Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: What’s the “right” amount of taxpayer funding for medical and health research? What are the ‘right’ policies for science? We are asked these question regularly. The announcement yesterday by Harold Varmus that he will leave the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the end of this month reminded me that in Science in 1993, Dr. Varmus and fellow Nobel Laureate Michael Bishop, along with their then-colleague at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Mark Kirchner, set forth an 11-point prescription for science policy. It is worth re-reading their approach to a set of problems that bear a striking similarity to those we face today, e.g: “The last decade has...
Dear Research Advocate: Appropriately, it was Jack Valenti, prominent former president of the Motion Pictures Association of America, who recommended to politicians that every speech should include the six words: “let me tell you a story.” Stories have impact in ways reports do not. Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist diagnosed with a form of the motor-neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in The Theory of Everything , and Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland, a fictional linguistics professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, in Still Alice , were Academy Award winners last Sunday evening. These films grappled with devastating diagnoses for the...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America yesterday released our recommendations for the top five science priorities the new Congress should address in its first 100 days: end sequestration, increase funding for our nation’€™s research agencies, advance the 21st Century Cures Initiative legislation, repeal the medical device tax, and enact a permanent and enhanced R&D tax credit. See the full press release here . Among these priorities, ending sequestration is the steepest uphill climb – but what a difference it would make for the future of health and the nation’s economy! That’€™s the focus of this editable message to members of Congress. Please weigh in! Securing meaningful increases...
Dear Research Advocate: As America rings in the New Year, many of us will be reflecting on the past and making resolutions for the future. To get a feel for the numerous ways in which NIH, CDC, AHRQ, NSF and FDA contributed to the well-being of Americans and others throughout the world in 2014, click here . I hope lawmakers are taking time now to establish New Year’€™s resolutions and set priorities for the new Congress, which convenes one week from today. My biggest wish for the new Congress? Pragmatism over politics. If pragmatism rules, the next Congress will shake off the stultifying complacency that is weighing our nation down and act to reignite U.S. innovation. More here . One reason...
Dear Research Advocate: I don’€™t always dwell so much on Congress-related actions (or the lack thereof), but this time it’€™s essential given all the year-end/Congress-end action. So bear with me; it’€™s important to the future of health and our nation’€™s prosperity. The ’€œCromnibus’€ narrowly passed Congress and has now been signed into law. As I emphasized in last week’€™s letter, this bill is too little, too late in a multitude of ways, but it’€™s better than a shutdown, or a year-long continuing resolution. More to the point is that Congress didn’€™t do better. Members of Congress can allocate more funding to medical research and science and technology broadly. Congress can alter...
Dear Research Advocate: So much is troubling our nation – evidenced in protests of recent grand jury decisions and the controversy over release of the Senate’s report on the CIA – that most people probably haven’t noticed or cared that the Congress is delaying and may even abort action on the long overdue funding of the federal fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. People have grown tired of Congress missing self-imposed deadlines, only to say they can only act in the face of those deadlines, and now they are talking of doing it again. And thus we are lulled into thinking it doesn’t matter what the Congress does. But that would be wrong: priority-setting by the Congress plays a major role in...
Dear Research Advocate: Congress is working to reach agreement to fund the government for FY15. Recall that the federal fiscal year 2015 began on Oct. 1, but that deadline was not met. Instead, a continuing resolution (CR) was enacted to keep the government from shutting down. Missed deadlines and CRs have now been the pattern of many years’€™ standing, despite rhetoric about the importance of a “return to regular order.” Instead of regular order we have “kick the can down the road,” again and again. It seems increasingly likely that Congress’€™ current appropriations negotiations will produce a hybrid omnibus and CR (a ’€œCRomnibus’€ for fans of linguistic portmanteau!) which includes all...
Dear Research Advocate: Mark your calendar for two important days next week: First, next Monday, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day. Check out our updated fact sheet , which provides a snapshot of HIV/AIDS and the transformative impact of HIV/AIDS research. I especially hope that you will take the time to read the profile of Maria Davis, an individual living with HIV who works to help others with, or at risk of contracting, the disease. When I think of what I’€™m thankful for, people like Maria are high on my list. Which leads me to another reason to express gratitude, this time to the many organizations and individuals who participated in Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD) on Nov. 24. Research!...
Public Health Thank You Day, November 24, 2014 ALEXANDRIA, Va.-November 20, 2014 -As Thanksgiving approaches, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations urge Americans to salute public health professionals who go above and beyond to protect the health of our nation. Public Health Thank You Day honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and investigate infections, and protect us against threats such as influenza, the Ebola and Enterovirus D68 outbreaks and natural disasters. “Every day, public health professionals here and around the world work in challenging and sometimes dangerous situations to protect our...
November 18, 2014 We extend warmest congratulations to Congressman Rush D. Holt, Ph.D., on the announcement of his new position as chief executive officer of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of Science family of journals. As a trained physicist, Representative Holt leveraged his scientific understanding to propel and enact policies that have contributed significantly to improving our nation’s health and economic security. During his distinguished tenure in Congress, he worked tirelessly to lift the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and helped enact the America COMPETES Act to strengthen investments in research and...

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Sidebar Quote

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana