advocacy

Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, a high energy discussion on Advocating for Basic Science in a Disease-Focused World at the Society for Neuroscience conference once again revealed the strong appetite for advocacy among scientists, and young scientists in particular. The audience resonated with my point that “you can’t outsource advocacy,” and many were inspired to tweet on the spot. In case you doubt the impact of scientists engaging in advocacy, consider this: Research!America’s Board Chair, former Congressman (R-DE) and Governor Mike Castle, was recently interviewed by the Society for Neuroscience: “Scientists deepened my understanding of the promise of embryonic stem cell research...
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...
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...
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: 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...
Dear Research Advocate, In a week with lots of mixed signals on health care, we released new survey data that shows a striking increase in public support for empowering patients (and we are all patients!) to participate in clinical trials. A strong majority say joining a clinical trial is as valuable as donating blood. And a new question shows the public would value providers discussing clinical trials as a routine part of health care. These findings come just as NIH’s “All of Us” initiative launches a new grant program to encourage enrollment in the ambitious one million-enrollee clinical research effort. Read more about our survey , and plan to attend our National Health Research Forum in...
Dear Research Advocate, Recently, I joined hundreds of attendees at the Aspen Institute’s annual Spotlight Health program. One recurring theme was the power of data to drive medical progress. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, called digitized data a “natural resource; a pool that lies under the surface waiting to be extracted, refined and delivered [for better health and health care.]” There was encouragement for more of us to become ‘data donors’ -- when we are healthy as well as when we are ill -- to help speed research and innovation. But significant obstacles to effectively ‘mining’ our data must be overcome. Technology is no longer a formidable one. Data privacy...
Dear Research Advocate, At this week’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Advocacy Forum, the participants’ energy and determination was palpable as they prepared for a day of meetings with their respective congressional delegations. It was a privilege to address the forum, but I wasn’t the main event. It was more than a little unusual to see David Axelrod and Karl Rove on the same stage; tragically, both have experienced the loss of a parent to suicide. They spoke from the heart and inspired advocates to do the same, counseling them to make - and keep making - the case for investing in research and prevention. Rove emphasized: “Make sure your member of Congress hears about...
Dear Research Advocate, The news is concerning. President Trump’s proposed FY18 budget , released on Tuesday, fails to embrace national priorities including research and innovation that directly impact health, economic prosperity and national security. Steep cuts for federal research and health agencies run counter to American values and public expectations that research be put to work at the level of scientific opportunity, in order to advance health and quality of life and to drive the economy. The president’s proposed budget cuts $1.7 trillion over 10 years, almost all of it from non-defense discretionary programs. The FY18 budget proposes cuts of $7.2 billion or 21% for NIH; $1.2...
Dear Research Advocate, I’m sure you’ve heard that the House passed an ACA replacement bill today. In addition to the significant implications for health care access, the bill would repeal the medical device tax and, tragically, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund. As written, this bill likely cannot pass the Senate. Beyond that, the only bet I would take when it comes to repeal/replace is that there are no safe bets... On to research funding: After months and months of hard work by Congress and advocates, an FY17 appropriations deal providing a $2 billion increase for NIH and modest increases for NSF and FDA is on track to become law. While the news is not 100% positive (e.g...

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