Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: Setting our nation’€™s sights high, rather than watching Rome burn; that’€™s the advice embedded in a recent op-ed authored by John R. Seffrin, PhD (CEO of the American Cancer Society and Research!America Board Member) and Michael Caligiuri, MD (CEO of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Center Hospital and Solove Research Institute). The authors advocate establishing a national plan, one that puts political differences aside and focuses on combating deadly and tremendously costly disease. There is a compelling argument to be made that if our nation wants to sustain a balanced budget, it must deploy a disease moonshot. If our nation...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, I joined Diane Rehm and other guests on her nationally syndicated radio program to discuss how sequestration impacts “ordinary Americans.” I was struck by how deep and distressing the damage is, in so many sectors, including but not limited to our own. Yet somehow the pain is not acute enough to force action. What strikes me is how low our collective expectations have sunk when it comes to reinvigorating U.S. economic growth and prosperity. Our nation can do better; why don’€™t we maintain high expectations and hold our elected officials accountable for setting the policy stage to accomplish them? Policy makers should protect discretionary spending, make...
Dear Research Advocate: According to our new national public opinion poll on clinical trials and related topics, most Americans are willing to share their personal health data to advance research, and 72% would be willing to participate in a clinical trial if recommended by their doctor. This complements what we know from other polling, i.e. that Americans want research to proceed at a pace of scientific opportunity. Yet we continue to lose ground in the gridlocked political environment, which, by its inaction, is dashing the hopes of patients and families anxious for new therapies and cures. What’€™s wrong with this picture? It isn’€™t as though research hasn’€™t yielded both societal and...
Only Small Percentage say Health Care Professionals Have Ever Talked to Them about Medical Research ALEXANDRIA, Va. – June 12, 2013 – More than two-thirds (72%) of Americans say it’s likely they would participate in a clinical trial if recommended by their doctor, but only 22% say a doctor or other health care professional has ever talked to them about medical research, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. A wide majority (80%) say they have heard of a clinical trial – more than half (53%) through the Internet and only 24% from a doctor or other health care provider. Only 16% of those polled say they or someone in their family have ever...
Dear Research Advocate: On Wednesday, the House Appropriations agriculture subcommittee approved the funding bill that includes the Food and Drug Administration. The bill allocates nearly $100 million above the post-sequester levels. Unfortunately, the baseline budgets in the House are so low that this increase is still lower than FY12 FDA funding. We must not fall into the trap of lowering our expectations and applauding an artificial victory. The true mark of success is funding that keeps up with need. We must keep working. As demonstrated particularly by the 18.6% cut targeted for the House LHHS appropriations FY14 budget, the pressure to shrink government by slashing discretionary...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, President Obama tweeted about the effects of sequestration on medical research. From @barackobama, “The #sequester is slowing the pace of medical research, delaying the discovery of cures and treatments. Read more .” It is terrific that the president is helping drive increased attention to medical research. Our thanks to him and also to all who have joined our Memorial Day recess week of social media advocacy . The American Heart Association posted this great image to its Facebook page; we also thank Society for Neuroscience , BIO , The Endocrine Society , Melanoma Research Alliance , University of Maryland School of Medicine , CURE Epilepsy and UPenn...
Dear Research Advocate: I invite you to join me in speaking out during the Memorial Day congressional recess (May 27-31) as part of a social media campaign using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Our goal is to continue to position research and innovation to improve health where it belongs: as a fundamental national priority that Americans can count on because their elected representatives rank it so highly. In our social media campaign, each day of the recess has a specific theme that can be customized with your information and patient/researcher stories. We have made it easy to get involved: click here to see sample social media messages, a list of selected congressional offices and their...
Dear Research Advocate, House of Representatives Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith’€™s (R-TX) proposed legislation, the “ High Quality Research Act ,” would undermine, rather than achieve, “high quality” in research, since it would create several new hoops for approval of NSF-funded grants. These appear to be based on the mistaken idea that science follows a linear path to a single metric for success or failure. And the bill requires the NSF director to attest in advance to the success of each funded proposal! Letters penned by former NSF directors and National Science Board chairs and former NSF assistant directors warn of the “chilling and detrimental impact” this legislation could have...
Dear Research Advocate, President Obama spoke to the National Academies of Science on Monday. I commend his remarks to you. He charged the members of the Academy, and by extension the science community writ large, to engage at ’€œthe center and the heart of our public debate.’€ He said that IF scientists do so, the nation will be assured of continued prominence. IF is a tall order — it makes most scientists very uncomfortable, but it is essential that we get out of our comfort zone right now. The president didn’€™t pound his fist on the podium in stressing this, so I will. The science community simply cannot step away from the public and political fray right now; not if we want to see the...
Dear Research Advocate, Media attention to the impact of sequestration-forced furloughs at the FAA, causing airport delays, has put both Congress and the administration on the defensive. Senate Majority Leader Reid has introduced legislation to delay sequestration until a broader deficit reduction solution can be negotiated, and there is a Republican-led effort to prevent the closure of towers and stop the furloughs. It is unclear where these efforts will lead, but there clearly is power in showcasing concrete damage to our citizenry and our economy as a way to illustrate the larger problem: Sequestration isn’€™t just a delayed flight issue, it is huge, strategic mistake for our nation...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor