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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.  

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The November 2017 Research Advocate is now online . Highlights from this month's issue: More state and federal support for medical and health research could help solve West Virginia’s opioid crisis and reposition the state as a research leader, according to panelists at Research!America’s program “West Virginia Research and Innovation: A Catalyst for Better Health and Economic Growth” on October 16 at Shepherd University . On Friday, October 13, Research!America hosted a webinar, “Innovative Research and the Opioid Epidemic: Are We Closer to Finding Solutions?” Speakers discussed how researchers, public health officials and pharmacists serve pivotal roles in combating this ongoing crisis...
Dear Research Advocate: With support from the Kavli Foundation, I’ve had the privilege of visiting research institutions across the country to speak to scientists about public and policymaker engagement. Earlier this week I visited Nebraska and Iowa. Among other topics, we explored the appetite -- a healthy one - for a course within the graduate science curriculum on the “public context” of science (including, but not limited to, the political/policy/funding environment as it bears on research and research bears on it). Hopefully demand will attract supply when it comes to a course like this! Another “frame of reference” issue we discussed relates to science skepticism. It can divide, but...
If the first vision that comes to mind when you think “dental hygienist” is your dentist’s office, that’s terrific, but there is a larger story to tell. According to a 2017 Journal of Dental Education article , by 2040, “…many more [dental hygienists] will practice with multidisciplinary health care teams in large-group dental and medical practices and in a variety of nontraditional community settings.” Often the first line of defense for dental patients—in oral education services, preventive care and disease assessment—is their dental hygienist. In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month , it’s a good time to highlight the critical role that dental hygienists play in connecting oral health...
Ten million men and 20 million women will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. These illnesses affect all kinds of people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status or background. And despite the fact that these illnesses have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, the majority of those affected will not get the help that they need and many will suffer in silence, often not even realizing that they are struggling with an eating disorder. Eating disorders, such as bulimia, binge eating disorder and anorexia, have biological, genetic, behavioral and psychological components, yet they continue to be dismissed, trivialized and obscured by...
Dear Research Advocate: Americans spent $8.4 billion on Halloween in 2016 -- and no doubt will spend even more this year-- enough to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for 17+ years! What we spend to improve the quality of health care delivery represents only about 0.012% of the $3.3 trillion we spend on health care. Stats like these help place research -- in this case health services research (HSR) -- spending into perspective. (For more advocacy-relevant info, see our fact sheet .) The vision for AHRQ that Director Gopal Khanna shares in this terrific blog post underscores why a far greater investment in HSR makes strategic sense for our nation. More on what money...
More than 250,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 40,000 individuals will lose their lives to the disease (most to metastatic breast cancer, or MBC, which is breast cancer that has spread to other organs in the body). From Susan G. Komen’s point of view, investment in breakthrough breast cancer research, especially in projects focused on metastatic disease, is one of the most significant ways we can make progress and save lives from breast cancer. But research is expensive, and metastatic disease is cunning. An estimated 94% of women who are diagnosed with MBC were previously diagnosed with an earlier stage of the disease, maybe even decades prior. Then the...
This year’s Public Health Thank You Day challenges us to answer the question: what is public health? The incredible diversity of specialties within the American Public Health Association’s membership leads me to ask that question on a daily basis. Our members shape fields as far ranging as child and maternal health, school health education, mental health, ethics, public health statistics and environmental health. But together, these disparate disciplines define public health. APHA is striving to create the healthiest nation in one generation, and despite different specialties and backgrounds each public health discipline and professional can be part of this movement. As schools improve,...
Dear Research Advocate: The opioid crisis is responsible for an estimated 1,000 emergency department visits every day in the United States. That is just one of the alarming, and heartbreaking, statistics that has stayed with me since our webinar on the crisis. If you couldn’t join us for it, I promise it is well worth viewing. The opioid epidemic, as well as the local economic impact of higher education and research and innovation, were prominent themes at a health research forum we co-hosted at Shepherd University in West Virginia on Monday. Shepherd President, Dr. Mary Hendrix, a Research!America board member, welcomed attendees and introduced West Virginia’s senators. Sen. Joe Manchin (D...
Deaths from drug overdoses are at an all-time high in the United States, with opiate abuse – both prescription and illicit – the main cause of these fatalities. Opioids were responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in 2015, representing a quadrupling of opioid-related fatalities since 1999. The concerted efforts of academic researchers, public health officials, and pharmacists are vital to the development of preventative strategies and accessible and effective treatments for opioid abuse disorder. Speakers for Research!America’s webinar "Innovative Research and the Opioid Epidemic: Are We Closer to Finding Solutions?" on October 13, discussed how medical science and public health are...
The percentage of working-age civilians in West Virginia who are employed has dropped below 50% for the first time in decades, partly due to a steep rise in opioid addiction across the state, said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) during Research!America’s program “West Virginia Research and Innovation: A Catalyst for Better Health and Economic Growth” on October 16 at Shepherd University. Sen. Manchin and other speakers at the event discussed possible solutions to West Virginia’s opioid crisis and ways to reposition the state as a regional and national research leader. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of jobs in West Virginia going unfulfilled,” Manchin said. “Every job fair we had over 100...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco