Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: Fostering research and innovation has long been a multi-pronged effort ’€” government, industry, academia, patients and patient organizations, foundations, and individual philanthropists ’€” all working to advance research. The current interest shown by private philanthropists in advancing science is an echo of a phenomenon witnessed a century ago ’€” and a sign of the opportunity available in some way to all of us to accelerate medical progress and maintain our nation’€™s competitive edge. As reported in a recent front page New York Times article, private donors are stepping up in a big way at a time when scientific opportunity has never been greater. But it is...
Dear Research Advocate: The president’€™s budget for FY15 was released Tuesday. While mostly symbolic, the president’€™s funding recommendations often serve as the ’€œfirst bid’€ in the negotiations that result in agency funding levels. That is why the president’€™s proposals for the agencies that collectively drive medical progress and play such a pivotal role in the health and safety of Americans are of such concern. The president’€™s budget proposes only slight increases for NIH, FDA and NSF in FY15, and significant cuts for CDC and AHRQ. As I said in The Huffington Post and in other media, President Obama’€™s budget does not reflect the potential the U.S. has to advance scientific...
The president’€™s budget does not reflect the potential the U.S. has to advance scientific discovery. While welcome, the minor increases for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Food and Drug Administration diminish our ability to accelerate the pace of medical innovation, which saves countless lives, helps our nation meet its solemn commitment to wounded warriors, and is a major driver of new businesses and jobs. We’€™re also disappointed with reduced funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AHRQ and CDC cannot be neglected in the name of deficit reduction, and it is truly...
Leading Experts Focus on the Challenges and Opportunities Affecting the Fight Against Cancer ALEXANDRIA, Va. ’€“ February 27, 2014 ’€“ A panel of leading health, economics and policy experts today discussed the prospects for a future where cancers are rendered manageable or even eradicated and the variables affecting progress toward that goal so that cancer patients are able to lead normal, productive lives ’€“ and thus be ’€œfree from’€ their cancers. The forum was hosted by Research!America and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The event, titled, ’€œA World Free from Cancers: Probable, Possible, or Preposterous?’€ was held at the New York Academy of Sciences. Medical innovation has...
Dear Research Advocate: People everywhere are captivated by the world-class athletes competing at the Winter Olympics. The personal commitment, dedication and motivation on display is certainly an essential ingredient for medalling, but it is not sufficient: Each nation fielding a team must commit to supporting sustained excellence. And both the public and private sectors play a role. There are some interesting parallels to science and innovation ’€” we don’€™t see it in the public eye every day but when it comes to the fore, it’€™s the kind of success that affirms the human spirit in a compelling way. When lives are saved with a new therapy or new vaccine, we all take heart and we...
Dear Research Advocate, Ironically, the government is closed down today. But that’€™s due to a major snowstorm, not because of failure to agree on increasing the debt limit! Agreeing to increase the debt limit is an encouraging sign that this Congress, weighed down as it is by ideological and political differences, and with record- low approval rankings from the public, can get its job done! Our job is to be sure research is a top priority in this election year ’€” spoken of with conviction by all candidates and by the media and others who influence them. Standing tall among Members of Congress who champion science are the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations’€™ Commerce,...
Dear Research Advocate: Since President Obama declared 2014 as a ’€œyear of action’€ in his State of the Union address, several people have asked my view on how the president might advance science by executive order. Some options that come to mind: the president can (1) pump up the budget for NIH and other science agencies in his FY15 budget blueprint, scheduled for release in early March; (2) require an assessment of the impact on innovation, access and economic growth before making any administration-initiated cuts to drug, biologic or device reimbursement; and (3) designate a task force to formulate a national science strategy. As several Members of Congress noted after the president’€™...
Dear Research Advocate: During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged the important role federally funded research plays in maintaining our global competitive edge and referenced the harm done to basic science by sequestration. Using the example of vaccines, he highlighted the importance of applied research, not only for our health but for the strength of our economy. See my statement about the address here . For the president to succeed in achieving a ’€œbreakthrough year for America’€ ’€” a theme in his address that he is repeating in appearances across the nation ’€” we urge him to put science and innovation at the forefront. I emphasized this in a letter...
Dear Research Advocate: Anticipating the 2014 State of the Union address next Tuesday evening, I have been searching for the right descriptor ’€” the union is ’€œin a state of resignation’€? ’€œThe state of the union is not as bad as it could be’€? ’€œThe union is in a state that falls short of its potential’€? ’€œThe Americans forming this union are in a state of disappointment regarding their elected leaders’€? A headline from The Washington Post last week addresses the latter point: ’€œCongratulations on your budget, Congress. America still hates you,’€ i.e. no uptick for those low ratings for congresspersons of either party! The president’€™s rating with the public is a bit better...
Dear Research Advocate: The omnibus appropriations bill about to become law demonstrates that bipartisanship and pseudo -regular order is achievable. We won’€™t know for sure if we have true ’€œregular order’€ until Congress proceeds through the FY15 appropriations process in a timely manner ’€” something that hasn’€™t happened for many years. The importance of regular order is that the public’€™s interests are heard from in hearings, and every Member of Congress participates in priority-setting instead of only having the opportunity to cast a single up-or-down vote. Regular order is worth working toward, since at least one priority we all care about did not fare well in the omnibus. The...

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln