weekly message

Dear Research Advocate, Happy New Year! As I contemplate my list of New Year’s resolutions, I know there will be additions even after January 1st. I look forward to the wealth of opportunity for positive change in 2017. My first resolution is to engage -- and encourage and assist other stakeholders to engage -- with our elected representatives in 2017. The new year and the new President and Congress will bring changes we can count on, but outcomes that are unclear. For instance, the President-elect has placed significant emphasis on strengthening our nation’s infrastructure. One clear weakness in that infrastructure shows itself when infectious disease outbreaks threaten the public health...
Dear Research Advocate, Thanks for your indulgence; I’m afraid we’ve been flooding your inbox over the past few days. Most recently, we sent an email moving up the deadline for signing on to a letter to congressional leaders urging them to refrain from passing another Continuing Resolution (CR), and to instead complete their work on FY17 appropriations. We sent that letter out tonight, proximal to today’s announcement by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) that he will in fact pursue a CR that would flat-fund government until March of next year (further delaying, and potentially squandering, any increase in funding for NIH and other health agencies in FY17). While his...
Dear Research Advocate: I begin with a moment of personal privilege-- congratulations to my hometown team, the Chicago Cubs on their stunning World Series victory! In 1908, when they last accomplished this feat, airplanes were virtually unknown, there was of course no internet, and women couldn’t vote in this country. Speaking of which...this election is now in the bottom of the ninth. I believe it is in the nation’s best interests to elect candidates who appreciate the significance of scientific discovery as well as the value of innovation to achieving faster medical progress. Because the more you know, the better you are able to choose your candidates. Consult our interactive map to see...
Dear Research Advocate: The number of Zika cases continues to rise and mosquito season won’t be over anytime soon. Yet Congress hasn’t acted -- a good reason to maintain a permanent public health emergency fund. We have such funds for weather-related emergencies like hurricanes and floods, enabling immediate action whether or not Congress is in session, and we have a similar funding mechanism for public health emergencies...the problem is, there are no dollars in it. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) introduced legislation earlier this year, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Act (H.R. 4525), to provide $5 billion for such a fund. “Labor-H” Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) has also...
Dear Research Advocate: With congressional primaries back in full swing -- four states held primaries this week alone, with five more to come this month -- we have fresh opportunities to ask candidates for national office what they would do, if elected, to speed medical progress and incentivize innovation. Check out our interactive map to see what your candidates have to say -- we have been adding quotes daily. This is important: if you don’t see your candidates on the record, please send them a message urging them to register their thoughts. Research!America has joined ScienceDebate.org and other organizations to call on presidential candidates to respond to a questionnaire about...
Dear Research Advocate: The Cancer Moonshot took some exciting steps forward during a day of action that engaged more than 6,000 individuals across the nation. As Greg Simon, the executive director of the Moonshot taskforce, framed it, the moonshot is designed to “invoke systems change in the way we approach cancer.” Pursuing the goal of faster progress from a systems perspective is important, not only because it has led to promising new cross-sector, cross-functional collaborations (e.g. an Oncology Center of Excellence at FDA, new public-private partnerships), but because it may help seed a much needed change in mindset among policymakers committed to faster medical progress. There is a...
Dear Research Advocate: This has been an important week for research, innovation and the power of advocacy. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-H bill, which funds NIH, CDC and AHRQ, among other programs. The bill includes a well-justified, but nonetheless remarkable, $2 billion increase for NIH in FY17. However, CDC and AHRQ both receive cuts in the bill ($118 million and $10 million, respectively). While we applaud Chairman Blunt (R-MO), Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) and the Committee as a whole for their extraordinary determination to regrow the NIH budget, underinvesting in CDC and AHRQ is a costly mistake. Read our statement on the bill. It is important to note that...
Dear Research Advocate: It's graduation season and a time to consider the opportunities - and challenges - facing young people, our workforce, our economy and our nation. The director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. France A. Cordova challenged graduates at Rochester Institute of Technology ( video here ) to find the value in all experiences in life - even when the benefit might not be immediate - and to work with individuals from a wide variety of fields to address the grand challenges of our time. Her messages resonate as lessons learned from basic research, a venture rich in challenge, with gains not always clear at the outset, enhanced by collaborations across disciplines...
Dear Research Advocate: Every seat was taken in the main Carnegie Institution auditorium, and in a large overflow room as well, for a presentation on CRISPR genome editing delivered by Dr. Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley. The Monday evening program, which has open to the public, was co-sponsored by the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Council of Scientific Society Presidents and the Kavli Foundation. In addition to explaining how CRISPR-Cas9 is revolutionizing the ‘software’ of biology, Doudna reflected on ethical issues including the conduct of human germline research. In doing so she echoed one of the obstacles to advancing science listed in a slide deck presented by White House...
Dear Research Advocate: Last Sunday, the National Academy of Sciences presented its prestigious Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda, actor and science communicator, who joins an esteemed group of Medal awardees, including Bill and Melinda Gates and Research!America’s Chair, former Congressman John Porter. In Alda’s acceptance remarks he described a scenario in which members of Congress passed notes to each other during testimony by scientists: “Do you get this? What are they talking about?” In short, a failure of what he called ‘relatability.’ He went on to say that scientists are, all too often, not just failing to communicate with non-scientists, but ‘ex-communicating’ them from science...

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Sidebar Quote

We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America