Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate, Last summer, the administration announced a new policy targeting fetal tissue research. The Washington Post reported this week on the troubling consequences for scientists, scientific progress, and thus patients. Research!America stood with patients and researchers against this retrograde policy change when it was first contemplated and, as part of a coalition led by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISCCR), we continue to push back. (It’s well to remember that fetal tissue research is not only playing a significant role today in research for vaccine development, Down syndrome, MS, and Parkinson’s, but its untapped potential holds significance for...
Dear Research Advocate: As 2020 begins, you no doubt have made personal and professional resolutions. How could you not? With information concerning exercise , diet , and smoking cessation flooding our screens, one feels almost left out if not pledging improvement. (The links above are to evidence-based sources only; not current reality, but hope springs eternal). Here are a few advocacy resolutions to consider: Resolution1: Celebrate your successes! Members of the Research!America Alliance have much to be proud of and grateful for as we look back at 2019. Individually and collectively, day in and day out, we spoke out: we made the case for raising the budget caps, boosting science funding...
Dear Research Advocate, Happy New Year! As our blue marble makes another trip around the sun, a new year and a new decade call out for inspiration. Recent Nobelist and Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Gregg Semenza has written about what he wishes everyone knew about science . The imperatives of basic research, collaboration, perseverance, mentorship — along with the contributions of young scientists — are valued dimensions of science we all can and should communicate widely in the new year. Speaking of young scientists, kudos to pharmacy doctoral student Camille Schrier, who was crowned Miss America 2020 last month. A graduate of Virginia Tech , Ms. Schrier brought her love of...
Dear Research Advocate, Almost three months into the 2020 fiscal year, Congress has finally passed a legislative package to fund the federal government. As of press time, the Senate is expected to finish clearing the package tonight. The White House has indicated that the President will sign, thus avoiding a shutdown at midnight on Friday. There are many positive developments for the medical and science research advocacy community in these bills, including: A significant funding increase of $2.6 billion for NIH, paving the way for faster medical progress and more lifesaving, job-producing R&D. An increase of $636 million for the CDC, including new resources to strengthen the agency’s 24...
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, Happy Thanksgiving Week! Every Monday before Thanksgiving Research!America hosts Public Health Thank You Day (PHYTD), thanking the individuals across the nation who serve the public health. With participation by so many of you, we garnered 27 million impressions on Twitter with nearly 500 unique tweets by public health organizations and leaders. Federal officials taking part included Secretary of HHS Alex Azar; Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams; CDC Director Robert Redfield; NIH Director Francis Collins; NIAID Director Anthony Fauci; Assistant Secretary of Health and Acting FDA Commissioner Brett Giroir; VHA Deputy Undersecretary for Health Carolyn Clancy and many...
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, Earlier this week, we honored our nation’s veterans. Beyond a profound debt of gratitude, veterans deserve our vigilance in addressing such threats as PTSD, TBI, and suicide, the rate of which is tragically growing faster among veterans than in the general population . Thousands of U.S. veterans participate in clinical research aimed at addressing these and other health threats, and the VA itself plays an under-appreciated role in advancing medical and public health progress. See our fact sheet on VA research for examples of the agency’s impact. Among the many devastating consequences of TBI, preliminary research focused on veterans suggests that rates of migraine...
Dear Research Advocate, With new rumors surfacing daily, it’s difficult to gauge the odds of Congress and the Trump Administration completing FY20 appropriations this calendar year. We are now anticipating another short-term CR that will flat-fund government into December, buying a bit more time for final negotiations. If those negotiations fail, the options become yet another CR or a government shutdown. None of these scenarios serves the public interest. Imagine if federal agencies couldn’t adjust spending to jettison what is not working and invest in what is. Imagine if there were resources to seed the kind of medical and public health progress that saves lives, yet those resources lie...

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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