advocacy

Dear Research Advocate: What’s the “right” amount of taxpayer funding for medical and health research? What are the ‘right’ policies for science? We are asked these question regularly. The announcement yesterday by Harold Varmus that he will leave the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the end of this month reminded me that in Science in 1993, Dr. Varmus and fellow Nobel Laureate Michael Bishop, along with their then-colleague at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Mark Kirchner, set forth an 11-point prescription for science policy. It is worth re-reading their approach to a set of problems that bear a striking similarity to those we face today, e.g: “The last decade has...
Dear Research Advocate: Appropriately, it was Jack Valenti, prominent former president of the Motion Pictures Association of America, who recommended to politicians that every speech should include the six words: “let me tell you a story.” Stories have impact in ways reports do not. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist diagnosed with a form of the motor-neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in The Theory of Everything , and Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland, a fictional linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, in Still Alice , were Academy Award winners last Sunday evening. These films grappled with devastating diagnoses for the...
We are pleased that the President’s FY16 budget proposal calls for the elimination of sequestration and starts an overdue conversation about better aligning resources for public health and medical progress, given their importance to the American people and to the health of our economy. It is critical that we ramp up initiatives that focus on precision medicine, Alzheimer’s, antimicrobial resistance and other growing health threats, but these investments should supplement, not supplant, the imperative of making up for a decade’s worth of lost ground. We believe that Congress and the White House can, and must, unify behind the vision encapsulated in the bipartisan Accelerating Biomedical...
Today, Research!America urged the 114th Congress to take action on five science priorities in the first 100 days of the legislative session in order to elevate research and innovation on the nation’s agenda: Advance the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Spearheaded by Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.),the initiative is a promising step in the right direction, focusing on speeding medical progress from bench-to-bedside by integrating patient perspectives into the regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials, and reducing red tape, among other things. Repeal the medical device tax. A provision in the Affordable Care Act, efforts to repeal the medical device tax...
Excerpt of an op-ed by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley published in the Huffington Post . As the new Congress sets priorities, there are strong indications that the political climate is ripe for a surge in science. Bipartisan support for the 21st Century Cures Initiative, a comprehensive study of roadblocks to medical innovation and development of new disease therapies and treatments, is slated to move forward with draft legislation early next year. The measure is expected to address six areas of reform: integrating patients’ perspectives into the regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials, fostering the future of science, investing in advancing research, incentivizing...
Dear Research Advocate: I don’€™t always dwell so much on Congress-related actions (or the lack thereof), but this time it’€™s essential given all the year-end/Congress-end action. So bear with me; it’€™s important to the future of health and our nation’€™s prosperity. The ’€œCromnibus’€ narrowly passed Congress and has now been signed into law. As I emphasized in last week’€™s letter, this bill is too little, too late in a multitude of ways, but it’€™s better than a shutdown, or a year-long continuing resolution. More to the point is that Congress didn’€™t do better. Members of Congress can allocate more funding to medical research and science and technology broadly. Congress can alter...
Dear Research Advocate: Congress is working to reach agreement to fund the government for FY15. Recall that the federal fiscal year 2015 began on Oct. 1, but that deadline was not met. Instead, a continuing resolution (CR) was enacted to keep the government from shutting down. Missed deadlines and CRs have now been the pattern of many years’€™ standing, despite rhetoric about the importance of a “return to regular order.” Instead of regular order we have “kick the can down the road,” again and again. It seems increasingly likely that Congress’€™ current appropriations negotiations will produce a hybrid omnibus and CR (a ’€œCRomnibus’€ for fans of linguistic portmanteau!) which includes all...
With the exception of the December run-off in Louisiana and final tallies in a few very close contests, we know the basic political landscape for the next two years. The change is greater than many analysts predicted, although it is not a surprise that the House and the Senate will both be Republican-controlled for the first time in eight years. What does this mean for U.S medical progress and scientific discovery generally? According to our experts at Research!America'€™s post-election briefing hosted by the AAAS this morning, we can expect some highs and lows in both the lame-duck€ and the next appropriations cycle, with the first seven months of the new year being the limited window of...
Dear Research Advocate: If you haven’€™t already heard, ’€œThrowback Thursday’€ is a weekly social media activity that celebrates unforgettable moments in our lives. Users of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram draw inspiration from old photos of family and friends or landmark events, and talk about them, accompanied by the hashtag #TBT. Wouldn’€™t it be great if today’€™s #TBT includes reflections on the impact of medical and health research on our lives and those of our loved ones — especially today, with the mid-term elections coming right up, with so much at stake for future generations? Consider how far we’€™ve come in medicine. This week marks the 100th birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who...
Dear Research Advocate: We thought we learned our lesson after 9/11 and anthrax attacks. After the trauma and after fear swept the nation, we invested substantially in ’€œpreparedness.’€ But then we drifted into complacency, and began cutting deeply into the kind of preparedness that is less visible than TSA and drone strikes, but, as Ebola is teaching us now, no less valuable. As mentioned in today’€™s congressional hearing on the subject, the decade-long pattern of cuts to federal health agencies, as well as to funding for hospital and public health preparedness, has now been revealed to have been short-sighted. (Much of the cutting was carried out over the years as a way to ’€œ...

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Abraham Lincoln