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Dear Research Advocate: Votes and other Congressional activities were suspended this week to mourn the passing of our nation’s 41st President, George H.W. Bush. To prevent a government shutdown and provide more time to resolve disagreement around border wall funding, Congress agreed to another continuing resolution (CR) – now awaiting the President’s signature – to extend flat-funding for all remaining federal departments and agencies, including FDA and NSF, until December 21. This end-of-year CR scenario is all too familiar to advocates, and we must all stay the course to secure passage this year. Yesterday, Research!America and the Alliance for Aging Research sent a joint letter to...
Dear Research Advocate: At our post-election briefing this morning at AAAS in Washington, DC, the discussion focused on opportunities for advocacy given the composition and characteristics of the new Congress, and the importance of building new champions from among the nearly 100 new members of Congress. Of note — at last count, there are seven science-trained new members, a very welcome development! There is no doubt that a divided Congress can cause gridlock, but inaction is not a foregone conclusion, as was emphasized by our Chair, the Hon. Michael N. Castle. There are important, science-relevant issues, such as infrastructure, STEM education, and the opioid crisis, that both parties...
Dear Research Advocate: Earlier today, Rob Smith and Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners, and Pete Kirkham of Red Maple Consulting joined Research!America alliance members to discuss the near and mid-term outlook for congressional action on drug pricing, the state of play on appropriations, and other research-relevant issues. Although our speakers noted that much can change in the final week before the election, there were several key takeaways. First, it’s safe to say that the uncertainties surrounding the election and the ongoing interest (both in Congress and the White House) in addressing rising healthcare costs means that drug pricing and issues related to the supply chain more...
Research into the development of Ebola vaccines, efforts to address opioid use among women, infectious diseases and a record number of novel drug approvals are among the many examples of federal health agencies making tremendous strides in 2017 to address complex and deadly health threats. The agencies highlighted their achievements in year-end articles, videos and reports on their websites. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) described progress with two Ebola vaccines and a bionic pancreas to better treat type 1 diabetes in addition to other clinical advances. The NIH also supported the work of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and one recipient of the Nobel...
Dear Research Advocate: In considering resolutions for the coming year, I am reminded that resolution connotes action . I am optimistic that 2018 will be a year of action, a year in which research and innovation amp up our economy, even as they lead to better health and quality of life. Congress will respond to advocates if we all take action and amp up our efforts — it’s an election year, after all! Love it or loathe it, tax reform has set the stage for additional action to drive the economy. In addition to passing a bipartisan budget deal that lifts spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary funding, and repealing or suspending the medical device tax, Congress and the...
Growing up in a rural community in upstate New York, I was not exposed to academic research at a young age. I knew I wanted to learn about diseases and the development of new treatments, even if I didn’t quite know exactly what that looked like at the time. A scholarship supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) made it possible for me to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York where I studied biology and chemistry. The Ronald E. McNair Scholarship, a STEM program that provides under-represented populations with access to research, provided funding for my studies at the University of Rochester where I worked in the Gorbunova laboratory studying the obscure naked mole rats...
Dear Research Advocate, House Republican Leadership released an ACA replacement bill this week (section summaries available from the Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means committees). The bill has been creating waves, concerning many in the public health and health care fields. The cost and coverage impact have yet to be estimated, but we do know that the bill repeals the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which accounts for approximately 12% of CDC’s budget. House Labor-H Chairman Cole (R-OK) discussed CDC’s crucial role in a recent STAT article. Use this editable message to make the case for CDC and PPHF. Trust for America’s Health is a terrific resource for more background...
Dear Research Advocate: If you’ve read Ron Chernow’s “Hamilton,” you know that the partisan stand-off we are witnessing in the House, and more broadly across the nation, is not new. Chernow reminds us that political parties -- not originally foreseen by the Founding Fathers -- grew out of intense and often ugly disagreements between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson during the second administration of George Washington. That insight doesn’t make this week’s turn of events less dramatic, but it does offer perspective. In the midst of the Democratic sit-in on preventing gun violence, the House adjourned earlier than expected and won’t resume business until July 5. Just before adjourning...
The April 2016 issue of The Research Advocate is now online . Highlights from this month include : A summary of Research!America's 27th Annual Meeting of Members and Advocacy Awards Dinner, including a special insert on the award honorees. Federal policy update, including information on the appropriations process for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Member spotlight featuring the University of North Texas Health Science Center . Learn more about the Parkinson's Disease Foundation You Can Help Us #EndParkinsons campaign, which launched in April for Parkinson's Awareness Month. Pfizer has...
Dear Research Advocate: We celebrated steadfast advocates for research to improve health at last week’s Advocacy Awards Dinner; pictures are now available. Champions like Whitehead awardees Chairmen Blunt and Cole keep us energized in the fight for medical research, even in the face of its virtual absence on the presidential campaign trail. Indeed, Research!America Chairman, Hon. John Porter, urged everyone present to take it upon themselves, as advocates, to make it clear how vital this election is to the future of science, research, and health. Since this is the mission of Campaign for Cures and related Research!America election-year activities, we can help you in your advocacy! Our...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor