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New leadership in the White House means new leadership in key government positions such as those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which houses the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers (TCC) for Health Disparities Research Program. TCC supports academic, community, and government coalitions that research social determinants and analyze various health- or non-health-related policies that affect health disparities. Social determinants, such as education, income, and community conditions — which are often tied to race and ethnicity — play a significant role in why certain communities experience higher rates of infant mortality , diabetes , stroke , obesity , and breast cancer...
The One Health Initiative , which is supported by scientific, health and environmentally related disciplines, represents the future of infectious disease treatment and prevention. As advocates for science and medical innovation, we must recognize the enormous potential that One Health holds and encourage multi-disciplinary thinking and collaboration across the full spectrum of stakeholders to improve public health and security. Many zoonotic diseases -- diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans -- have had profound effects on public health. Ongoing scientific research on a West Nile Virus vaccine, increased understanding of chronic Lyme disease and therapeutic treatments...
Watch the videos from each panel, read the transcript , view the photo gallery and read the WebMD live recap . “The biomedical research enterprise underpins the health of the nation and much of the world, and is in dire need of substantial infusion to meet the great medical needs of our time,” said William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D. , global head, Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the keynote speaker at the 2016 National Health Research Forum, added that we’re losing time in addressing threats like the Zika virus, Ebola and cancer while waiting for funding to improve for biomedical research. The program, held Thursday,...
Dear Research Advocate: News this week from researchers in Brazil on hearing loss in infants born to mothers who have been infected with the Zika virus underscores the reality that we are far from seeing light at the end of this public health crisis tunnel. CDC Director Tom Frieden and NIAID Director Tony Fauci wrote on the perils of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in funding the nation’s response to Zika in yesterday’s Washington Post . We are fortunate to be welcoming both of these leaders to our National Health Research Forum next week, so will have an in-the-moment update. Some 76% of Americans now say Congress should make passing the emergency Zika response an important priority when they...
Dear Research Advocate: World-class athletes are getting ready to go for the gold in Rio. No one is going for copper, but researchers have found that in healthcare settings, this mineral is a champion when it comes to reducing the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria (one of several public health threats that has received attention in the run-up to the Games). If you are looking for an example of the return on research, this article about the role of copper in reducing hospital associated infections provides an excellent one. Years of investment in research, from discovery science through to trials, can and will pay off for the public with every expectation of many more lives saved in...
Dear Research Advocate: Today, the House Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittee marked up its FY17 funding bill, which includes funding for NIH, CDC and AHRQ. NIH received a $1.25 billion increase, $750 million less than the Senate increase. Given the subcommittee’s overall budget allocation ($569 million below fiscal year 2016) and the more conservative funding climate in the House, this is still an extraordinarily positive outcome. At the markup, Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) noted that the $1.25 billion increase set a floor - rather than a ceiling - for NIH funding in FY17, a positive sign for potential negotiations with the Senate later in the process. The House Labor-HHS bill proposes a...
Dear Research Advocate: If you’ve read Ron Chernow’s “Hamilton,” you know that the partisan stand-off we are witnessing in the House, and more broadly across the nation, is not new. Chernow reminds us that political parties -- not originally foreseen by the Founding Fathers -- grew out of intense and often ugly disagreements between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson during the second administration of George Washington. That insight doesn’t make this week’s turn of events less dramatic, but it does offer perspective. In the midst of the Democratic sit-in on preventing gun violence, the House adjourned earlier than expected and won’t resume business until July 5. Just before adjourning...
Dear Research Advocate: The news from the CDC this week is concerning. For the first time in over a decade the overall, all-cause mortality rate for the U.S. is higher than in the preceding year. This unexpected news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement confirming the first U.S. case of an E. coli infection resistant to colistin, a last-resort antibiotic, reminding us of just how important it is to curtail and outpace antimicrobial resistance. And we have word of the second baby born in the U.S. with microcephaly due to Zika, as well as a new estimate that 300 pregnant women in the U.S. have the virus. On their own, each of these stories should serve as a wake-up call for...
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6 th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, affecting 11% of the population 65 years and older. Without a treatment or prevention breakthrough, studies estimate there could be as many as 13.5 million Americans living with the disease by 2050 with associated health care costs rising above $1 trillion. However, the research has progressed, as scientists unlock and unveil the secrets of the brain. Recently, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that measures of the tau protein are better markers of the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's than measures of amyloid beta...
Dear Research Advocate: The CDC has concluded that a causal relationship exists between the Zika virus and microcephaly. Earlier this week, Congress passed a law providing incentives for private sector development of Zika vaccines and treatments. But responding to threats like Zika is a resource-intensive, multi-pronged process. We are working with the March of Dimes and other partners to fight for emergency funding. Interested in joining this effort? Let me know! The Senate Appropriations Committee has parsed the overall FY17 discretionary budget into “302(b)” allocations for its various subcommittees. Given that the topline numbers are virtually flat, it is not particularly surprising...

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor