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Each July, the vision community joins to recognize Dry Eye Awareness Month. Dry eye disease (DED), along with ocular pain and ocular inflammation, are among conditions experienced in Ocular Surface Disease (OSD), which affects structures on the front of the eye, including the clear cornea through which we see. As clinicians and researchers more fully understand the breadth of OSD, they have increasingly recognized the role that lifestyle and the environment play in its development, especially dry eye. DED, which has been identified as a global problem affecting more than 30 million people in the United States alone, occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly or when the tears are...
As we celebrate Pride Month, it is important to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals who are making a difference for science and society. The courage to be visible is vital; it gives people role models, encourages freedom of expression, and opens a dialogue of inclusion across cultures. A testament to the power of visability and advocating for others, neuroscientist Ben Barres, MD, PhD, was an openly transgender scientist and ardent advocate for early-career scientists and for equal opportunity for gender and sexual minorities in the sciences. Credited with the revolutionary discovery of the crucial roles played by glial cells (supportive cells in...
Dear Research Advocate, President Biden will release his FY22 budget tomorrow. We anticipate that it will be a great day for science, increasing public attention to the importance of science in meeting national goals. As you may remember, the President requested important increases for NIH, CDC, and NSF in his previously-released “skinny” budget and we expect those will remain in the full budget. FDA and AHRQ were not included in the earlier budget; we have been advocating for these important agencies to also receive solid increases. Research!America will be issuing a statement following the release of the full budget. Watch for that and know that we will keep you informed. Last week, we...
Dear Research Advocate, Women in Science and Technology : March is Women’s History Month. The impact of COVID-19 on the careers of women in STEMM is the focus of a report to be released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) on March 9, 2021. How did the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt the careers of women in academic STEMM during 2020 and how might these disruptions—both positive and negative—shape future progress for women in academic STEMM? The public is invited to a discussion with NASEM committee members Eve J. Higginbotham, University of Pennsylvania; Reshma Jagsi, University of Michigan; and Erick C. Jones, University of Texas at Arlington. Register here ...
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...
This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled, “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. Panelists reported mounting evidence that COVID-19 may affect women and men differently. Although men and women are infected at the same rate, more men than women are dying from this virus. Why is this...
This is the second in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. In the second presentation of the panel, Dr. Neel Shah described the effects COVID-19 has had on pregnant people and their health care. It is unclear if pregnant people are more likely to be severely infected...
This is the third in a series of blog posts exploring COVID-19 from a women’s health perspective. On October 20, 2020, the Office for Women’s Health Research (ORWH) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) held its 51st Meeting of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health. The panel titled “COVID-19 and the Health of Women” featured insightful presentations on the pandemic’s distinctive impact on women's health. This blog series will explore each of the three sessions. In the final presentation of the panel on COVID-19 and the health of women, Dr. Monica Webb Hooper stressed that to achieve health equity, it is important to understand the health of underserved women. This...
The challenges of life during the COVID-19 pandemic are greatly magnified for those with chronic illnesses, who may have less access to needed care and support. This is especially true when those health conditions make them more susceptible to contracting or becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. People with substance use disorders or who are struggling to recover fall squarely in this category and research is urgently needed on the intersections of COVID-19 and substance use and related health issues. Such research could not only benefit some of the most vulnerable groups, but valuably inform efforts to address the pandemic more generally. People with substance use disorders are potentially...
Dear Research Advocate, Phase 3 enrollment is now underway for a number of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. That science has moved so quickly from first identification of the virus to Phase 3 trials, speaks to remarkable public-private sector collaboration. It also speaks to the absolute necessity of taxpayer investment in basic, discovery science over many years; a lesson we must not ignore as we plan responses to the pandemics that will surely follow. To help move the massive trial enrollment process along, NIH has launched the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN), merging networks already funded by NIAID for HIV and other infectious disease trials. Each of the Phase 3 clinical...

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter