Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: Despite their fierce partisan standoff regarding confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee, members of the Senate acted in a strongly bi partisan manner yesterday to confirm Robert M. Califf, M.D., as the new FDA Commissioner. Dr. Califf brings an accomplished career of expertise and insight to the position. The goals he has set include increasing patient involvement in the FDA regulatory process, streamlining clinical trials, and attracting and retaining the best scientists, according to STAT News . For more on Dr. Califf’s confirmation, please see my statement . Commissioner Califf will be joining us as a keynote speaker at Research!America’s Annual Meeting at noon...
Dear Research Advocate, The President released his FY17 budget on Tuesday, launching this year’s appropriations process. Unfortunately, his proposed budget falls short of expectations and far short of putting adequate resources to work to find solutions for what ails us. Cuts to the baseline budgets of NIH and CDC , and flat funding for FDA 's drug ($492 million) and biologics ($215 million) programs are proposed. While temporary, mandatory funding is provided for several important initiatives -- $755 million for the cancer moonshot initiative, $107 million for precision medicine, and $1.8 billion to address the Zika virus, this nation cannot sustain a robust research infrastructure with...
AMGDB Annual Meeting in Costa Rica: Jan 13-17th, 2016 We were delighted to have the honor of hosting Mary Woolley, president & CEO of Research!America, at the annual meeting of Biochemistry Department Chairs from North America. In attendance were chairs from 47 different departments of biochemistry from across the U.S., as well as three from Canada and one from Puerto Rico. A major theme of this year’s meeting was to identify potential strategies in response to the reduction in funding for biomedical research in the United States in recent years. Last year we had reports presented by the presidents of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and Federation of American...
Dear Research Advocate, If flight cancellations triggered by winter storm Jonas did not dampen plans to travel south for some much needed warmth, the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel warnings about the Zika virus might. The President was briefed early this week by CDC Director Tom Frieden, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in the ‘situation room.’ According to Dr. Fauci, "an extensive research and development effort" to address this emerging concern has already begun. The Zika virus, which may be linked to the development of severe birth defects, is also gaining the attention of major industry members like GSK and Sanofi, who are...
Dear Research Advocate, In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke about his vision for the future, “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. Medical research is critical .” The President has placed Vice President Biden at ‘mission control’ for this ‘moonshot’ to cure cancer, and the Vice President is poised to lead. (See my SOTU statement. ) Historically, presidential articulation has driven the national commitment to science in ways that leapfrog incremental progress by pulling out all the stops. That’s the kind of moment we’re seeing right now, and it is has captured...
Dear Research Advocate, As the year draws to a close it is important to reflect on accomplishments made on behalf of patients and their families. We do have a lot to celebrate. Advocates for research for health accomplished not one, but FOUR, major goals: A meaningful increase in federal funding for medical research. The NIH has received an additional $2 billion for FY16, the FDA and CDC saw a 5% increase in funding over FY15 levels, and NSF received an additional $118 million and the freedom to continue their work in the social and behavioral science fields unhindered. If we keep at it, we will look back on these increases as the beginning of a heightened national commitment to science...
Dear Research Advocate, This holiday season, Congress has delivered a most welcome package with plenty of trimmings for patients and all of us who care about the future of health. The bipartisan deal-making is complete. A final short-term spending measure, expiring Tuesday, December 22, allows the House and Senate time to review and pass a spending bill and tax package before adjourning for the year. These two major pieces of legislation represent a real win for research; the jumpstart we need to restore the NIH budget to robust annual growth and fuel a new era of medical innovation and global leadership in both public and private sectors. As federal policymakers consider how to vote on...
Dear Research Advocate, With Congress back from Thanksgiving break, there is new energy to carry the FY16 budget across the finish line. One of the ways we registered our position against riders on the budget bill was to participate earlier this afternoon in a “Twitter Town Hall” organized by the Clean Budget Coalition. Individuals from a wide array of organizations joined this worthwhile effort. When it comes to delays in passing new spending for research and other urgent national priorities, time actually is money-- money that could be put to use immediately to find the solutions to what ails us! We are continuing to highlight the importance of repealing, or more realistically, suspending...
Dear Research Advocate, The shocking attacks in Beirut and Paris serve as reminders of the global interconnectedness of our society. In so many ways, the tragedies others face are also ours and their challenges are our challenges, health challenges very much included. Last evening I interviewed Dr. Tamar Kokashvili, a grantee of CRDF Global, at their 20th anniversary dinner. Dr. Kokashvili, who hails from the nation of Georgia, collaborates with University of Maryland scientists to characterize genetic diversity of cholera bacteria (over 200 strains, complicating both diagnosis and treatment). Just in the last few weeks we have learned of cholera outbreaks in Syrian refugee camps, and...
Dear Research Advocate: Now that the President has signed off on the budget agreement, Appropriations Committee leadership is negotiating to establish the dollar level for each appropriations subcommittee to work with. Given the December 11 deadline for action, the committees are already working to set allocations for each federal agency and program. Here is a list of the Twitter handles for each House and Senate appropriator, along with suggested tweets. Please take a minute to tweet these leaders on why it is so important to increase funding for NIH, CDC, FDA, AHRQ and NSF; federal agencies that help keep the wheels of science and medical progress turning! It’s a mistake to just assume...

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