust journalists as spokespeople for science news (59% see them as trustworthy), but even more so the state’s residents trust science news coming from scientists (88%), health care professionals (86%) and nonprofit and voluntary health organizations (75%).

    A majority (62%) trust the scientific community as much today as they did five years ago. Slightly fewer (54%) trust the media as much now as five years ago. Just 27% trust elected officials as much now as five years ago; 63% say less.

    While 40% say they hear or read more about research in the news than five years ago, two-thirds say they would like to see more news coverage of science and research.

    Strong public appetite for more science news presents an opportunity and a challenge for scientists as well as journalists.

    “Science changes our lives, and yet that is rarely seen as news. How do we make exciting and groundbreaking science more newsworthy?” said Jack Watters, MD, VP for External Medical Affairs at Pfizer Inc and a Research!America board member. “Of course, some of the best science is done when no one is looking, but I’d like to encourage us, as a nation, to look more closely and talk about science.”

    Further findings from the Maryland poll include:
    • 34% cited obesity as the single most important health issue facing Americans today, followed by the cost of health care (17%);
    • 94% think education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is important to U.S. competitiveness and future economic prosperity;
    • 93% think it is important that elected officials at all levels listen to advice from scientists and public health professionals to address potential health threats;
    • 87% say it is important for Maryland to be a leader in science and medical research; and
    • 89% say it is important for Maryland to be a leader in public health, prevention and wellness research.

    “Marylanders are right on target in identifying the key public health issues facing our state today, and they are well aware of the need for leadership in public health and prevention research,” said Robert S. Gold, PhD, DrPH, dean, University of Maryland School of Public Health. “They also see as part of the solution that policy makers must be informed in order to address potential health threats and that we must provide training for Maryland residents and students in these critical areas.”

    The poll also indicates that Maryland residents see great economic value for their state from research: 83% say spending money on scientific research is important to Maryland’s economy, in terms of jobs and incomes; and 90% think it is important for Maryland to create more opportunities for careers in science and research for its young people.

    “In these findings, we see the very high priority Maryland residents place on medical and health research and news coverage of research—and the very high esteem in which they hold scientists as sources for research news,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “As public trust in research news coverage increases, public support for life-saving research will increase. Our health, our well-being, our economy and our global competitiveness depend on strong support for research by the public, the news media and elected officials alike.”

    About the poll: Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online and phone survey of 804 adults in Maryland in April 2011. The sample is proportionate to the state’s demographics, including gender, age and ethnicity, with a theoretical error of ±3.5%. Demographics and media habits include the following:

    • 32% of respondents were age 18-34; 38%, age 35-54; 30%, age 55 or older; and
    • News sources they use most frequently include television (69% cited), followed by the Internet/websites (61%), newspapers (40%), radio (27%), magazines (18%) and social media such as Facebook and Twitter (10%).

    Poll Finds Concerns About Pace of Medical & Health Research

    Thursday, May 20th, 2010

    WASHINGTON—May 20, 2010— Nearly three-quarters of Americans are confident in our system for reviewing the effectiveness and safety of new medicines and medical devices, yet 41% say it takes too long to approve a drug and allow it to be sold to consumers. These are among the findings in a new poll from Research!America (pdf).

    Three-quarters of Americans accurately named the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the government agency that regulates products such as new drugs and medical devices, and a majority (72%) says they see the FDA as a trustworthy source of medical research information.

    When asked the most important role of the FDA, 59% say protecting the safety of Americans; 17% say providing accurate information about benefits and risks associated with medicines and medical products; and 7% say regulating companies that produce medicines and medical products.

    “Public expectations for medical progress are very high—Americans want new drugs and medical devices delivered faster, and they rightly want safety to be a top priority,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America.“To meet these expectations, resources for FDA and our nation’s health research agencies—the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—need to keep pace so they can fulfill their missions, and the public needs to let elected officials know how important these issues are.”

    Woolley noted that the proposed 2011 budgets for FDA, NIH and CDC are not currently slated to keep pace even with inflation, much less with public expectations and scientific opportunity. She said, “We can and must do better.”

    The poll found very strong support (94%) for the idea that institutions conducting medical and health research—government, universities and private industry—should work together. Americans see such collaboration as leading to greater knowledge, better success rates and faster development of cures and treatments, as well as avoiding duplication and maximizing resources devoted to research and development.

    “This underscores the urgency of the public and private sectors working together to bridge gaps and turn more early-stage discoveries into treatments faster,” said Gail Cassell, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs at Eli Lilly and Company, which commissioned the poll with Research!America.“Greater collaboration between government agencies is also critical. The new NIH-FDA initiatives to enhance synergism between the two agencies are very important in this regard. The poll data also show the public’s strong support of FDA collaborating more with academic centers of excellence to strengthen the agency’s expertise and capacity in regulatory science. In order to succeed, it is critical that all sectors involved in research maintain the public’s trust and convey to the public more effectively what research has achieved and how much more is possible.”

    The poll showed that the most trusted sources for medical research information are pharmacists (83% find trustworthy), patient groups (82%), CDC (79%) and their health care providers (78%). Americans also say they trust research information from NIH (61%). Yet only 17% say they regularly check government websites for medical research information, compared to 66% who consult commercial medical sites such as WebMD.

    Additional findings from the poll include:

    • After health care costs and insurance issues—which have long been the top health concern for Americans—one in four says the most important health issue facing the U.S. today is obesity (24%), ahead of cancer (11%) and heart disease (5%).
    • 76% say clinical research is of great value, and the same number say they are likely to participate in a clinical study, but only 6% say their doctor has ever suggested that they do so.
    • 93% say it is important—and 69% say very important—for the U.S. to be a global leader in medical, health and scientific research.
    • When asked to name the government agency that funds most of the taxpayer-supported medical research in the U.S., nearly one in five mistakenly named the FDA; fewer than 10% correctly named the NIH.

    Complete poll findings are available online at www.researchamerica.org/poll_history.

    About the Poll: Research!America and Eli Lilly and Company commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online survey of 1,000 adults nationwide in February 2010. The sample is proportionate to the nation’s demographics, including geography, gender and ethnicity, with a theoretical error of + 3.1%.

    Mary Woolley Talks About Research in Health Reform and the New Poll