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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, 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: 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...
Dear Research Advocate, Former VP candidate and Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-01) appears poised to become the next Speaker of the House. This turn of events improves the outlook for a budget deal, potentially including FY16 funding, sequestration relief for one or two years, and a new debt limit. See our letter with United for Medical Research and two major defense industry associations on the negative consequences of sequestration. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) made news this week reaffirming his willingness to consider mandatory spending for NIH in his Innovation Initiative. To turn “maybe” into “yes,” advocates must be heard. Earlier this week, a...
Dear Research Advocate, It was a privilege to address the terrific crowd at last night’s kick off reception for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Rally for Medical Research. Forceful champions including Senators Durbin (D-IL), Moran (R-KS), Murray (D-WA) and Klobuchar (D-MN) joined NIH Director Francis Collins to thank and encourage the more than 300 advocates who are blanketing both Houses of Congress today. Adding in social media attention, the Rally is likely to reach every member of Congress. During remarks at a Rally breakfast this morning, House “Labor-H” Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) revved up the crowd when he said that “the stars are...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America is proud to serve as a lead sponsor of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Rally for Medical Research, a two-day event in Washington, DC next month. The Rally will unite individuals from across the medical research advocacy community to push for making National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding a higher national priority. Events begin on Wednesday, September 16 with an afternoon advocacy training and an evening congressional reception. On Thursday, after a breakfast featuring remarks by House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04), nearly 200 advocates will participate in Hill meetings. Add your...
Dear Research Advocate, The “moment” for research that we’ve been experiencing on Capitol Hill is being echoed by Presidential candidates; is this perhaps the start of a wave of conversation on the campaign trail? On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee, which is not the committee of jurisdiction for NIH or FDA, or intellectual property, held a hearing on these very topics. Committee Chairman and Presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) framed the hearing as an opportunity to explore strategies for speeding cures to patients. The hearing might have devolved into an “FDA regulation is bad” fest, and to be honest there was some of that, but the Senators present, along with the witnesses,...
Dear Research Advocate: Several patient groups, including Autism Speaks and the Lupus Foundation of America, were here in force this week, bringing hundreds of patients from around the nation to Capitol Hill to make their very personal, and powerful, cases for research. Their timing was perfect, as it coincided with the push for 21st Century Cures cosponsors, and subcommittee passage of the House “Labor-H” appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2016, which covers funding for NIH, CDC, and AHRQ. This funding bill is definitely a mixed bag. NIH would receive a $1.1 billion increase; $100 million above the President’s budget. CDC would also receive an increase of $140 million, equal to the...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor