Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate, Partnering with the National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), Research!America commissioned a survey released this week finding that not only do Americans strongly support organ and tissue donation for research, they believe it is important to encourage more people to donate for both medical and research purposes. Respondents admire those who donate for research as well as for transplant. We may be at an important inflection point with more research made possible because more people will donate. Speaking of surveys, the AAAS Annual Meeting last week was jam-packed with programs about how the public trusts (or mostly trusts) science and appreciates scientific...
Dear Research Advocate, The President released his proposed budget for FY21 earlier this week, kicking off the federal budget season. The President’s budget is a statement of priorities, even if it has no force of law (it’s the Congress that is charged in the Constitution with the ‘power of the purse’), and it rightly gets considerable attention. We think it’s deeply damaging for our nation that a higher priority isn’t being placed on science. Among the counterproductive proposals in the budget is a more than 7% cut to NIH and a double-digit cut to the CDC. Our colleague Jenny was quoted in Bloomberg Government as noting that, as underscored by the coronavirus outbreak, “the most important...
Dear Research Advocate, We were pleased to hear President Trump, in his State of the Union address (SOTU) earlier this week, highlight the importance of progress against health threats. Specifically he referenced mental health challenges, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, the opioid epidemic, childhood cancer, and the current coronavirus outbreak. What we didn’t hear, unfortunately, is that the President will grow federal funding for research. Nor did we hear him speak of plans to assure U.S. leadership in the global R&D arena, giving it the priority merited by its strategic significance. The President’s references during the SOTU to dramatically lowering prescription drug...
Dear Research Advocate, There’s a lot going on right now, so this letter is a bit longer than usual. Stay with me! Let’s start with the Super Bowl. According to the National Retail Federation, this year’s Super Bowl-related spending is on track to be the highest ever: $17.2 billion. That’s enough to fund: NIH-sponsored research on chronic pain for more than 26 years. CDC’s National Center for Injury and Prevention Control for almost 27 years. The entire Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality budget , which plays a profoundly underappreciated role in driving better health and healthcare, for more than 38 years. This is a wealthy country; we don’t need to stop spending on all things Super...
Dear Research Advocate, This week’s headlines about the coronavirus certainly underscore how nimble and prepared our federal research agencies must always be. It’s a compelling reason health research agencies must be well-funded and well-coordinated. The CDC, FDA, and NIH trifecta are on high alert, playing leading roles in global efforts to identify and contain the deadly virus. After Chinese researchers sequenced the virus’ genome, they posted it in GenBank, a database managed by NIH. The CDC has submitted a diagnostic test to the FDA for use in select public health labs around the country. NIH is working with industry on a vaccine they hope to have ready for human trials in a few months...
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...

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America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter