Blog

Research!America is dedicated to ensuring a strong public and private sector investment in research to improve health at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. Each blog post aims to inform readers about the health and economic benefits of research.  

Recent Blog Posts

Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, along with 85 partner organizations (more than ever before!), we celebrated Public Health Thank You Day . Hundreds of people took to social media with the hashtag #PHTYD to celebrate and thank the public health heroes who work 24/7 to maximize community health and safety. Overall, PHTYD garnered 10.1 million impressions on Twitter. Leaders in the field, including CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, NIH Director Francis Collins, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, and World Bank President Jim Kim added their voices to the overwhelming chorus of appreciation. Late last week, news broke of promising discussions in both...
Dr. Sue Anne Bell is a Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing and Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. Her research focus is on disaster preparedness and response, particularly on the long-term impact of disasters on human health in the United States and in settings around the world. You are currently in Puerto Rico assisting with the response to Hurricane Maria. Can you give a few examples of the long-term public health challenges Puerto Rico faces? Right now I am standing in the center of Old San Juan, which is usually a tourist mecca. Under normal conditions, this area would be filled with cruise ships, musicians, open restaurants and...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, a high energy discussion on Advocating for Basic Science in a Disease-Focused World at the Society for Neuroscience conference once again revealed the strong appetite for advocacy among scientists, and young scientists in particular. The audience resonated with my point that “you can’t outsource advocacy,” and many were inspired to tweet on the spot. In case you doubt the impact of scientists engaging in advocacy, consider this: Research!America’s Board Chair, former Congressman (R-DE) and Governor Mike Castle, was recently interviewed by the Society for Neuroscience: “Scientists deepened my understanding of the promise of embryonic stem cell research...
"My doctor just told me I have lung cancer… What do I do?" This is a familiar line for anyone who has spoken with a patient on Lung Cancer Alliance’s HelpLine . With a historically low survival rate and a significant stigma due to the misguided belief that it is only a “smoker’s disease,” lung cancer flies under the radar. However, no one deserves to die from any cancer, and most people don’t know that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer that will claim an estimated 160,000 lives in the U.S. this year alone. Fortunately, thanks to the power of research, the tide is turning in the fight against this disease and there's an entirely different story to tell this November during Lung...
When Grace Anne Dorney Koppel was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, her doctors told her she had 3-5 years to live. She had that conversation with her doctor nearly two decades ago. Today, she is a passionate advocate for COPD research and treatment. Noting that COPD patients have had the same treatments for 30 years, Koppel said “the clock is ticking and we cannot breathe.” Koppel, president of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation, joined other speakers at a Research!America Capitol Hill briefing on November 15, 2017 that highlighted ongoing challenges with COPD research funding and access to treatment. She said the...
Terrifying news accounts of recent deaths from Ebola, flesh-eating bacteria, HIV/AIDS, Zika and even the plague can give the misleading impression that we are at greater risk than ever. But we are fortunate to live in a time when—thanks to scientific advances that have produced lifesaving vaccines and treatments—we can actually begin to imagine a disease-free world. It’s appropriate for us on Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD) to acknowledge the commitment of scientists around the globe who work tirelessly, often under difficult and dangerous circumstances, to solve the world’s most pressing health problems. As we have all been reminded, diseases know no borders so it’s important that we...
Public health offers the greatest return on investment to improve both health and environmental outcomes. It is the common platform that will enable us to tackle the existential challenge of our time: how we can live sustainably on our planet as we add another 2 billion people to the world’s population by 2050. This is an urgent challenge given that we already utilize more resources on a yearly basis than our planet’s ecosystems can provide. This global population increase will primarily occur in urban settings in developing countries that already have a fractured or fragile infrastructure. This is a precarious mix that lends itself to instability, poor health and worsening environmental...
Dear Research Advocate: This just in: advocacy works. The four provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that posed a threat to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) have been removed from the conference report. We owe a special thank you to our congressional champions Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA), Peter King (R-NY), Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA). Next, let’s make advocacy work for federal funding. Congress has only 14 legislative days to act before the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on December 8. From what we are hearing, the chances of an FY18 budget deal...
Despite the best efforts of scientists and researchers, clinical trials on Alzheimer’s therapies have had a 99% failure rate and it has been 14 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved any Alzheimer’s-related medication. Like millions of others whose families are personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease, I am increasingly concerned that the medical, scientific, and advocacy communities are disproportionately focused on the hope that a blockbuster drug will suddenly emerge from a biopharmaceutical laboratory. This is not to say that increased investments in research should not be our foremost priority. NIH funding for Alzheimer’s-related research still lags well behind the...
Rural America represents a large geographic area, a place where more than 60 million people currently reside. How large? As much as 75%of the nation’s geography is considered to be “rural and frontier.” The public health challenges of this vast area and population are significant, and often under appreciated. Rural Americans face a unique combination of factors that create significant disparities in health care including economic factors, cultural and social differences, educational limitations, and the sheer isolation of living in remote areas. These challenges are compounded by the fact that many policymakers do not understand or recognize that rural communities have unique challenges...

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana