weekly letter

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, It was down to the wire, but Congress passed and the President signed a continuing resolution (CR) yesterday evening to keep the government operating, at least through December 11, 2015. Speaker Boehner’s sudden resignation last Friday came as a shock. But since he has made it clear there is still a lot he’d like to accomplish before he leaves Congress on October 30, hopes have soared in many quarters! He is reportedly working with Leader Pelosi (D-CA-12), Senate leadership and the White House on a longer term budget deal, one that we hope will jettison sequestration. Now is a good time to thank members of Congress for taking action to prevent a shutdown, and urge...
Dear Research Advocate, There is still time to join us -- virtually -- at today’s sold-out Health Research Forum. WebMD is livestreaming the event, which will begin a little before noon EST at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Find details on the event HERE , and livestreaming info HERE . Follow and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #RAForum15. Also today, on the advocacy front, NDD United is sending a letter with 2,500+ signatories, Research!America among them, to members of Congress. The letter calls for an approach to sequestration relief that includes both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. NDD advocates will be on the Hill today handing out baseball...
Dear Research Advocate, A refreshing number of members of Congress have allocated time during this recess to champion medical research, among them Senators Capito (R-WV), Franken (D-MN), and Kirk (R-IL), and Representatives Burgess (R-TX-26), Dold (R-IL-10), Israel (D-NY-03), Lance (R-NJ-07) and Walden (R-OR-02). Rep. Dold, for example, visited Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as well as private industries in his district, like Marathon, to discuss ways to speed up medical innovation. Visiting the genetics lab at Northwestern, Rep. Dold commented: “We spent a little over 330 billion dollars this year in treating diabetes alone. Can we get some [additional] research...
Dear Research Advocate, Although we are 452 days away from Election Day 2016, with all the media attention right now one would be forgiven for thinking it is coming up next month! The overwhelming majority of scientists surveyed by the Science Advisory Board in advance of last Thursday’s debate said that science and research should be a topic of discussion. But as predicted by the same 90+ percent majority, science wasn’t even mentioned, underscoring the importance for scientists, patients, and all who care about research to engage candidates before the next debate. If you -- a potential voter -- don’t let candidates know you care about medical progress and science writ large, they will...
Dear Research Advocate, Research!America is on the Hill and in the media continuing to make the case for timely action in Congress to boost medical progress. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the 21st Century Cures Act and the Senate’s Innovation initiative in a recent issue of Roll Call . The bottom line is this: we need to keep this ball rolling. Congress has a notoriously short attention span - too many issues, not enough time - so advocates should not only be pushing for what they want to see in the Senate bill, they should be pushing to see a Senate bill ASAP. Unless you’ve managed to steer clear of all forms of media in recent days, you probably know that the first official...
I am sending my letter early this Thursday to give readers who support the NIH and FDA funding in the 21st Century Cures Act -- most of you, based on the emails and calls I’ve been receiving -- a little more time to take action. The House is slated to vote on the 21st Century Cures Act (HR 6) tomorrow. As part of the process they will first vote on amendments, including one offered by Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA-07) to eliminate the $8.75 billion in mandatory funding for NIH and $550 million for FDA. I can’t stress the importance of stopping this amendment strongly enough: opportunities like this to fund significantly more research do not present themselves often.This is $8.75 billion for...

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Sidebar Quote

You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter