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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: I write tonight’s letter grieving for the Parkland, Florida victims’ families and all those touched by yesterday’s shooting. Americans should feel safe to gather at a concert, go to work, go to school, and live our lives without fear of gun violence. Sadly, as I have noted too many times before, (see this post-Las Vegas weekly letter and statement post Orlando), our nation’s leaders are failing to act. We urge that this time be different. President Trump has decried the tragedy and announced a trip to Parkside. HHS Secretary Azar asserted before Congress that gun violence research will (finally) go forward again at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC...
Dear Research Advocate: Advocacy works! Yesterday the Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to raise both the Defense and non-Defense budget caps for FY18 and FY19. We expect the Senate and House to pass the measure and the President to sign the bill in time to prevent another government shutdown. The two-year deal is part of yet another (but this time very different) continuing resolution (CR), giving appropriators until March 23 to work out a final omnibus appropriations bill based — at last! — on higher spending caps. Many thanks to our partners in the Raise the Caps campaign, and thanks to all who joined us on social media to help secure the higher caps. Together, we gave voice — loudly...
February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and the developed world, as well as of low vision, which means that even with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to perform. AMD destroys vision through proliferation of new blood vessels (“wet” or neovascular AMD, reflecting about 10% of cases) or where photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells in the retina) die away (“dry” or atrophic AMD, accounting for 90% of cases). Since AMD affects the central part of the retina—called the macula—the resulting vision loss makes it increasingly difficult for an...
World Cancer Day, taking place on February 4, aims to "get as many people as possible around the globe to talk about cancer ." This year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hopes that, in addition to talking about cancer broadly, people around the world will also discuss the disproportionate impact that cancer has on disadvantaged and minority groups. We must continue to talk about the problem of cancer health disparities and address this pressing issue comprehensively and with passion and commitment. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer health disparities are “adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (all existing cases),...
The February 2018 newsletter is now online . Highlights from this month include: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for her leadership in increasing federal funding for medical research, particularly Alzheimer’s disease research, at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 14 in Washington, D.C. at the Mellon Auditorium. Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH , surgeon, writer, and public health researcher and advocate, will be honored with the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for dramatically raising the profile of health systems research, and promoting evidence-based research to improve health care delivery...
A tsunami of cancer threatens livelihoods across the globe, and the world is largely unprepared for its impact. The disease accounts for one out of every seven deaths worldwide – more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined . Nearly 60% of the world’s cancer cases occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and these regions account for about 65% of the world’s cancer deaths . Reducing these disparities requires comprehensive and complementary approaches, and engaging with partners. The American Cancer Society’s global cancer control team has – through in-country research and collaborative partnerships – developed responsive and sustainable initiatives around cancer...
Dear Research Advocate: In President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, there was little mention of research or innovation, although he noted that Americans aren’t satisfied with the status quo; they “...fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery.” The president talked passionately about challenges that require overcoming the status quo. He spoke of fighting the opioid epidemic and “helping get treatment for those in need.” Treatment is absolutely essential, as is research. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is funding critically important research to inform prevention, intervention, alternative pain treatment and other...
To Americans, there are few things more terrifying than going blind . Glaucoma is a particularly scary vision-stealing disease because without screening it offers no warning to those it strikes, causing significant, irreversible vision loss before a patient notices something is wrong. But in January, in honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month, the vision-research community reflects on the past year’s progress toward managing this challenging disease. As with all diseases, progress is dependent on research. First, it looks into understanding what causes the condition, and then into therapies that prevent, treat or cure it. Glaucoma research, spanning decades, has successfully identified what...
Dear Research Advocate: Wake-up news this week: the U.S. has dropped out of the top ten on the list of “innovative countries” (see Bloomberg Innovation Index .) Also: for the first time, China is producing more scientific publications than the U.S. and recently released data from the National Science Board indicate that China is on track to overtake the U.S. in government investment in science research and development in two years or less. Meanwhile, among budget priorities, U.S. investment in R&D is treated like an afterthought -- with a broken budget system to boot. The fact that critically important government functions are in a “state of suspended animation,” as Ellie put it in a...
Dear Research Advocate: It’s “deja vu all over again” -- the current continuing resolution (CR) is set to expire tomorrow (January 19) at midnight. It may go to the wire, but Congress will likely pass a fourth CR to keep the government running until February 16. Last year, CRs dragged on and on until May 5! These serial deadlines are increasingly used as leverage by both sides of the aisle to push for legislative priorities, and thus it is increasingly difficult to pass a budget in a timely fashion. Still, a CR is far, far better than a government shutdown, which shortchanges the American public in many ways and can trigger serious and long-lasting effects on public health . Here is a good...

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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