A Strong Majority of Ohioans say it is Important for the State to be a Leader in Education and in Medical and Health Research

More than Three-Quarters of Respondents say Ohio’s Universities Develop a Skilled Workforce to Compete in Global Economy
Monday, June 6, 2016

An overwhelming majority of Ohio residents say it is important for the state to be a leader in education (89 percent) and in medical and health research (87 percent), according to a state-based public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America. A high percentage of Ohioans also say the state should lead in science and technology, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents say that Ohio’s universities create a stronger economy by developing the skilled workforce that allows companies to compete in the global economy, and 73 percent say that Ohio’s universities are among the best research universities in the nation. Three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) also say university research in Ohio creates new products and inventions that improve the quality of life.

“Medical research is good for the health of Ohioans and the health of Ohio’s economy,” notes Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED. “Ohio’s universities and biomedical companies receive over $700 million from the National Institutes of Health. These federal funds not only help improve the quality of life of Ohioans but they also serve as an engine for economic development, creating thousands of high paying jobs in Ohio.”  

Northeast Ohio Medical University and Research!America co-hosted the forum “Medical Research: The Right Prescription for Economic Growth” at the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center in Rootstown, Ohio on Monday, June 6.  The program brought together elected officials, business leaders, university presidents from across the state, leaders of biotech companies and nationally-ranked medical centers, and research scientists to discuss public-private partnerships and other initiatives that maximize the impact of medical research on the local and national economy, and benefit the health of citizens.

Drug and substance abuse is considered to be the most important health issue facing Ohio residents, according to survey respondents, followed by cancer, obesity, mental health and heart disease, in that order. Nearly 60 percent of Ohioans report having at least one of the following — arthritis, asthma, cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and stroke. Chronic diseases drive increased health care needs and higher medical costs.  Half of respondents (50 percent) agree that research to improve health is part of the solution to rising health care costs.

"Ohioans respect the work of Ohio’s private sector innovators and its academic research institutions in finding solutions to the many health challenges that threaten well-being and economic prosperity,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. “They recognize that Ohio is a thriving hub for the life sciences where public-private partnerships are critical to the discovery, development and delivery of new treatments and preventions.” Indeed, 86 percent of Ohioans say it is important for academia, government and industry to collaborate on research projects to advance medical progress.

When asked whether state funds should be used to support scientific research at public universities, a majority of respondents (63 percent) said yes. And two-thirds (67 percent) agree that federal funds should support research at public universities. Furthermore, 66 percent say they would be willing to pay an additional $1 per week in taxes if they knew that it would go towards the U.S. investing more in research to improve health. Ohioans also expressed strong support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, with 81 percent in agreement that the state legislature should assign a higher priority to improving STEM education and careers in those fields.

 Among other survey findings:

  • 78 percent say it is important for Ohio’s state government to fund and conduct medical or health research to understand and eliminate health disparities.
  • In terms of jobs and incomes, 78 percent say spending money on scientific research is important to Ohio's economy.
  • 84 percent say it is important for Ohio to be a leader in agriculture.
  • 83 percent say it is important for Ohio to be a leader in science and technology.
  • 83 percent say it is important for Ohio to be a leader in manufacturing.
  • 93 percent say it is important that the U.S. maintain its role as a world leader in medical research.
  • 55 percent of Ohioans say they are willing to share their personal health information to advance medical research.
  • 81 percent say it is important to know whether candidates for President and Congress believe the government should invest more in medical research.

The survey of 802 Ohio adults, conducted by Zogby Analytics in May 2016, has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. To view survey results, click here.

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About Research!America Surveys

Research!America began commissioning surveys in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America's surveys have proven invaluable to our alliance of member organizations and, in turn, to the fulfillment of our mission to make research to improve health a higher national priority. In response to growing usage and demand, Research!America has expanded its portfolio, which includes state, national and issue-specific surveys. Survey data is available by request or at www.researchamerica.org

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org

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America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter