Posts Tagged ‘research’

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Right Direction; Wrong Amount

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Dear Research!Advocate,

When the chips are down, we can always count on our champions to fight for what is right, as was demonstrated today with an amendment to boost NIH funding by $1 billion from Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). In his remarks to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Moran quoted Research!America’s statement from our Chair, Congressman John Porter, but alas, the amendment did not pass. See today’s press statement acknowledging Sen. Moran for his leadership.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a $100 million increase for NIH, which unfortunately is a small fraction of what’s needed to fully empower our research enterprise. I recognize the fiscal challenges facing our country, but if we continue to make diminutive investments in research and prevention we will cede our position as the world’s leader in medical innovation and deny Americans a healthier future. As advocates, we need to get our nation back on track. See our press release on the Senate funding recommendations, which was also quoted in articles published in Nature and CQ HealthBeat.

At the time of this writing, final numbers for CDC and AHRQ have not been publically released, but will be made available after the weekend. Stay tuned for more on those agencies in my next weekly letter.

Next week, the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH, CDC, and AHRQ is scheduled to release its funding recommendations, but as I’ve mentioned in previous letters, the total funding allocation available to this subcommittee is significantly less than that available to its Senate counterpart. This redoubles the pressure on this subcommittee to propose funding cuts for medical and health research. It is essential that you send an email to your representatives TODAY and drive home the message that research funding is part of the solution to our nation’s economic woes and provides the best defense against emerging health threats.

Today, the National Research Council released a report and 10 recommendations to “maintain excellence in research education.” While the most important measure of this report will be the extent to which it helps our research universities fulfill their critical missions, these universities certainly deserve notice and credit. They are pivotal for driving innovation and powering economic growth, while helping our nation maintain our global competitiveness.

In my past weekly letters, I’ve cited a variety of new reports and studies warning that our biomedical sector and its global preeminence is at risk. But it’s not too late to correct our course with adequate federal funding and some common sense policy changes at the state and federal level. That was the message of a recent op-ed published in the Tampa Bay Online by Ross C. DeVol, the Chief Research Officer at the Milken Institute. During this election season, it is critical that you engage state and local media – it’s a great way to get our message to candidates and policymakers while informing the public. With so much at stake, now is the time to pen an op-ed or letter to the editor.


Mary Woolley

Saving young lives through federally-supported research at D.C. Institutions

Monday, May 7th, 2012

By Billie Lou Short, MD

There is a dark cloud hovering over scientists in Washington, D.C. and across the country as future funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal health agencies remains uncertain. At the center of this storm is the terrible threat of across-the-board cuts to medical research in FY2013.

Researchers within the District of Columbia, including those at the Children’s Research Institute at the Children’s National Medical Center, rely on NIH grants for innovative studies. In FY2011, they were awarded more than $202 million in grants.Here at Children’s National, our work consists of state-of-the art studies in the fetal brain development, therapies for brain protection in both neonates and older children, research on cause and treatment for pediatric brain tumors, and development of novel therapies for rare genetic disorders of infants. Children’s National now houses the largest research team in the country focusing on pain control and treatment for children. The researchers at Children’s National, which are a part of the top 10 research funded children’s hospitals and departments of pediatrics in the nation, are making groundbreaking advances in pediatric medicine daily. This will only continue if federal funding continues to be available to help support our teams of scientists.

Massive cuts to basic and biomedical research will slow medical progress in reducing premature birth rates and countless other deadly diseases.  Insufficient funding could also negatively impact our position as a global leader in science and innovation, a sentiment shared by many citizens. A public opinion poll by Research!America, a non-profit advocacy group, shows a majority of Americans (58%) are skeptical that the U.S. will be a world leader in science and technology by the year 2020. Funding cuts would also slow the pace of economic recovery and job creation. According to a recent report by United for Medical Research, research driven by the NIH created more than 432,000 new jobs and generated an estimated $62 billion in new economic activity from the FY2010 budget and from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That translates to a gain of $11 billion in economic activity in the District of Columbia. Research is an economic engine that our elected officials and candidates for public office have largely overlooked and are not talking about—and that needs to change.

This election season provides an opportunity for candidates to share their views on research and development. It’s critically important for voters to know where the candidates stand on research that can accelerate medical breakthroughs and economic progress. Research!America’s national voter education initiative, Your Candidates-Your Health, invites candidates for the U.S. presidency and Congress to state their positions on scientific and medical research.

President John F. Kennedy ushered in the “New Frontier” in the 1960s in which science and its potential for impacting people’s lives was a major focus. We cannot afford to become complacent and delay scientific discoveries that could save the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable population.

Billie Lou Short, MD is the Chief of the Division of Neonatology at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Congress is On Recess, Talking to Constituents – Including You?

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

It’s easy to guess what Members of Congress are hearing about while they are back home this week and next: the economy, the economy and the economy. It is possible too they are hearing about the budget battles, since media have fueled the debate between the Ryan budget and the president’s budget. Neither of these proposals will actually become law in their current form, but they have significant life as surrogates for the election-year debate on the proper role of government in our society. One feature of the Ryan budget is to lower the ceiling on appropriations negotiations, placing NIH and other agency funding at even greater risk than at present. Layer on top of that the threat of sequestration cuts, which could lop 7% to 9% off the NIH budget, and we have a recipe for disaster. Many pundits and some Members of Congress are predicting that sequestration will not happen, but that’s by no means assured. Although the figures cited are not firm right now, sequestration could reduce the number of new NIH grants by as much as 2,300, while also necessitating deep cuts to existing grants. If stakeholders in research cannot convince current and prospective Members of the House and Senate that federal investment in innovation is an essential determinant of our nation’s future prosperity and an American value that must not be undercut, we will have to prepare for devastating setbacks. Please seek out your Member of Congress during this recess; explain what’s at risk and ask for support.

In March, both the House and the Senate held hearings on the budgets for NIH, NSF, FDA and CDC, and deliberations continue this month. Members of Congress have generally expressed support for research and an understanding of its importance to our nation, but their enthusiasm is often tempered by the pressures of a tight fiscal environment. More voices speaking up this month from the research stakeholder community will help convert tentative support to leadership of our issue. If you haven’t already, it is critical to submit written testimony on behalf of health research. Instructions for submissions are available here, and the deadline for submission is April 27. And don’t stop with that submission! It is essential for more advocates to speak up on several issues of immediate concern and to do so via social media, as well as more conventional outreach. For example, last week Research!America joined others in a Twitter campaign to urge timely passage of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) in order to protect FDA resources needed to ensure timely review and approval of new medicines.

Election-year politics are on the mind of every Member of Congress. Congressional primaries are starting to take place, in addition to the remaining presidential primaries. It is incumbent on all who care about research to urge candidates to declare their views on our issue. Be sure to take a moment to reach out to candidates via Your Candidates-Your Health; in addition, pen a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or send in an op-ed. Alternatively, consider scheduling an interview with a local radio station or television program. We can flesh out these ideas with you; simply send me a return response email and we’ll get to work.

Speaking of candidates, is urging a presidential debate on science. In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Shawn Otto, founder of ScienceDebate, writes about the importance of candidates engaging on these issues at a time when science plays a role in virtually all aspects of public policymaking. The organization has made excellent use of recent poll data from Research!America to tease out important demographic information on attitudes toward science as a national issue. They also note that 85% of likely voters agree that the candidates should engage in a debate on science. Add your voice and sign on to the petition calling for a presidential science debate.

In a previous letter, I mentioned our upcoming event, Fueling Innovation and Saving Lives, being held on Monday in New York City. For those who cannot attend in person, we will be webcasting the event which will feature Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and New York-based leaders in global health R&D.


Mary Woolley

Increased Research Investment Imperative to Stop TB in this Lifetime

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The attention of the global health community is focused on tuberculosis (TB) this week in preparation for World TB Day on March 24.  World TB Day commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacteria that causes TB.  Unfortunately, 130 years after Dr. Koch’s discovery, effective tools are still not available to protect the world’s poor from the TB pandemic.

In 2010, 8.8 million people became sick with TB and 1.4 million people died from the disease, including 700,000 children.  While 95% of these deaths occurred in the developing world, TB has also been resurging in developed countries like the United States.  Research and development (R&D) is needed in three areas that can make a significant difference in the fight against TB: diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.  Global health product development partnerships (PDPs) have been formed to tackle this challenge, and we now have the most TB drugs in the research pipeline in history.

A major breakthrough was achieved in 2010 when the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed a new field test that can detect whether a person has TB, and if that TB is resistant to first-line drugs, in less than 2 hours.  Co-developed by the PDP Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and manufactured by California-based diagnostic company Cepheid, this GeneXpert test can replace current lab-based tests that take up to three months to provide results.  This revolutionary technology is expensive, however, and only 47 of the 145 countries eligible for reduced pricing are currently using the GeneXpert.  Increased funding is needed to increase accessibility to this technology and to continue to develop cheaper, faster diagnostic tools.

Bill Gates speaking with doctors using the new GeneXpert diagnostic system at the Lala Ram Swawrup Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases.  Photo credit: Flickr photo by Gates Foundation, 2011

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is conducting promising research to develop new TB drug regimens that are safe for all populations, short-term in duration and effective for all TB strains, even those that are resistant to current treatments.  The TB Alliance announced just this week that it has launched a clinical trial to test a new drug combination in patients with TB and multi-drug resistant TB, the first to include both populations.  Headquartered in New York City, TB Alliance knows firsthand that public commitments to TB R&D must be sustained to control the epidemic.  New York City experienced a resurgence of the TB epidemic in the 1980s after funding was cut for TB programs in the 1970s, as was described in a Science Speaks interview with TB expert Lee Reichman, MD, MPH, founding executive director of the New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute.

Significant progress has also been made in the search for a new TB vaccine.  In the past decade, a dozen vaccine candidates have entered clinical trials, six of which were developed or supported by Maryland non-profit Aeras.  The next 10 years are critical for conducting research that increases the scientific understanding of TB disease which is necessary to further advance TB vaccine development, according to the TB Vaccine Blueprint published this week in the journal Tuberculosis by experts in the TB vaccine field.

The U.S. government must make TB R&D a national priority, and encourage other countries to do the same.  The establishment of the House Tuberculosis Elimination Caucus, led by Reps. Engel (D-NY), Green (D-TX) and Young (R-AK), shows that members of Congress are publicly committed to stopping TB – the best chance of actually achieving this goal is through continued investment in the development of improved vaccines, diagnostics and treatment. The scientific community is on the verge of breakthroughs in the fight against TB and we cannot afford to lose the progress being made to save lives around the world through research.

To learn more about the innovative research being conducted by the TB Alliance and other global health partners and its impact on New York’s health and economic status, please join us on April 9th in New York City for an exciting panel discussion, moderated by influential global health commentator Laurie Garrett.  For more information and to RSVP for the event, please visit

For more information on the CDC’s role in TB prevention and control, please see our guest post today on the Campaign for Public Health Foundation’s blog at

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Budget battles renewed as appropriations season heats up

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, released his budget plan Tuesday, outlining dramatic federal spending reductions over a 10-year period — over and above those agreed to during last year’s budget negotiations. The plan does not address science or research spending directly, but neither does it exempt research from cuts. In other words, science is not at the top level of public priority despite the fact that it is essential to our economic growth and well-being. The Ryan budget document states that the government should continue to fund basic research but raises concerns about government funding of applied and commercial R&D projects; in addition, it calls for ending government programs that “allow government to play venture capitalist with taxpayers’ money.” In a blog post, the White House Office of Management and Budget wrote about the impact the Ryan budget could have on research. While this budget may pass the House, it is unlikely to pass the Senate and be signed into law. That doesn’t mean it won’t have significant influence and may be adopted in part. We will stay closely tuned to the budget conversation and keep you apprised of the latest developments.

Also Tuesday, echoes of the Ryan budget’s concern regarding the government’s role in basic vs. other research support were heard at the House appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, chaired by Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), hearing on NIH. Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Thomas Insel (acting NCATS director as well as director of NIMH) represented the NIH (a full witness list and testimony can be found here). Discussion around NCATS was rigorous, with some members and witnesses expressing outright opposition and others suggesting other ways the funds could be used. The Members of Congress in attendance also raised questions about funding for the NIH IDeA program, the National Children’s Study, and the Clinical and Translational Science Award program. In response to Member concerns about the amount of funding for basic vs. non-basic and extramural vs. intramural research, Dr. Collins responded that the ratio for both has remained relatively steady over time. For more coverage of the hearing, see this news article from Nature.

Translational research was one of several timely issues addressed by panelists last week at Research!America’s National Health Research Forum. The Forum featured research leaders from academia, patient groups and industry along with agency heads (NIH, NSF, AHRQ, CDC and FDA). As our new public polling has shown, voters are increasingly concerned about the U.S. losing its global preeminence in science and health care. The theme — “From World Class to Second Class?” — addressed U.S. competiveness in science, research and innovation. As advocates, we must all work to convey the IMPORTANCE of not taking research for granted, by speaking out to policy makers, candidates and voters alike. To date, we’ve seen 13 news articles covering our forum. You can find links to them here. You can also view our top-line comments and takeaways from the forum discussion here.

Last Thursday, just in time to weigh in before the Illinois primary, the Chicago Tribune published an article by Research!America board member Dr. Mary Hendrix, the president and scientific director of Children’s Memorial Research Center at Northwestern University. She points out that federal funding for medical research is at great risk despite the major benefits that these investments bring to communities and institutions across the country. Unfortunately, our elected officials and political candidates have barely addressed these issues, and it is up to us to get them talking about research. Please take a moment now to send a note to the presidential candidates to remind them to complete our Your Candidates–Your Health questionnaire.

Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) are circulating a Dear Colleague letter in the Senate in support of NIH funding. Contact your senators TODAY and ask them to sign-on to the Casey-Burr letter. The deadline for senators to sign on is Monday.


Mary Woolley

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.


Mary Woolley

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Super Tuesday Ahead – Make Research an Election Issue!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

Last night marked what could be the last of the Republican debates, but of course it’s not the last we will hear from the candidates. The question is: Will they talk about research as critical to the economy and to health? Not if they aren’t pressed on the topic! Across the country, scientists and researchers are working on this, stepping up advocacy in the form of op-eds and letters to the editor. Just in time for the Michigan primary next week, an op-ed by Dr. Gilbert Omenn of the University of Michigan has been published in The Detroit News. Dr. Omenn highlights the local impact and importance of medical research. And, he includes a call to action: “We should all call upon the candidates to make a firm commitment to strengthen investment in health research and other sectors.”

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis Sullivan is in print as well with a syndicated op-ed published in several McClatchy-owned newspapers including The Sacramento Bee in California and has also been picked up on the Bloomberg wire. Sullivan points out that a frozen NIH budget will hurt our health, impede economic growth and do nothing to help alleviate growing health disparities in the U.S.

On Super Tuesday, March 6, 10 more states will hold their primaries: We are standing by to help you write an op-ed to appear in AK, GA, ID, MA, ND, OH, OK, TN, VT or VA. Let’s make sure science and health research are part of the election dialogue.

If you are not already signed up, please join us March 14, when Research!America convenes our annual National Forum, “World Class to Second Class? Confronting the Risks to U.S. Science and Innovation,” featuring agency heads and other research leaders from across the country. The Forum will be moderated by Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, David Leonhardt, and Dr. Richard Besser, senior health and medical editor for ABC News. Panelists and the audience will discuss what it will take to maintain our nation’s leadership in research and innovation. This is the only annual event that brings all the health research agency heads together. More information and event registration can be found here.

March 14 is also the date of our Annual Advocacy Awards dinner. I am thrilled to announce that Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland will be with us to receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy. Sen. Mikulski has been a staunch advocate for research for health and the physical sciences, leading efforts to stem heart disease in women, advance Alzheimer’s research, and help ensure patient safety through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Other award winners are Dr. Sanjay Gupta (CNN), Dr. Margaret Foti (American Association of Cancer Research), Mr. Scott Johnson (Myelin Repair Foundation), Dr. Donald Lindberg (National Library of Medicine) and the Food Allergy Initiative. Please join me in recognizing those who have made such a tremendous difference for health and medical research in this country.


Mary Woolley

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: A New Year, New Momentum for Research

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Dear Research Advocate,

As we approach the New Year, a quick summary and word of thanks is in order.  Despite the unprecedented fiscal environment and an extraordinarily polarized Congress, research fared relatively well over the past year. NIH, CDC, NSF, and FDA all received budget increases in 2011, while AHRQ was cut slightly. The advocacy community has played a critical role in conveying to the public and policymakers that research should be a higher priority in America. Thank you for all your efforts over the past year. Read our year end press release with a statement from Research!America’s Chair, The Honorable John Porter.

In 2012, we face the fallout of the Supercommittee, which will bring devastating 8% across-the-board cuts beginning in January 2013 unless Congress reverses course. Everything that Congress does in 2012 will be with an eye on the November election. The presidential election is already in full swing with the Iowa Caucuses right around the corner and the Congressional races gearing up.

Medical progress – or the lack thereof – has implications for every American. As the elections approach, we must work together to ensure that research is an issue that every candidate has addressed. Our voter education initiative, Your Candidates–Your Health has attracted the attention of leading presidential candidates and media including The Hill and The New York Times, as well as over 100 print and online media hits for the press release covering the initiative and relevant poll data.  But we need advocates like you to help sustain the momentum. Attend a town hall meeting, write an op-ed or letter to the editor, and work with the media to make sure that candidates are talking about research. As I’ve said before and will again — we can’t expect elected officials who never talk about research as a national priority to suddenly decide to do so after they have taken office. We have to convince them now of the winning nature of championing research. Winning for the country, and a way to help them win election!

With the Iowa Caucuses coming up on January 3, the timing was good for our letter to the editor published last week in the Des Moines Register, commenting on Grinell President Raynard Kington’s op-ed and calling for the presidential candidates to talk about medical research. If you reside in the states with an early primary –  New Hampshire, Florida, or South Carolina – please get in touch. We will work together to get an op-ed placed in your state.

And don’t think only of those states. Follow the lead of Research!America Board member and Nobel Laureate Dr. Carol Greider who had an excellent op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun. In the article, Dr. Greider explains that “Our nation’s elected leaders are not championing science — or even talking about it, during presidential debates or on the floor of the Congress — even as other nations are stepping up their determination to match and exceed the U.S. in discovery. It takes years to realize the multiple benefits of science; without adequate, sustained funding for research, the careers of many bright, young scientists may come to a screeching halt.” This is the right message to send to the public and policymakers – if we fail to support research now we lose out on a better future for our nation.

A terrific op-ed by Dr. Huda Akil, neuroscientist at the University of Michigan and former President of the Society for Neuroscience, was recently published in The Washington Times. Under the title, “An Incomparable Nation,” Dr. Akil writes, “… there is a more fundamental reason, I believe, to support science in this country and to keep on doing so even during tough times. A reason that the world seems to recognize but we in America seem to be forgetting: Discovery is at the heart of what America is.” Research is part of America’s DNA, but we must work every day to ensure that our elected leaders don’t take this for granted.

Please help us fulfill our mission to make research for health a higher national priority.  For patients and their families, for our nation’s economic strength in the 21st century, for researchers and research institutions across the country…it has never been more important.  Donate now.


Mary Woolley

PEPFAR as a Model of Smart & Effective Investments in Global Health

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Ambassador Eric Goosby, MD, is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and the honorary presenter for this year’s David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture, held every year at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In his speech, “PEPFAR: Moving From Science to Program to Save Lives,” Amb. Goosby’s focused on progress that the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS and how this progress is helping to improve our future.

Among its many accomplishments, PEPFAR supports treatment for 3.9 million people around the world, has supported 1 million male circumcisions (which helps protect against the virus), and has been instrumental in showing the world “the heart of the American people” through “health diplomacy.”

PEPFAR is also “prioritizing smart investments [by engaging in] what works.” By eliminating redundancy, finding alternative and cost-effective solutions, and improving partner coordination, PEPFAR has strived for efficiency throughout its work. For example, PEPFAR has successfully driven down the per-person cost of HIV/AIDS treatment by a little more than two-thirds, or from $1,100 to $335 per year.

Amb. Goosby noted how research-driven agencies like the NIH have played significant roles in the interagency’s success and called PEPFAR the intersection “where science and implementation combine for critical impact.”

As Secretary Clinton said in her speech on “Creating an AIDS-Free Generation” in November, also at the NIH, the knowledge and technologies we have today have given us the “route we need to take” in the fight against AIDS. Amb. Goosby ended his speech on a similar optimistic note by quoting Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Case Western University’s Research ShowCASE

Monday, April 6th, 2009

On April 16, 2009, hundreds of researchers, scientists and scholars will come together for a day of collaboration, creativity, and innovation.

Review the day’s agenda, which includes Research!America President Mary Woolley as the day’s keynote speaker, and register to attend.

Exhibits of real-world applications, critical insights, and creative and intellectual activities will be on view for students, faculty, staff, alumni, business & industry leaders and the community, highlighting the full range of faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate research at Case.

Research ShowCASE provides evidence of how research and scholarship bring value to Case, our community and the world.

Research ShowCASE is a free public exhibit and is held in Veale Convocation Center on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

Cleveland’s Sun Press has more details about the event here.

Science Progress: Varmus on Funding for Disease-Specific Research

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Former National Institutes of Health Director Harold Varmus, MD, has written a book on his experiences with science, The Art and Politics of Science. Science Progress posted an excerpt from the book and described the challenges of funding disease-specific research. The post and Varmus’s writing are great examples of why Research!America advocates for all research funding that benefits health and health care.

“The basic work may be impossible to classify by disease category, since it could help to understand many neurological diseases or others. This is where the concept of scientific opportunity comes into play: Spending funds to seize a chance to understand a fundamental principle in biology is often a more effective approach to disease than mandating funds for research on a specific disease.”

Medical Progress Today: Priorities for the New FDA Commissioner

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Research!America President Mary Woolley participated in an expert panel held by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute. Panel members discussed their thoughts on the top priorities for the new Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

“In selecting the next FDA commissioner, President-elect Obama can signal determination to achieve the promise of personalized medicine. The FDA must be grounded in science; that means the new Commissioner must have deep knowledge of science and public health and must make that the foundation for all decisions. The agency must have a leader with strong management skills; a leader who will remain apolitical and who will exercise a level of independence, akin to that of the Federal Reserve chair.

The new Commissioner cannot succeed without a strong agency behind him or her. The FDA requires double its current resources just to fulfill its congressionally mandated responsibilities, and its workload will only grow as it strives to assure safety and maintain a flow of potentially life-saving new products.

According to recent public opinion surveys, Americans expect breakthroughs in the next decade in diabetes, cancer and heart disease, yet 57% believe we are not making enough progress. Americans deserve an FDA that is fully funded and armed with the leadership and vision to meet public expectations for research.”

Read the other panelists’ comments here.

Science Careers: Can Early-Career Scientists Believe in Change?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

An online publication by Science for scientists and employers, Science Careers, included an article today about the future of science funding in the current economy. The optimism about President-elect Barack Obama’s promises about science need to be scaled back due to the economic landscape. Research!America Chair The Honorable John Edward Porter was quoted on the significance of appointing a Cabinet-level science adviser and the state of NIH funding.

Beyond funding, another crucial issue for science will be the identity and status of the new president’s science adviser, said John Porter, a former Republican congressperson and current partner in the powerful Hogan & Hartson law firm who heads Research! America , a major advocacy group for biomedical research. Other signs to watch, he said, include how fast the adviser is appointed, whether he or she gets Cabinet status and a position in the White House Office of Science Policy, and whether that office is close to the president in the West Wing or across the street in the Old Executive Office Building. Though those questions may seem mere inside-the-Beltway details, they will indicate whether science is a serious policy player.

Other crucial indicators, Porter said, will be Obama’s State of the Union message, which will outline his Administration’s priorities, and his first budget, which, given the Democratic Congressional majorities and electoral mandate at his back, is likely to carry far more weight than in recent years. Obama and the Congress, however, will be working to undo the results of 6 years that Porter termed “the disaster,” when the entire increase in discretionary spending went to defense, homeland security, and veterans. “Everything else was flat-funded,” including science, he said.