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Dear Research Advocate, Senators Casey (D-PA) and Burr (R-NC), recently honored with our Whitehead Award for Research Advocacy, have joined forces again with a bipartisan letter calling for a strong commitment to NIH funding in FY 14. Please take a moment now to urge your senators to sign on to this letter. And say thank you to Senators Burr and Casey for being champions for research! In past letters, I’€™ve written about attempts by Congress to micromanage and in some cases, attack critical components of our nation’€™s research portfolio. The social sciences have been targeted time and time again despite the immense value of these programs and the return on investment they represent. In...
How much financial benefit do we reap from biomedical research? What are the economic gains that result from introduction of new medications, changes to personal health behavior or reworking the Medicare and Medicaid health systems? These and other questions were discussed at a recent Capitol Hill briefing on health economics research co-sponsored by Academy Health, Research!America and other organizations. In an era of skyrocketing medical costs, this type of research can provide vital information to policy makers and health care providers to reign in the costs of healthcare without compromising the quality of patient care. Health economics experts Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, of the Brookings...
Dear Research Advocate, The President’€™s budget is out and it’€™s a mixed bag. First, the good news. NSF was given a significant funding boost, $593M over 2012 levels, NIH funding was increased by $470M, and AHRQ, via budget trade-offs, looks to have been boosted by $64M. The increases are from FY12 to FY14, since the President’s budget replaces sequestration in a different way than either Congressional body (see more below). The not so good news in the President’s budget is that other health research agencies did not fare well. The CDC budget was cut deeply, especially prevention programs. FDA was essentially flat -funded. And entitlement-reform may pose a challenge to innovation. The...
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have valuable resources on their websites in recognition of National Minority Health Disparities month. This year, CDC and HHS are focusing on health equity and access to affordable healthcare for all. Health disparities can result from a number of factors ’€“ limited access to quality, affordable health care and preventative services, physical activity and fresh food and produce, and unhealthy environments at home and work. In 2009, health disparities among African-Americans and Hispanics cost private insurers an additional $5.1 billion. Indirect costs associated with...
On April 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to the H7N9 influenza outbreak in China. H7N9 is the newest bird flu virus and has killed 8 and infected 20 other individuals in China. No cases have been found outside China, but the global health community, including CDC, is concerned because this is the first time this type of bird flu has been found in humans. In general, the EOC monitors emergency responses to public health threats and now that the center has been activated, more CDC resources will be devoted to monitoring the H7N9 outbreak. The EOC will provide ’€œresources, logistical support and avenues of...
The president’s FY14 budget proposal offers a lifeline for medical research to replace sequestration’s damaging footprints. The budget includes $31.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, as well as increases for the Food and Drug Administration and National Science Foundation. These increases would take our nation in the right direction, but we’re concerned that budget proposals from Congress – one from each of the House and Senate – unlike the president, fail to reverse sequestration. Sequestration, 10 years of across-the-board spending cuts, will drag our nation down from its leadership position in research and development as other countries aggressively ramp up investments,...
This guest post comes from Edward Grandi, Executive Director of the American Sleep Apnea Association. The American Sleep Apnea Association, founded in 1990, is the only national nonprofit patient advocacy organization dedicated to educating the public about sleep apnea and supporting patients in treatment. We are pleased to be a member of Research!America as it gives us an opportunity to help carry forward the message about the importance of sleep in medical research and to join with other organizations to promote the work of agencies like NIH, CDC and AHRQ to members of Congress. The field of sleep medicine is still relatively young and research into the fundamental causes of sleep...
April is National Cancer Control Month, and there is no better time to step up and advocate for lifesaving medical research. A recent report from ’€œ PBS NewsHour ’€ highlights the crippling effects of sequestration on funding for cancer research. The story of the Riggins laboratory is just one example of labs all over the country having to slow or stop promising research due to a lack of funding. According to the American Cancer Society’€™s 2013 report , more than half a million Americans are expected to die from cancer this year alone. Cancer ranks as the second most common disease, exceeded only by heart disease. Some aspects of cancer risk are inherent, such as having a faulty gene...
The public health community is on alert over a new strain of avian flu that has made the jump from birds to people, resulting in six confirmed deaths in China. ’€œAt this point it’€™s a matter of anxious waiting and good surveillance,’€ Research!America Board member Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Politico Pro. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are joining forces with other international researchers to track this new strain, H7N9. Thus far, the only infected individuals appear to have come into direct contact with sick birds, indicating that currently this new strain cannot be passed from person to person...
Dear Research Advocate, Glimmers of hope can be found in the dire funding situation we face under sequestration. The continuing resolution (C.R.) funding the government through the end of the fiscal year (September 30) included very small increases for NIH, CDC, NSF and FDA; AHRQ was flat funded. But the fact remains that these increases were overwhelmed by the effect of sequestration, which remains in place and will continue to weigh us down for 10 years unless overturned. Our champions in Congress are speaking out and taking a stand on behalf of research as the budget negotiation proceeds. Reps. McKinley (R-WV) and Markey (D-MA) have co-authored a letter to House appropriators calling for...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco