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Dear Research Advocate, Public Support for a Science Strong Future : A new survey commissioned by Research!America affirms Americans’ support for investing in research as a top priority for the new Congress and Administration. Four of five express strong support for the value of both public and private sector research and innovation, and the percentage of Americans indicating support for basic research “even if it brings no immediate benefits” grew from 77% in August 2020 to 85% in January 2021, with three of four now favoring doubling federal spending on medical research. As reassuring as the new survey data is in most regards, one in five Americans say they have lost confidence in science...
Dear Research Advocate, In celebrating Black History Month, we acknowledge and honor the generations of African Americans who have significantly contributed to our nation’s history. Many resilient, unsung heroes have helped enact critical change in the areas of science policy and research advocacy. In collaboration with the National Science Policy Network, Research!America has curated a collection of videos that recognize #BlackInSciPol professionals. Learn more about these scientists in the vanguard of their fields, both past and present, by following #BlackInSciPolWeek on Twitter. Pushing for Health Equity : President Biden released an Executive Order on Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic...
Dear Research Advocate, Even as the death toll rises and hospitals are overwhelmed, we can feel optimistic as the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized by the FDA is being delivered into the arms of Americans. Some recipients have cried in relief and gratitude. I like thinking about this vaccine metaphorically as a “double shot” – to protect against COVID-19 and as a booster shot in the arm for science. The vaccine truly brings home the value of science. Leading at the FDA : Science has delivered and so has the FDA. We hosted Dr. Peter Marks, the director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) on Monday to discuss the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the...
Dear Research Advocate, Last days of 2020 : The deadline for finalizing FY21 legislation and for a supplemental spending bill will almost certainly be delayed until December 18. Delays like these are difficult to countenance. However, the important point is Congress and the White House are now trying to complete FY21 appropriations and the supplemental when they could instead abdicate by passing a long-term CR and – literally for some and figuratively for others – just call it quits. Advocates can’t call it quits either. While two major points of contention reportedly remain – liability protections for business and state and local funding support – there is no way to know for certain what...
COVID-19 serology tests, also known as antibody tests, are currently receiving heightened attention and scrutiny. Why? Validated and correctly performed positive serology tests are a tool to confirm previous SARS-CoV2 (the virus causing COVID-19) infection and may indicate that a patient has built immunity to the virus. However, there are still questions we need to answer about the clinical effectiveness of serology testing to ensure that they yield accurate results. Additionally, scientists do not yet know for sure if a patient with a validated positive serology test is immune to reinfection by the virus. What Must Be Learned Before Serology Tests Can Be Used Effectively In the American...
Dear Research Advocate, Super Tuesday is just days away. While media is largely focused on the Presidential candidates, candidates for Congress will also be selected. As we head into the general election, Research!America will be launching a non-partisan initiative to inform all candidates about where voters stand on medical and scientific research. Earlier this month, we released data from our January survey demonstrating widespread, bipartisan support for more research funding to address the many critical health issues facing Americans today. More poll data from our January survey will be online shortly; watch for it, and put it to use! We all think it’s important that candidates know...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier today, the good news broke that Congress and the White House have reached a tentative agreement (emphasis on “tentative”) on Fiscal Year 2020 funding. We are hearing that if all goes as planned (emphasis on “if” and “planned”), the House and Senate will vote on two appropriations minibuses next week and the president will sign them into law before the current stop-gap funding measure expires on December 20, 2019. The first minibus would reportedly include the “Labor-H” bill, which funds NIH, CDC, and AHRQ, as well as the Agriculture and “CJS” bills, the first of which includes funding for FDA and the second, NSF. The other minibus would include the Homeland...
Dear Research Advocate, The 2016 21st Century Cures Act (21stCC) is a prime example of patient groups, government, the private sector, academia and other research stakeholders working together toward a common goal: accelerating medical progress. With new thinking and new funding, 21stCC has empowered our nation to work more quickly to address rare diseases and chart new territory in areas such as regenerative medicine and brain science. (And that’s just scratching the surface.) We can’t overstate the credit due the policymakers spearheading 21stCC for their leadership, commitment and determination. Now the same team — Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) — is working...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Monday before Thanksgiving each year, Research!America, along with public health leaders across the nation take time to salute the people who work day-in and day-out to protect us from disease, injury, and other threats to our nation’s health. Members of this critical workforce can be found in every community across the country. They track infectious diseases and administer the vaccines to prevent their spread. They warn us about overuse of antibiotics leading to drug-resistant infections. They educate us about preventing accidental deaths by using infant car seats and about newer but avoidable dangers like vaping. And more. The public health workforce...
Dear Research Advocate, This week was chock-full of federal appropriations activity bearing on the future of research, and ultimately, the future of health. While agency funding for Fiscal Year 2020 is far from resolved, some very positive and not-so-positive steps were taken by Congress. First, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its long-awaited Labor/HHS bill. The exciting headline is that NIH received a vital $3 billion increase, which, if enacted, would bring its total funding to $42.08 billion. The CDC, meanwhile, would receive an increase of only $180 million for a total budget of $7.46 billion. This increase is woefully insufficient to enable CDC’s 24/7 vigilance and...

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor