Starting a Movement in Health Research
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority.We urge Congress and the administration to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) at levels that keep pace with scientific opportunity. We also advocate for federal funding for global health research and a legislative and regulatory climate that stimulates growth in industry research and development.
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History & Mission
Starting a Movement in Health Research
In 1989, Research!America's founders came together with the realization that there was a vast deficiency in medical research funding - and that such a gap would be
detrimental to Americans for years to come. Through their mutual belief in the fundamental importance of medical research, these visionaries formed the Research!America alliance.
Our Key Milestones
1989: Research!America is formed with former Senator Lowell Weicker as president and CEO-and Edwin C. "Jack" Whitehead, founder of MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research as founder and board chair. Other founders were Theodore Cooper, MD, then chairman and CEO of Upjohn Co., and medical research advocate Mary W. Lasker.
Initial Research!America supporters included organizations such as:
- the American Medical Association;
- Columbia University;
- Duke University;
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute;
- the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation;
- Merck & Co., Inc.;
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society;
- National Organization for Rare Disorders;
- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals;
- the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association;
- Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, Inc.;
- University of Virginia;
- the Upjohn Company;
- Washington University School of Medicine;
- the Whitehead Institute; and
- Yale University.
1990: Mary Woolley is named president of Research!America. The alliance makes its first call for NIH's budget to be doubled.
1992: William Anlyan, MD, elected board chair. Research!America releases its first poll (Maryland state poll).
1993: Science article by J. Michael Bishop, Marc Kirschner and Harold Varmus, calling for doubling the NIH budget from 1993-1998, is a turning point. Rep. John Edward Porter suggests at a FASEB conference that Congress needs stronger awareness of medical research funding issues. Sen. Tom Harkin asks Research!America to present its nationwide Harris Poll results to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.
1995: Research!America has its first annual National Forum featuring former U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas. An amendment by Sen. Mark O. Hatfield blocks a 10% cut of NIH budget. He observes that only 3 cents of every health dollar goes to research.
1996: The Honorable Paul G. Rogers is elected Research!America board chair and launches the 435 Project to remind citizens in all 435 Congressional districts that they have a voice for medical research. Its first goal is to double funding for medical research in five years. NIH appropriations turn-around is led by Sen. Hatfield and Rep. Porter.
1997: Research!America presents its first Advocacy Awards. With leadership from Sen. Harkin and Sen. Arlen Specter, Congress commits to doubling the NIH budget in five years.
1998: NIH budget sees a 15% increase. Research!America leads the formation of the Campaign for Medical Research , an independent, not-for-profit, 501(c)(4) organization with the initial goal of seeing the NIH budget doubling completed.
2000: With a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Research!America launches its Prevention Research Initiative to elevate prevention research to a higher national priority.
Sen. Connie Mack's Joint Economic Committee mandates a report: The Benefits of Medical Research and the Role of NIH.
2002: Research!America presents its first Eugene Garfield Economic Impact of Medical and Health Research Award. Research!America releases its first report estimating the U.S. investment in health research. The Investment in Research Saves Lives and Money series of one-page fact sheets is launched, supported by Lasker/Funding First.
2003: The doubling of the NIH federal budget is complete, a successful multi-organizational effort in which the Research!America alliance played a leadership role.
2004: Research!America's partnership with PARADE magazine leads to the publication of four Research!America/PARADE Health Polls in the magazine. The Campaign for Public Health, an independent, not-for-profit, 501(c)(4) organization, is formed with leadership from Research!America, with the goal of increasing funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2005: The Honorable John Edward Porter is named board chair, and the Honorable Paul G. Rogers remains active with Research!America as chair emeritus. An overview of 10 years of Research!America public opinion research is published in a special issue of JAMA-The Journal of the American Medical Association. Research!America's membership grows to 500 organizations that together represent the voices of more than 125 million Americans. Research!America releases the first known estimate of U.S. investment in global health research.
Research!America joins forces with the American Public Health Association, Association of Schools of Public Health, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and National Association of County & City Health Officials to launch the nation's first Public Health Thank You Day.
2006: The Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research is created, with initial funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Research!America, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and partners launch 2006 Your Candidates-Your Health Voter Guide, the first-ever survey of all Congressional candidates to ask their positions on medical, health and science research.
2007: Research!America, the Lasker Foundation and partners launch Your Congress-Your Health, asking all members of Congress their positions on health and research.
2008: Research!America and partners continue the Your Candidates-Your Health initiative for the 2008 presidential and congressional primaries and election, reaching 111 million Americans through news coverage about research as an election issue. Research!America mourns the loss of our chair emeritus The Honorable Paul G. Rogers.
2009: On the occasion of our 20th anniversary, Research!America unveiled a new logo. The simple, distinct and more compact design is a strong, bold, contemporary and innovative look to represent the Research!America alliance.
2010: Research!America launched state-focused advocacy on the economic impact of global health R&D, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At year-end, nearly 175 Members of the newly elected, 112th Congress had participated in one of our award-winning constituent education initiatives, Your Congress-Your Health or Your Candidates-Your Health.
2011: Research!America was active in outreach to several strategic states to ensure continued federal support for research to improve health. Events in Ohio and Florida raised awareness of research, as did six state public opinion polls. Global health R&D advocacy also continued its state-based advocacy and supplemented that with events and fact sheets examining global health research at federal agencies. Research!America was also honored to receive a Stem Cell Action Award from the Genetics Policy Institute.
2012: In the face of potentially devastating cuts, Research!America launched an advocacy campaign in November 2012 in an effort to prevent destructive policy decisions and deep cuts to funding of medical and health research. The campaign aimed to assure that research is treated as a critical national priority and funded at a level that enables researchers to continue to make progress on current research and capitalize on recent medical breakthroughs on behalf of patients, fosters timely access to new medical discoveries and advances the public health. Also in 2012, Your Candidates-Your Health, Research!America's signature voter education initiative, asked candidates for federal office to detail their opinions on a range of issues related to research, health and science. Our global health R&D advocacy focused on neglected tropical diseases which, despite their name, are an increasing threat to the health of Americans.