Dear Research Advocate: Last Friday, I attended the 2017 Lasker Awards luncheon. The awards program honors the legacy of Mary Lasker, who once crisply noted: “If you think research is expensive, try disease!” I was struck by Lasker Laureate John Schiller’s provocative observation in his acceptance remarks that ensuring the “nurturing stream” of a robust science infrastructure may be more important than celebrating outstanding individual scientists. I take his point and am glad there is room to celebrate both, and it is certainly true to Mary Lasker’s legacy that our community advocates for both -- for the institutions and policies and funding that make science possible, and for the...
Dear Research Advocate: At our 2017 National Health Research Forum last week, three expert panels provided “Straight Talk” about what it means to drive research to achieve a disease-free world; how our country can face-down public health crises like the opioid epidemic; and what we can do to improve the R&D pipeline. The room was filled to capacity, more than 1,300 people across the country tuned in via live-stream, and we even trended on Twitter! We are so grateful to the participants - speakers, panelists, moderators, sponsors and audience - for making this an event that has staying power and consistently seeds new thinking. Check out the recap of the event. As our Forum was in full...
There was a time when people didn’t know that suicide is preventable. Before suicide prevention research began in earnest, people were afraid to even talk about suicide, because they thought they could cause someone to die by suicide if they spoke the word: that it would put the idea in their head, and the person in distress would act on it. The only time the brain was even mentioned was if there was physical damage to the brain as the result of a suicide attempt. People placed social judgments on those with mental health conditions because they didn’t understand that the brain is an organ that can be remedied, just like other organs. Research, a guided process of inquiry, has led us to...
Research!America is hosting a digital advocacy initiative on September 11–12 to urge Congress to #RaisetheCaps during negotiations of the FY18 budget. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) established austerity-level federal spending, and in FY18 the sequestration budget caps or automatic spending cuts for federal agencies will be back in full force. This will tie policymakers’ hands and stall major projects ranging from supercomputers to biohazard labs that researchers need to effectively prevent emerging epidemics, develop the next generation of super materials, and find the links between genes and disease. It is crucial that advocates raise their voices now and convince Congress to #...
Dear Research Advocate: I am sending this week’s letter a day earlier than usual to urge you to take part (if not in person, then by livestream ) in our 2017 National Health Research Forum titled “Is a ‘Disease-Free’ World Within Reach?” tomorrow, September 7th, at 11:30 am EST. It’s an opportunity to hear from thought leaders across the research ecosystem on topics ranging from opioid addiction to FDA priorities to organs-on-a-chip. While the Forum has reached in-person seating capacity, it will be livestreamed by WebMD; tune in here . Earlier today, the Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee, the jurisdiction of which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, passed their FY18 bill out of...
The September 2017 of The Research Advocate is now online. Highlights from this month's issue: For every tragedy, communities come together to aid those in need. Many research institutions and health organizations are in full response mode as they offer resources to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Research!America’s National Health Research Forum will focus on potential solutions in panel discussions Thursday, September 7, 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Experts representing academia, patient groups, government, industry and scientific societies will discuss what it will take to make dramatic strides against deadly and debilitating health threats. With...

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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers