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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.  

Recent Blog Posts

Dear Research Advocate: During a visit to the University of Michigan last week, I learned about an important new initiative that empowers faculty to take a more active role in public engagement. An explicit goal is to convey the return on taxpayer investment in the university, very much including the return on research conducted there. The initiative is timely and important, designed to help address signs of public disenchantment with academia by demonstrating its relevance and accountability to the public. Kudos to U of M President Mark Schlissel for his leadership. Last week, panelists at our Capitol Hill briefing engaged on the need for increased investment in Alzheimer’s disease...
The October 2017 Research Advocate is now online . Highlights from this month's issue: A former congressional leader who was instrumental in doubling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, the head of a global research center aimed at reducing the burden of disease, two long-time mental health advocates dedicated to accelerating research, a rare disease organization committed to biotech innovation, and a world-renowned vaccine researcher are among those who will be honored at Research!America’s 22 nd annual Advocacy Awards on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 , in Washington, D.C. Research and education are key to addressing the complexities of the opioid epidemic. “On the research side,...
Migraine affects about 12% of the U.S. population but medical school education is lacking, the disease is often misdiagnosed, and stigma surrounding the condition persists. Speakers at the Society for Women’s Health Research’s October 2 event in Washington, D.C. discussed these and other factors impacting access to quality care for migraine sufferers. Three-quarters of migraine sufferers in the U.S. are women. Panelist Katie Golden, who suffers from chronic migraine, had to quit her job because of her condition which fueled her passion for advocacy. She said advocating for migraine-related policy to close existing gaps in care has added meaning to her life. “My first advocacy event was...
Dear Research Advocate: I have given several talks recently on the role each of us has in winning hearts and minds for research, stressing the importance of telling stories and connecting emotionally rather than clobbering people with facts. That said, sometimes facts tell stories, and sometimes neither stories nor facts compel desperately needed change. Such is the case with gun violence. It’s time to dig deeper. On an average Sunday in this country, about 100 people are killed by firearms, two-thirds of them by suicide. Three days ago, 58 people who had gathered to watch music were senselessly gunned down by a single shooter. Our nation mourns this and every gun violence tragedy, but we...
Dear Research Advocate: The annual Golden Goose Awards ceremony was held last evening at the Library of Congress. These awards animate a truth about basic research: it really is what’s on the inside that counts. The 2014 award honored rat massage research . Judged by that top-line description alone, who wouldn’t be skeptical? In fact, this research saves lives and health care dollars...an estimated $4.7 billion a year in the US alone. This year, the Silence of the Frogs demonstrates how the health of frogs proves the interconnectedness of our world and how one seemingly small event can have a global impact. As they gain more and more attention, the Golden Goose Awards help more people,...
Let’s start with this: think of each person’s cancer as a unique locked door. Now imagine that with a simple test, we could find the right key to unlock that door and cure the cancer on the first try. This is the world of precision medicine, an emerging area of research that the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) feels is the mechanism for finally unlocking the cancer problem. So what does this mean for patients? Consider Mark Meerschaert’s experience. In a matter of weeks, Mark went from being an active on-the-go professor to someone who could barely walk; metastatic prostate cancer had come from nowhere and spread throughout his body. As a respected mathematics professor and researcher,...
Rethinking the ways in which we address mental health issues is critical in the development of new and innovative technologies, treatments, and strategies. Instead of simply providing a diagnosis, treatment strategies should focus on the entire community of individuals affected by mental illness, said Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association. At the “Tackling Mental Health Through Innovation” forum hosted by CQ Roll Call on September 19 in Washington, D.C., Evans emphasized the importance of intervention strategies as a top priority to ensure at-risk individuals receive necessary care. “Let’s make sure that within the community we have the infrastructure, the...
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...

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln