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Dear Research Advocate: The Senate approved a four-bill minibus package including appropriations under the jurisdiction of the Interior-Environment, Financial Services, Agriculture (which includes FDA) and Transportation-HUD Subcommittees yesterday, and will now likely take up a combined Labor-H/Defense appropriations bill (inclusive of NIH, CDC, AHRQ, the Department of Defense CDMRP and other important research funding). Research!America sent a letter to Appropriations leaders today reinforcing their commendable efforts to wrap up FY19 appropriations before the 9/30 deadline. The stakes here are high: the alternative scenarios -- either flat funding under a continuing resolution or a...
Before the 20 th century, the only way to become immune to ailments like measles, smallpox, and diphtheria was to develop naturally acquired immunity – to contract a disease and hopefully survive it to prevent future infection. The development of vaccines revolutionized care for these diseases, and smallpox and diphtheria have since been eradicated in the United States while cases of measles are down 99.9% since the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963. August marks National Immunization Awareness Month, during which health care providers, researchers, and patient advocates join forces to inform the public on the health benefits of vaccines as well as advancements in vaccine research. A...
Dear Research Advocate: In United for Medical Research’s terrific Amazing Things Podcast series, chairman of the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee, Tom Cole (R-OK) talks about what investments in research mean for the health, well-being and prosperity of America and Americans. Listen in - Chairman Cole can teach us all a thing or two about high impact advocacy! It is important for stakeholders in research to take time to demonstrate the utility of research and innovation investments, speaking out to current and future Congressional champions on both sides of the aisle. With that aim in mind, Research!America has expanded our bipartisan candidate engagement initiative for the midterm elections,...
Fostering strong partnerships between clinicians and researchers is the key to speeding the discovery and implementation of new asthma treatments, said Judith Woodfolk, MBChB, Ph.D., professor of medicine, Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, during Research!America’s asthma research briefing in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Woodfolk was joined by other experts spanning government, industry and the patient community for a panel discussion about research to prevent, treat and ultimately cure severe asthma. Eleanor Perfetto, Ph.D., M.S., senior vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Health Council,...
Research into the development of Ebola vaccines, efforts to address opioid use among women, infectious diseases and a record number of novel drug approvals are among the many examples of federal health agencies making tremendous strides in 2017 to address complex and deadly health threats. The agencies highlighted their achievements in year-end articles, videos and reports on their websites. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) described progress with two Ebola vaccines and a bionic pancreas to better treat type 1 diabetes in addition to other clinical advances. The NIH also supported the work of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and one recipient of the Nobel...
Dear Research Advocate: In considering resolutions for the coming year, I am reminded that resolution connotes action . I am optimistic that 2018 will be a year of action, a year in which research and innovation amp up our economy, even as they lead to better health and quality of life. Congress will respond to advocates if we all take action and amp up our efforts — it’s an election year, after all! Love it or loathe it, tax reform has set the stage for additional action to drive the economy. In addition to passing a bipartisan budget deal that lifts spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary funding, and repealing or suspending the medical device tax, Congress and the...
Dear Research Advocate: Last weekend, many of us awoke to reports that CDC officials were barred from using several words and phrases, among them “science-based,” “evidence-based” and “diversity.” CDC and HHS officials quickly released statements contradicting the reports. Now there are more reports of efforts to replace certain words in agency budget documents. While every Administration has favored programs and favored vocabulary, this bears watching. As AAAS CEO and Research!America board member Dr. Rush Holt, explained on CNN , this is emblematic of a larger issue facing our nation: “neglect of evidence.” See our statement and a sign-on letter spearheaded by APHA to HHS Acting Secretary...
Our nation’s health has improved in some areas but serious health challenges remain related to the escalating drug crisis and disparities in access to care. United Health Foundation’s 2017 America’s Health Rankings report indicates smoking prevalence, the rate of preventable hospitalizations and the percentage of uninsured Americans have declined, but the drug death rate has trended upward. In the past year, drug deaths reached the highest level recorded by America’s Health Rankings , increasing by 7%, particularly among whites. Even states that consistently rank among the healthiest in the nation saw increased mortality rates due to the drug epidemic. Over the past five years, drug death...
Did you know that since 2004, close to 1,500 children have died in the United States due to flu? Year after year, I hear people say “Oh, it’s just the flu” or “I’m healthy, I don’t need a flu shot.” And yet, we continue to lose innocent lives, many of whom are healthy children and adults, to this vaccine-preventable disease. I know first-hand because I lost my 5-year-old, healthy son, Joseph, to the flu. And now I’m Chief Operating Officer of Families Fighting Flu (FFF), an organization dedicated to educating people about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of annual vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, per the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and...
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 was not only riveting, it was a reminder that Americans are as enraptured as ever by science. The challenge is not to convince the public that scientific exploration is meaningful, it is to convince them that scientific exploration is at risk. Which brings me back, inevitably, to the federal budget. When they return from August recess, members of Congress face formidable budget challenges: to prevent default, they need to raise the debt limit. To prevent a government shutdown, they need to pass an FY18 budget bill. There are only 12 days in September when both houses of Congress are in session, and President Trump needs to sign these bills (or a combined bill...

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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