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...
As 2015 comes to an end, let’s revisit the top ten most popular Research!America blog posts of the year (based on page views) that emphasized the importance of communicating the value of research and making research and innovation a higher national priority. We would like to thank our outstanding guest bloggers, including early career scientists, and leaders representing academia, industry, patient groups and scientific societies, who believe in the endless possibilities of scientific discovery, development and delivery to improve our nation’s health. 1) Lessons learned from a workshop on effective science communication April 24 : Our most popular post of the year! Debra Cooper, Ph.D., a...
This was an exceptional year for publicly-funded research projects. Investments in science led to a greater understanding of preventing and treating disease such as using genetic variants to identify people at risk for coronary heart disease and tailoring breast cancer treatments to avoid the need for chemotherapy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) also supported the work of three Nobel Prize winners and clinical advances in cancer, heart disease, MS and many other conditions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded interdisciplinary projects including one that led to a holistic approach to strengthening the security and effectiveness of mobile medical applications . Evidence-...
Dear Research Advocate, The President’s signature on hard fought funding and tax legislation was enough to end the year on a high note, but there’s more good news: In an interview on C-SPAN , Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said what many of us have been waiting to hear: “Number one, what we want to turn our attention to [in 2016] is what we call the Innovation Bill.” After the 21st Century Cures pay-fors were used to help offset lost revenues in the FY16 Omnibus/Tax package, the prospects for mandatory NIH and FDA funding seemed weak. However, not only did Chairman Alexander reiterate his support for mandatory funding, but House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman...
Nine years ago, Rebecca went to the emergency room with appendicitis-like pains. CT scans revealed that she had a tumor the size of a grapefruit sitting on her ovary. She was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of 39 percent. “It was like a big baseball bat to the stomach when you find out you have cancer. The fear of the unknown is intense,” recalls Rebecca. “You think, is life over.” Finding a trial After receiving her diagnosis, Rebecca had surgery and chemotherapy, yet cancer cells remained in her body. Up to that point, Rebecca had heard of clinical trials but didn’t know much about them. Based on her doctor’s recommendation, she decided to...
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...
Candidates running for national office never miss an opportunity to share their solutions on the many problems facing our country with voters. From terrorism to transportation to education, the presidential candidates clamor for attention on hot button issues of the day. Yet they are not outlining their proposed solutions for healing what literally ails Americans - Alzheimer's disease, cancer, mental illnesses, and many other health threats. Despite the prevalence of disease and its impact to our health, economy and national security, candidates seem to be giving this issue a pass. Only 14% of Americans say they are very well-informed of the positions of current candidates for President...
Dear Research Advocate, The current continuing resolution (CR) expires tomorrow. Congress has yet to reach agreement on FY16 appropriations, so they will buy more time to hammer out a funding package by passing another CR lasting til midnight Wednesday, December 16. The major sticking points at this moment are additional policy riders attached to the funding omnibus, spanning the spectrum from immigration and refugees to labor and environmental issues. As it looks right now, some research-related budgets stand to gain, while others face a less positive fate. There’s more on NIH in my interview with The Atlantic , and we continue to press for increases for CDC, FDA, AHRQ and NSF. Social,...
For over 30 years, researchers have been studying the role oral health plays on overall health. Much of this research has focused on determining the relationship between periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as diabetes. And while research on this continues through today, enough is known to safely say that the presence of periodontal disease is associated with diabetes. Through existing studies, researchers have come to believe that the inflammation from the infected gum tissue enters the blood stream and affects a variety of organ systems. In a patient with diabetes, this results in a higher HbA1c level and impaired ability to control serum glucose. Findings also suggest that a...
Nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare profession, with approximately 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., and face challenges in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. A report released December 4 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Assessing Progress on the Institute of Medicine Report The Future of Nursing , shows significant progress over the last five years in transforming the nursing profession to adapt to an increasingly complex health care system. The report is an assessment of progress with implementing recommendations in the 2010 IOM report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health...

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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