Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate, The first presidential debate will be held Wednesday, October 3 at the University of Denver. This debate will likely be the only one in which health issues are discussed: Will the candidates talk about research and innovation in that context? This is our chance to speak up, whether they do (bravo!) or don’€™t (why not??). While watching, include the Twitter handle for the debates (@NewsHour) in your tweets, and afterwards, send a letter to the editor of your local paper. This is the final phase of our Your Candidates - Your Health voter education initiative. We know from experience over the years that all of us ’€“ stakeholders and advocates for research ’€“ become...
Dear Research Advocate, In last week’€™s letter, I highlighted research-related themes in the Republican National Platform. The good news included explicit support for basic and applied research and a pledge to make the R&D tax credit permanent. The bad news included strident criticism of FDA ’€” such that support for adequate funding was unclear ’€” and opposition to embryonic stem cell research. The Democratic platform asserts that Democrats will ’€œdouble funding for key basic research agencies.’€ It also goes further than the Republican platform in improving the research and development tax credit and places a very strong emphasis on science education as critical to our innovation...
Dear Research Advocate, As you know, the Republican Party Platform was unveiled Tuesday during the convention in Tampa. There are direct references to medical and health research and other statements that ’€” if not explicit ’€” definitely imply the need for such research. We can draw from both to enhance our advocacy efforts. The following exemplifies the direct and indirect nature of the platform’€™s embrace of medical and health research: ’€œWe support federal investment in health care delivery systems and solutions creating innovative means to provide greater, more cost-effective access to high quality health care. We also support federal investment in basic and applied biomedical...
As Political Conventions Begin, Voters say it's Important for Candidates to Address Medical Research On the eve of the political conventions, nearly two-thirds of likely voters say the next president should announce initiatives promoting medical progress during his €œfirst 100 days in office,€ according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. And nearly three-quarters of those polled say it’€™s important for candidates for the presidency and Congress to have a science advisor. The findings reveal deep concerns among voters about the lack of attention candidates and elected officials have assigned to research. €œResearch and innovation, despite its...
Dear Research Advocate, With Rep. Paul Ryan joining the Romney ticket, health is back on the national agenda. Partisan politics aside, this conversation is overdue, since health is indeed an issue that will make or bankrupt us. Research has always figured prominently in the wellbeing of Americans and America ’€“ research brought an end to the polio epidemic, which could have bankrupted the nation in the 1950s, and research is the only answer to the scourge of Alzheimer’€™s that threatens health, quality of life and our national checkbook today. And that is just a starting point for the conversation I hope you are having with everyone who wants to talk about the election. Take the...
Dear Research Advocate, American achievement continues to astound. This week we watched NASA’€™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory send one of the most advanced space exploration vehicles ever constructed to a planet hundreds of millions of miles away from Earth and elegantly deliver it to the planet’€™s surface. Mars today, why not a cure for our nation’€™s deadliest diseases tomorrow? As advocates, we cannot take no for answer when it comes to assuring we have the resources, policies and determination we need to defeat disease and disability. Why should we be reluctant to demand that this be a national priority? As Margaret Mead once said, ’€œNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful,...
WASHINGTON’€”August 7, 2012 ’€” Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy alliance, says too many congressional candidates are minimizing the importance of our nation’€™s faltering role in fighting deadly and disabling diseases as a campaign issue. Polling indicates that Americans rank medical research a high priority but also shows a majority of likely voters are not aware of their representatives’€™ views on research. Some candidates have indicated that they ’€œdon’€™t have time’€ to fill out a short questionnaire gauging their views on the importance of continued medical progress. Research!America and its partner organizations are calling on candidates to elevate the fight to save lives in...
Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley released a statement, saying that a House appropriations subcommittee bill places the health and well-being of Americans in jeopardy: “How can Congress justify the elimination of a critical health agency and severe cuts to other programs under the House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee bill? We cannot afford to zero out funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at a time when it is addressing medical errors that kill more than 100,000 people a year and accelerating patient access to the best medical practices. We cannot afford to slash the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) budget when it...
Dear Research Advocate, What do sequencing and sequestration have in common, besides being mysterious words to most people? It’€™s pretty simple: We won’€™t have more of the former if the latter takes place. Why isn’€™t it a Sputnik moment to learn that there is more sequencing capacity at Beijing Genome Institute than we have total capacity in our country? And, to learn that the Chinese government is subsidizing the cost of sequencing so that it is fast becoming the go-to place for industry and academia worldwide? It’€™s time for advocates to talk this up so that policy makers will once again plus-up research as a U.S. priority. Jeffrey Zients, the Acting Director of the White House Office...
Dear Research Advocate, As we celebrate our nation’€™s birthday week, it’€™s worth taking a moment to reflect on the role of American research and innovation in driving American prosperity and making tremendous health advances possible. For policy makers and the public alike, it is simply too easy to become complacent and lose sight of the role research has played in powering new industries, lengthening our lives and reducing disability. Indeed, many people have become complacent about progress, so that we no longer hear about the urgency of HIV/AIDS research, for example; yet we can’€™t shy away now from the work that is left to do. That’€™s one of the take-home messages from viewing...

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Sidebar Quote

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco