Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Ten years ago this month, Dr. Francis Collins became the 16th Director of the National Institutes of Health. The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, of which Research!America is a member, sent a letter to Dr. Collins congratulating and thanking him for his remarkable service, achievements and impact. Our latest web resource highlights the history, progress, and promise of the groundbreaking research NIH conducts and supports. Funding for NIH and our nation’s other science agencies hinges on timely congressional action, and on you. Don’t wait to advocate. Hard-won...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. We are nearly a year out from the 2020 Presidential election and six months away from the Iowa caucuses. While candidates were meeting voters and sampling local treats at the Iowa State Fair, a new survey commissioned by Research!America and Science Debate was released, demonstrating a large majority of Iowans want presidential candidates to talk about science-related issues. Ninety percent believe it is important for the U.S. to be a leader in science and technology research. These survey results reveal a not-to-be missed opportunity for candidates to highlight the value of science and...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Gun violence is a fact of our lives, a relentless public health and safety threat punctuated by two horrific mass murders over the past seven days. The current appropriations process provides an opportunity to address one of the challenges impeding efforts to address this threat: gaps in the research needed to test assumptions and craft evidence-based solutions. Earlier this summer, the House passed $50 million for CDC and NIH-funded gun violence research as part of its Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-H appropriations bill. However, the fate of this funding is uncertain. Use...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Jenny Luray, Research!America’s Senior Advisor. Before traveling home for the August district work period, the House finally passed legislation to raise the budget caps by a vote of 284 - 149. Monday evening brought the welcome announcement that the White House and congressional leadership had reached a bipartisan, bicameral budget deal . The deal lifts the caps, increasing federal spending levels in FY2020 and FY2021, and also raises the debt ceiling. Specifically, the deal increases non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion in FY20 and $2.5 billion in FY21. It prevents a $55 billion cut from occurring and instead bolsters the...
Dear Research Advocate, For the remainder of the summer, we will have a series of guest authors writing Mary’s Weekly Letter. This week’s author is Mike Coburn, Research!America’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Members of Congress are back in town following the Fourth of July holiday, and talks are taking place between Congressional leaders and the Administration to resolve the issue of the budget. Complicating matters is the need for Congress to pass and the Administration to approve an increase in the debt limit. Research!America sent a letter to Congressional leaders and the White House urging swift action. While news reports indicate the Administration is...
Dear Research Advocate, “Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning.” Stephen Hawking This apt quotation serves as the preface to a newly released survey from ScienceCounts and the Alan Alda Foundation for Communicating Science. Their findings, coupled with those reported a few weeks ago by SigmaXi and Research!America, signal recognition that if science is to thrive, scientists themselves must help make the case. Both surveys indicate that scientists are very willing to become engaged -- more so than ever before, in my experience! This week, members of Congress are back home, but not...
Dear Research Advocate, “June Gloom” is what the residents of Los Angeles call this past month’s weather. I was in California last week at the invitation of UC Riverside, which has, in addition to a robust portfolio of federally funded research, an inspiring commitment to the community. For the record, it wasn’t gloomy in Riverside, but then, the LA area is vast, and the overcast is closer to the ocean. There is a decent parallel here to the vastness of the landscape for support of research in Washington: the House passed two “minibus” appropriations packages this month that include significant increases for federal agencies that support research. This week we issued a statement about the...
Dear Research Advocate, Later today, I will participate on a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health to explore the implications of an ambitious new survey commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. The report , which was released yesterday in Washington, explores public attitudes on trust in science, gathered in a survey conducted in 140 countries. Overall, trust in science is linked strongly to education and income and also tracks with trust in governments and the military. The survey takes a deep dive on attitudes toward vaccines, with findings that appear to closely track our U.S. findings from last year. The findings in the report will help us better understand how individuals, both in the U.S. and...
Dear Research Advocate, In a recent weekly letter, I mentioned that advocacy in support of fetal tissue research continued to be critical, despite the apparent lull in an Administration effort to evaluate how to curtail/replace this avenue of research. Apparent is the operative word. Yesterday, the Administration announced that an NIH fetal tissue research-related contract with UCSF will not be renewed; intramural researchers at NIH will no longer be able to procure fetal tissue for research; and another layer of review will be imposed on all those seeking federal funding for fetal tissue research. Read our statement , an Axios article, and, most importantly, contact Eric Anthony ( eanthony...
Dear Research Advocate, At our recent jam-packed Alliance Member Meeting we heard from Grace Graham, Health Policy Director for Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN), and Andi Fristedt, Deputy Health Policy Director for Ranking Member Murray (D-WA). Grace and Andi encouraged input on bipartisan draft legislation that covers a range of healthcare and public health issues, including increasing efficiency and reducing costs, confronting rising maternal mortality rates, and addressing vaccine hesitancy. The authors of the bill are taking comments until June 5. Experts joined us at the University of San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus for a spirited evening of conversation about the use...

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