A Weekly Advocacy Letter From Mary Woolley: Politics, Policy and Progress

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate:  
   
Both the Republican and Democratic platforms highlight the importance of achieving medical progress, responding to the fact that Americans place a high value on achieving health and wellness (see my Huffington Post blog last Friday discussing our newest survey results). A portion of the first day of the Democratic convention this week was devoted to public health topics, including the opioid abuse crisis. Secretary Clinton chose Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate, a policymaker with a solid track record on public health; a strong proponent of prevention. In Sen. Kaine’s speech last evening, he emphasized the importance of research to defeat Alzheimer’s and modeled what we advocate for every candidate -- incorporate research into your short list of high priorities for our nation, as he said, “...investments in education, health care, research, and transportation.”
  
There’s a way for everyone who cares about speeding medical progress to help make that happen sooner rather than later. I invite you to join us as we launch Save Lives. Support Cures., a month-long advocacy push designed to turn up the heat on Congress to get the Cures legislation across the finish line in September. The first week of August will focus on discovery. Calling all researchers and scientists: now is the time to raise your voice! You each have a story to share. Will you tell us yours, call your representatives, or pen an LTE or op-ed? For great examples, check out Purdue University Professor and FASEB member David Sanders’ LTE and Society of Neuroscience President, Dr. Hollis Cline’s, op-ed
 
As you know, the 21st Century Cures Act addresses a wide range of challenges that scream out for improvement. For example, researchers and research institutions report the current reporting system is excessively time-consuming and costly, wasting time and money at the cost of scientific productivity.  Last Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released recommendations for reducing the administrative burden associated with federal research grants. The House-passed 21st Century Cures legislation includes a provision that directs NIH to streamline the grant process and reduce administrative burden for researchers. However, this provision will never come to fruition without Senate companion legislation.
 
Please get in touch with Caitlin Leach at cleach@researchamerica.org if your organization or you personally are interested in partnering in one or each week of our month-long push. Share your own or your organization’s #CuresNOW advocacy activities and events with Rachel Weissman at rweissman@researchamerica.org to have them included on the #CuresNOW advocacy calendar. New content and advocacy activities will be updated weekly on the online advocacy headquarters. Engage with us during this crucial month with the hashtag #CuresNOW on social media. Call, tweet, message, customize your profile picture, share your story, and raise your voice! The longer Cures goes unfinished, the less likely it is to become reality. We do not have time for more time. 
           
Sincerely,
 
Mary Woolley

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