medical research

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...
In honor of #GivingTuesday , Jayme and Julie talk about their experience working at Research!America to help boost federal support for medical research and innovation. Jayme Hennenfent , D.V.M., M.S. I was honored to embark on a science policy fellowship at Research!America because I know firsthand how crucial funding is to the discovery process. My alma mater, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a preeminent research institution, spending over a half a billion dollars on science and technology research annually. However, even powerhouses like this are not immune to the current struggle for project funding support, which I personally observed when I saw world-class...
Dear Research Advocate: If you haven’€™t already heard, ’€œThrowback Thursday’€ is a weekly social media activity that celebrates unforgettable moments in our lives. Users of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram draw inspiration from old photos of family and friends or landmark events, and talk about them, accompanied by the hashtag #TBT. Wouldn’€™t it be great if today’€™s #TBT includes reflections on the impact of medical and health research on our lives and those of our loved ones — especially today, with the mid-term elections coming right up, with so much at stake for future generations? Consider how far we’€™ve come in medicine. This week marks the 100th birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who...
The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $100 million for ALS research, but turning money and enthusiasm into therapies and cures for the deadly disease is an entirely different type of challenge. Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley was among the guests on BioCenturyTV This Week on October 19 to discuss the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, our national voter education initiative Ask Your Candidates! and the need for stronger support for medical research. “ We need to make sure to tell the people we’re hiring to serve in Congress that it’s really important to fund research for health, and right now is a good time to be doing that, ” said Mary Woolley. Other guests included: Dr. Brett...
Dear Research Advocate: We thought we learned our lesson after 9/11 and anthrax attacks. After the trauma and after fear swept the nation, we invested substantially in ’€œpreparedness.’€ But then we drifted into complacency, and began cutting deeply into the kind of preparedness that is less visible than TSA and drone strikes, but, as Ebola is teaching us now, no less valuable. As mentioned in today’€™s congressional hearing on the subject, the decade-long pattern of cuts to federal health agencies, as well as to funding for hospital and public health preparedness, has now been revealed to have been short-sighted. (Much of the cutting was carried out over the years as a way to ’€œ...
Letter to the editor by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley published in the Omaha World Herald . This is in response to a Midlands Voices essay ( Finish the job, fund medical research , Sept. 25). The authors’€™ articulate case for robust and sustained investments in lifesaving research represents the interests of all Americans who await cures, as well as better treatments and prevention of Alzheimer’€™s, autism, cancer and diabetes and more. Many Americans believe that elected officials are not doing enough to combat deadly diseases, as they repeatedly cut funding and fail to enact policies that stimulate rather than stifle research. Two-thirds of our fellow citizens say it’€™...
Dear Research Advocate: The accomplishments of the recently announced 2014 Nobel laureates in the fields of physiology or medicine, and chemistry are breath-taking. Whether identifying the mechanisms by which the mind comprehends space and place, or enhancing ability to observe how diseases develop, these scientists have, over time, enabled progress that couldn’t have been determined by fiat. Science serves us all via an iterative discovery process, which is why policymakers are skating on thin ice when they censor research that doesn’€™t promise results that serve a date or purpose certain. Centuries ago, European rulers launched many ventures before eventually discovering the New World —...
Excerpt of an op-ed by Susan G. Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno published in The Huffington Post . As I conducted numerous media interviews about the continued need for research, education, treatment support, and advocacy, it occurred to me that it would be great if we were talking about breast cancer like this every day of the year. It’s really quite simple. Breast cancer doesn’t know (and doesn’t care) that it’s October, because breast cancer is diagnosed and kills women and men every day of every month of every year. Every 19 seconds, somewhere in the world, a person has a new diagnosis of breast cancer. In the U.S., a woman is diagnosed every two minutes, and one dies every 13...
Dear Research Advocate: The 2014 Nobel Laureates will be announced next week. I hope you will consider amplifying the news via social media, op-eds and letters to the editor. The Nobel prize is so iconic that it provides an entrée to the broader public, one that can be used to connect the dots between the process of scientific discovery, the power of ingenuity, and the role of science in human progress. And if a winner has been funded by a U.S. science agency or company, all the better from an advocacy perspective! In the years ahead, will the United States be home to more Nobel Laureates in the sciences, or will those honors go to scientists in countries that place a greater emphasis on...

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