weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, Later today, I will participate on a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health to explore the implications of an ambitious new survey commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. The report , which was released yesterday in Washington, explores public attitudes on trust in science, gathered in a survey conducted in 140 countries. Overall, trust in science is linked strongly to education and income and also tracks with trust in governments and the military. The survey takes a deep dive on attitudes toward vaccines, with findings that appear to closely track our U.S. findings from last year. The findings in the report will help us better understand how individuals, both in the U.S. and...
Dear Research Advocate, The House is working to reach its goal of passing all twelve FY20 appropriations bills by the end of June, debating a “minibus” package of four of those bills this week, including the Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill that includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Next week, a second “minibus” package of appropriations bills will be on the House Floor, including funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (As time goes on without a budget cap resolution, it remains critical to do your part to assure a...
Dear Research Advocate, In a recent weekly letter, I mentioned that advocacy in support of fetal tissue research continued to be critical, despite the apparent lull in an Administration effort to evaluate how to curtail/replace this avenue of research. Apparent is the operative word. Yesterday, the Administration announced that an NIH fetal tissue research-related contract with UCSF will not be renewed; intramural researchers at NIH will no longer be able to procure fetal tissue for research; and another layer of review will be imposed on all those seeking federal funding for fetal tissue research. Read our statement , an Axios article, and, most importantly, contact Eric Anthony ( eanthony...
Dear Research Advocate, At our recent jam-packed Alliance Member Meeting we heard from Grace Graham, Health Policy Director for Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN), and Andi Fristedt, Deputy Health Policy Director for Ranking Member Murray (D-WA). Grace and Andi encouraged input on bipartisan draft legislation that covers a range of healthcare and public health issues, including increasing efficiency and reducing costs, confronting rising maternal mortality rates, and addressing vaccine hesitancy. The authors of the bill are taking comments until June 5. Experts joined us at the University of San Francisco’s Mission Bay Campus for a spirited evening of conversation about the use...
Dear Research Advocate, Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has authored a timely op-ed in USA Today arguing that China’s determination to secure global economic leadership is not only reflected in its trade practices, but also in its robust investments in R&D. Meanwhile, our nation shows disturbing signs of allowing R&D to falter, ceding global economic competitiveness in the process. Surveys commissioned by Research!America tell us that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans say they have confidence that the U.S. will maintain our global standing in science and innovation. But as McPherson notes, we still have advantages and still have...
Dear Research Advocate, Today, the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill, which they will consider tomorrow. The good news is that the bill contains the largest increase in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in several years; the bad news is we can’t get there from here unless we #RaisetheCaps. On that subject, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell have met to discuss the importance of a caps deal; according to news reports , the President was receptive. It is critical for stakeholders to reinforce the need for a deal now, while both the President and Congress are focused on it. If...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. While there is great news in the bill, it must be considered in the grim context of the across the board cuts that will happen if Congress does not act to raise the budget caps. Our statement addresses both the good and bad news. The bill, which Congressional leadership is expected to bring to the House floor in June, includes more than $8.25 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over $41 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and $358 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and...
Dear Research Advocate, The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee markup of Fiscal Year 2020 spending priorities on Tuesday featured lots of good news. You can watch the subcommittee’s deliberations here and find draft text of the bill here . The next stop is consideration by the full Appropriations Committee on May 8, 2019. Some highlights: $41.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $2 billion above last year; $8.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $921 million above the 2019 enacted level, including new funding for efforts to support modernization of public health data systems (for example, to track and prevent the spread of...
Dear Research Advocate, I am very pleased to announce that Research!America’s 2020 Advocacy Awards nominations are now open! Act now to nominate those you want to recognize for outstanding advocacy leadership on behalf of scientific, medical, or public health research. The awards will be presented at our dinner next March. When members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. next week, the House will begin considering Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, with the Labor-HHS Subcommittee scheduled to mark up their bill on April 30. Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released a new report explaining why our nation needs a well-resourced public health system (which pivots on a well-...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress is officially out of session this week, but because negotiations to determine whether budget caps are raised are continuing, advocacy must continue as well. More than fifty organizations signed on to an AAAS-led letter to Congressional leaders asking them to prioritize federal research investments, raise the budget caps, and provide sustainable and robust investments for scientific research in Fiscal Year 2020. Now it’s time for more individual hands on this deck. Sign the Raise the Caps petition here . One of the concerns Members of Congress are likely hearing about back home is a disease once declared eliminated -- measles. More than 500 cases have been...

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Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor