weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, The remainder of 2021 will test whether our nation heeds a warning that speakers at our National Health Research Forum last week stressed again and again: the U.S. can no longer conduct business as usual as existential threats mount. Instead, we need to gather the courage to see clearly, act boldly, and embrace change. Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer and president, Worldwide Research, Development, and Medical, Pfizer Inc, and a Research!America board member, offered particularly compelling comments in this regard at our Forum: “I think we need to invest more in understanding: what does it take to create an innovation culture for the country? What...
Dear Research Advocate, Wow! If you were among the many who joined us yesterday for the first day of Research!America’s 2021 National Health Research Forum , we’re confident you found the conversations as relevant and refreshing as we did. Our theme this year is Straight Talk: Fighting Health Threats Faster. Together, we are challenging the status quo, exploring strategies for out-innovating health threats, and learning from new voices. Below is just a sample of the many comments that stood out for me from Day One: “Fighting disease is not a red issue or a blue issue. It is a human issue.” – First Lady Jill Biden, EdD What role should the U.S. play globally in the fight against AMR? “One...
Dear Research Advocate, Our National Health Research Forum kicks off on Monday, September 13, at 10:30 a.m. ET. We’re excited to announce that the event will open with remarks from First Lady Jill Biden, setting the tone for an extraordinary three days! There is no fee — everyone is welcome and there will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to join in the discussions. Register now , read through our amazing agenda , and log in starting tomorrow to check out the virtual environment! On the Hill: With the federal fiscal year ending on 9/30, September is always a very busy month in Washington. House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats have released a summary of the legislative package...
Dear Research Advocate, The White House sent its annual memo on research and development priorities to federal agencies this week. The memo, co-authored this year by OMB Acting Director Shalanda Young and OSTP Director Eric Lander, provides guidance to agency leaders as they prepare FY23 budget requests. In it, the authors highlight the unprecedented challenges and opportunities we face, showing the continued emphasis by the Biden Administration on building U.S. S&T capacity, including via greater cross-agency collaboration. These priorities resonate strongly with the goals of the S&T Action Plan . (Endorsements of the Action Plan are still open .) Strengthening U.S. S&T...
Dear Research Advocate, Clarity is all-too elusive right now. On so many decisions, it can feel like we’re staring through soot-covered glass. Clarity — unvarnished truths and concrete solutions — is the thread that ties together every feature of our 2021 National Health Research Forum. See more on the Forum below. A Welcome Piece of Clarity : The FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week for ages 16 and up. The fast-paced, but thorough approval process is testament to the speed at which research and policy can move in concert when urgency brings sufficient resources to bear. We’re grateful the FDA is applying the same level of diligence to ensuring vaccines will be safe...
Dear Research Advocate, As the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, taking more lives and impacting us all, the urgency of conveying accurate, persuasive information, as well as effectively combating mis- and dis-information, has reached ‘code red’ levels. Complicating the situation further is that scientific and policy decision-making is playing out in real time, and not always in a way that engenders confidence among the public. (The most recent case in point is conflicting views on booster shots.) The science and public health community is learning a new communications skill set, albeit more trial-and-error based than we’d all like. Improving our public engagement and communication skills...
Dear Research Advocate, This week, amidst the Delta-driven surge in the COVID-19 pandemic, the world watched the closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. One of the most significant health stories to come out of the Olympics — at least for audiences watching in the U.S. — was how the athletes advanced the public discourse on mental health. 2016 Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez played a prominent role in that important conversation, and we are thrilled to announce that she will speak on mental health awareness at our upcoming 2021 National Health Research Forum ! Also joining us are key federal officials, including Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI), White House...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: The House has begun its August recess while the Senate remains in session. After attempting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to take up a budget resolution containing the topline number the Senate will use to allocate FY22 appropriations. No text has been released yet, but adopting a budget resolution will allow Senate appropriators to advance their FY22 spending bills with concrete numbers. We’ll continue to keep you informed. ARPA-H: Research!America provided comments during an ARPA-H listening session with NIH and OSTP leaders yesterday. As Ellie Dehoney, our VP of Policy and Advocacy, stated...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: The odds are increasing that members of the Senate will come together again, as they did with several COVID-19 supplemental spending packages, to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. It is anticipated the House will follow suit. This is meaningful beyond the clear need to address gaps and frailties in our nation’s infrastructure; it reinforces a too rarely demonstrated truth: if members of Congress are convinced a need is compelling enough, they find a path forward. COVID-19 has taken more than 4.19 million lives worldwide. According to the WHO, each year, more than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 die from a non-communicable disease...
Dear Research Advocate, For the first time since 1975, the Gallup poll has asked respondents about their confidence in science as an institution. Although confidence in science is down from 70% to 64% since 1975, science remains one of our country’s most trusted institutions, behind only small businesses and the military. (Gallup’s findings are in line with results from our own commissioned survey earlier this year.) A breakdown by political affiliation showed a large gap between parties. It’s worth noting that in 1975, Republicans, Democrats and independents all showed similarly strong confidence (~70%) in science. Working towards confidence in science as part of our national identity is...

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Sidebar Quote

The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient