Posts Tagged ‘The Huffington Post’

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: How Did Research Fare in the President’s Budget? And now what?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Dear Research Advocate,

As we discussed yesterday in a Research!America members-only conference call, President Obama’s budget recommendations for FY13, while positive for NSF, AHRQ and FDA, effectively flat-funded NIH, and CDC was cut dramatically. Particularly during a tough climb back to economic stability, our nation cannot afford to tread water or set back the clock on medical innovation and public health. Budget cuts have already had a negative impact on research institutions as this recent article in the Cincinnati Business Journal highlights.

During our call we heard from top White House officials that the administration’s goal is for 3% of GDP to be committed to R&D (public and private sector combined), a level not seen since the 1960s. Getting there is a heavy lift, however, particularly given the current strictures established by the Budget Control Act. The White House and the media know that we will be fighting for stronger budgets for science from Congress. Doing anything less is a ticket to reduced economic activity, stymied potential for more efficient and effective health care, and widened gaps in the infrastructure that prevent costly and potentially deadly public health incidents. Read our release on the president’s budget here and see recent articles on the president’s budget in The Hill and PharmaTimes that include portions of our statement. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will be holding a conference call tonight at 6:30 p.m. EST – be sure to call in to learn more about science in the president’s budget. RSVP here to obtain the dial-in number.

When it comes to NIH, advocates must be steadfast. There is not a lot of maneuvering room, but I still believe we can and should go farther than the president’s budget. NIH should be funded at no less than $32 billion in FY13, which is a $1.3 billion increase over the president’s request. Last year, we saw support for a $1 billion increase in NIH despite overall budget cuts. This year we need to build on that momentum, taking it from recommendations and failed amendments to reality. We have to make the case that to flat-fund NIH is to undercut the nation’s determination to return to economic growth and prosperity.

Don’t let up. Write or visit your elected representatives; a visit to your member’s local office is a great plan during one of the scheduled recesses coming up. Pen an op-ed or letter to the editor. If you are a patient, the family member of one, or a scientist, use your phone or computer to produce a video explaining why medical research is important to you and to our nation. Research!America will make sure your video makes waves. We’d be glad to help you with any of the other advocacy activities I’ve mentioned as well. And send me your ideas! Are there other ways advocates can make the case for federal research funding? Let me know your thoughts.


Mary Woolley

P.S.  Election watch:  Last week, the Huffington Post published a strong article by a postdoctoral scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Michael Ham writes, “As calls to reduce federal benefits grow louder, we must fight short-sighted cuts to the science based engines that underlie our medical, economic, and military might.” Dr. Ham is running for U.S. Senate in Nevada and has stepped up for science as few candidates have.

The Research World, A Decade On

Friday, September 9th, 2011

If, in 2001, you were old enough to grasp the enormity of what happened that cloudless Tuesday morning, you’ll never forget the circumstances in which you first heard news of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The most hyperbolic adjectives failed to encompass the sum total of feelings in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in New York; Arlington, VA; and Shanksville, PA. Most commonly, it seems, was a sense that our world had changed, suddenly and completely.

A decade on, those feelings were right. What aspect of our lives remains untouched by 9/11?

Travel, personal freedom, our government … each changed because of the events of 9/11, to say nothing of the direct and indirect personal loss.

Even our focus, scientific research, has changed. In the days leading to this weekend’s anniversary, several media outlets have focused on how science and research has changed. Among them:

  • The Scientific American, with a piece earlier this week, looks at the rise of biodefense, forensics and cybersecurity.
  • Slate looks at the skyrocketing number of neuroscience research projects and why it matters to homeland security.
  • The Huffington Post reports that psychologists have turned to a new approach, Psychological First Aid, as a way of staving off post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The Crimson White, a student-run newspaper at the University of Alabama, profiles three students and a professor on their recollections of 9/11. Most telling is the profile of Walter Enders, PhD. “Before 9/11, I was pretty much going to wind down my research on terrorism. I’d been at Iowa State for about 25 years and had written 20 papers at that time,” Enders told the paper. “I came [to Alabama] and thought, well, that’s the end of that. I really didn’t think I’d be working on terrorism here, but then 9/11 happened, and suddenly there was a huge demand for terrorism research.”
  • MetroWest Daily News features the contributions of Natick Labs – or, more formally, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center – and the research being undertaken there, which helps protect soldiers on the front lines.
  • Medscape Today interviews James A. James, MD, DrPH, on his role as director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response. CPHPDR is a program of the American Medical Association, a Research!America member.

Reading and reminiscing about 9/11 serves as sort of mental period piece; in unearthing the memories of that day, we’re transported back to our feelings and our own perspective of how the day unfolded. Here’s how Research!America reacted; our Annual Report from 2001 focused on homeland security and this column, from our president and CEO, Mary Woolley, ran in the first newsletter we published about the attacks.

In the difficult days following the attacks of September 11th, many of us are asking ourselves, “what can I do to help?” and “where do I/my work/my organization fit in?” The outpouring of help for the rescue and recovery effort has been nothing less than inspirational, and nowhere has that been more true than among the people and institutions who are committed to health. Research!America is proud to be standing side by side with those of our colleagues and partners who have and continue to help on the front line.

We at R!A have been taking stock of our mission and programs in light of the recent tragedy. We are fortunate to have a solid, up to date strategic plan to draw from at our upcoming October 16th board of directors meeting, R!A Chair Hon. Paul Rogers and I will communicate R!A’s future plans to the entire membership. Until then, we offer the following thoughts.

Investment in research has always been a good use of America’s resources; assuring steady progress in achieving better health and quality of life, and contributing to the nation’s prosperity. In times of crisis, when national defense is also at stake, the importance of research – not only in health, but in all the sciences – is more important than ever. It is time for every member of the research community to step forward and participate fully in the tasks of assuring both homeland security and improved global health and quality of life. R!A is prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder in a new mobilization of science to protect the nation.

So much has changed. But as we pause to remember that day, contemplate from where we’ve come and wonder to where we’re headed, let us never forget.

Remembering a Public Health Hero

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Last week, Paul G. Rogers Society Ambassador Carole Mitnick, ScD, remembered Sir John Crofton, a pioneer of the six-month tuberculosis treatment, in an editorial in The Huffington Post.

Mitnick, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, recognizes the potential that Sir John’s research once represented for global treatment, and now laments the lost opportunity caused by decades of neglecting research.

At least a half-million people have a form of TB that cannot be cured by Sir John’s combination therapy. Why? Because the bacteria living and proliferating in these patients are resistant to those drugs…This is a consequence of decades of neglect of research in TB. No new anti-TB drugs have been developed since the 1960s. Current diagnostics date to the 19th century; they are slow and not very accurate. Surgery, without which some patients’ disease will never be cured, is rarely available. This is due to an estimated funding gap of $1 billion each year in global resources required for TB control.

Read more about why Mitnick advocates for a greater U.S. investment in global health research.

-Garrett Heilman

The Huffington Post: First Ever World Pneumonia Day

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Today marks a call to action to tackle childhood pneumonia: the first-ever World Pneumonia Day.

Pneumonia is the number one killer of children under age five around the world–killing more children than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Research!America’s Paul G. Rogers Society Ambassador Patricia Hibberd MD, PhD, and director of the Center for Global Health Research at Tufts University wrote in an opinion editorial published by The Huffington Post. Dr. Hibberd describes the obstacles and the solution to effective treatment.

We desperately need simple, inexpensive, accurate, and immediate ways to diagnose bacterial pneumonia…Research can show us how to overcome the barriers. It is only a funding source away.

Read more about recent research which links H1N1 and pneumonia and the need to use this research to fight pneumonia at home and worldwide.

-Garrett Heilman