Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: The last few days have been wholly energizing. Yesterday, at the annual BIO International Convention, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion titled “Science Needs Champions: Creating Collective Action to Advance Biotech Innovations for Humanity.” It wasn’t a “happy talk” session; the participants had no interest in candy-coating the challenges entailed in promoting faster progress while fostering the access and affordability needed to secure the highest return on that innovation. The discussion reinforced that there are no easy answers. Policymakers and the health care ecosystem, very much including the science community, need to work together,...
Dear Research Advocate: As of today, with eight months of the federal 2018 fiscal year elapsed, funding uncertainty persists for several programs. Given the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the spread of measles closer to home, it is counterproductive in the extreme to cut federal support to combat disease outbreaks, yet that is included in the administration’s rescissions package and in a recently proposed Senate version as well. The clock for congressional action on rescissions will run out on June 22. That’s why it is timely to take a moment to (1) contact your congressional delegation urging no rescissions, and (2) reach out to those who may be...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America teamed up with the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the American Society for Virology (ASV), Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Nancy Messonnier on Monday for a briefing focused on vaccines and other facets of pandemic preparedness. The program, which coincided with the launch of a compelling Smithsonian exhibit entitled Outbreak , proved to be particularly resonant as news of Ebola and Nipah outbreaks proliferate. C-SPAN aired the briefing live, and it has drawn significant media interest including reports in NBC News and U.S. News & World Report . Are you like me and hadn’t heard of Nipah until this week? The current outbreak is in India and the...
Dear Research Advocate: Tomorrow is the final day to nominate outstanding leaders in medical, health and other scientific research for a Research!America 2019 Advocacy Award. Learn more about the 2019 awards and submit nominations here . If you have someone in mind and could use backup to help fill in the submission details, let us help! Email Barbara at BLove@researchamerica.org . Last week, the president unveiled his plan to address drug pricing, the American Patients First plan. In addition to the release, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for information (RFI) that established a 60-day window for public comment. Secretary Azar’s written statement on the...
Dear Research Advocate: On Tuesday, President Trump officially sent his rescissions package to Congress, impounding $15.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending authority and requesting that Congress rescind (cancel) it. While uncertainty still reigns, it appears that both Houses will, in fact, go through the process of formally reviewing the rescissions package. Members of Congress have a 45-day window to act; if they don’t, it’s back to business as usual. Here is a quick primer the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget put together on the rescissions process. Among the discretionary and mandatory funding cuts included in the package: $400 million in Ebola funding and $800...
Dear Research Advocate: A special thanks to Grace Stuntz and Nick Bath of the Senate HELP Committee for meeting with Research!America alliance members on Tuesday to discuss the committee’s 2018 research-related priorities, among which opioid response legislation is front and center. The HELP Committee has passed a bipartisan bill and is working on determining likely amendments in anticipation of a floor vote; the House Energy & Commerce Committee hopes to approve a package and secure House passage by Memorial Day. The opioid bills in both Houses reflect the diversity of research disciplines (and associated funding) needed to overcome complex public health threats like this one; for...
Dear Research Advocate, The Research!America 2019 Advocacy Awards nominations are now open! Act now to nominate the stellar advocates you want to recognize for outstanding leadership in medical, public health and other scientific research. The awards will be presented at our dinner on March 13, 2019. My recent letters have mentioned the possibility of the president sending a rescission package to Congress. At this point, it’s more a matter of when, not if he will request billions in “clawbacks” of already appropriated funds. It’s up to Congress to accept or reject the request. Think about it: for several fiscal years now, federal agencies have not had the benefit of fully functioning...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America was proud to be one of more than 100 groups involved in last weekend’s second March for Science, which took place in over 500 locations worldwide. I had the opportunity to speak at the terrific pre-March rally hosted by AAAS and to talk to the Washington Post and several other media outlets -- it won’t surprise you to know that I reinforced the need for science and scientists to be more visible, not just once a year at the March, but on a regular basis. It comes down to this: to influence a conversation, an opinion, a policy or all three -- it is necessary to engage; it’s so important to regularly say and convey to the American public, “I Work for...
Dear Research Advocate: Is a rescission proposal to cut funding from the recently enacted FY18 omnibus appropriations bill possible? Unfortunately, we can’t rule it out, despite indications from some House and Senate Republicans that they would not vote to backpedal from approved spending. But, we have also been hearing that agencies are having to plan for a possible rescission and a recent article in Politico quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) saying “it’s worth a discussion.” I urge you to join that discussion. Backtracking on support for science is not a productive way forward for a nation proud to set the world’s global economic high-water mark. Whether you took action...
First, thank you for helping us thank “Labor-H” appropriations subcommittee leaders and their respective staff members for their crucial role in securing robust FY18 funding to drive faster medical and public health progress. The final letter was 154 signatures strong… a well-deserved show of appreciation! (Almost) unbelievably, however, the FY18 funding saga continues. Even though the FY18 omnibus has been signed into law, news broke this week that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Trump are discussing whether to pursue cuts to the non-defense discretionary funding in it. Under a provision in a 1974 law, the president would formally propose these cuts, or “...

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