weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, This Thanksgiving will be challenging – there is no way around it – but giving thanks right now is especially appropriate. Medical and public health personnel, academic and industry researchers, and a plethora of other COVID-19 responders have put the interests of the public ahead of their own, working in high-risk settings, 24-7, to navigate an end to this brutal pandemic. And end it, we will. To help speed the day, elected officials must do their part. Unfinished Business: Unfortunately, we cannot yet thank federal policymakers for meeting two COVID-19-related imperatives: completing the FY21 appropriations process to unstick government functions basic to the...
Dear Research Advocate, Appreciation : As we approach Thanksgiving, please consider two opportunities to recognize public health heroes. #PHTYD : Taking a moment to participate in Public Health Thank You Day is a quick way to express thanks to members of the public health workforce. Always held on the Monday before Thanksgiving, PHTYD carries special meaning this year as the public health community faces down a dramatic escalation in the pandemic. Visit and share the PHTYD link for tools you can use to make Monday a true day of appreciation for public health heroes. Call for Nominations : Speaking of heroes, nominations are open for four Excellence in Achievement in Public Health awards, a...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier this week, we held our Post-Election Briefing with a terrific panel featuring national public health leader Dr. Georges Benjamin, award-winning journalist Frank Sesno, and Capitol Hill veterans Cybele Bjorklund and Pete Kirkham. Through the lens of science and public health, we discussed the election results, the lame duck Congress, the upcoming 117th Congress, and a future Biden Administration. What surprised the panelists the most about the election: the high levels of voter participation despite the pandemic. Another area of consensus: the election results provide a crucial opportunity to elevate science and to rebuild our public health infrastructure ,...
Dear Research Advocate, The election is yet another way 2020 is testing us like no other year. Let’s pull through by pulling together and putting science to work as never before. The key question for us all, advocates of faster scientific, medical, and public health progress: What can we do today to advance that progress? Gather evidence and speak out . If R&D stakeholders want the next emergency package to include supplemental funding for stalled or reprogrammed research, we need to act now. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he would like to move a supplemental by the end of the year. Not only is funding needed for federal grants, but COVID has decimated grant...
Dear Research Advocate, COVID-19 : With the alarming escalation in infections and hospitals running out of beds due to the pandemic, it’s timely to stress to policymakers (and those who wish to be) that the American people want action now to improve our public health system. Today we published additional results from our recently-commissioned survey on behalf of a working group formed to address our nation’s commitment to science showing that strong majorities across the political spectrum see improving our public health system as an urgent priority . Science Strong : Please take a moment before November 3 to make the worst week of the pandemic the week every candidate connects the dots...
Dear Research Advocate, Deal or No Deal? : House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to talk in hopes of clinching a bipartisan agreement on an emergency supplemental. Earlier this week, Research!America sent a letter urging them not to abandon their efforts and to include, in any agreement reached, at least $26 billion to supplement pandemic-eroded research funding. We also tweeted them (you can too!). You can also email your Members of Congress, urging them to voice support for this funding. Advocacy can’t stop now! Immigration Actions Impacting R&D : The Trump Administration, through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has issued proposed...
Dear Research Advocate, Physician and author Dr. Alison Escalante wrote in Forbes this week: “According to [a survey commissioned by Research!America], a strong majority of Americans agree that ‘the Covid-19 pandemic is a disruptive event and requires urgent refocusing of America’s commitment to science.’” Results from the survey were also featured in The Aspen Institute’s Science & Society publication released today. See the survey here . You can use the survey data to act on behalf of science right now! Visit www.VoteScienceStrong.com to engage with candidates on the strategic significance of R&D and the multi-faceted benefits of faster medical and public health progress. Use #...
Dear Research Advocate, This week we congratulate the winners of the Nobel prizes, celebrating achievements and solving problems that benefit us all. In our statement , we underscore the importance of federal taxpayer funding for basic research, making the extraordinary work of the Laureates possible. I’ve long admired the way the Nobel Foundation captures the essence of the Laureates’ contributions, exemplifying as they do the very best in persuasive writing . (For those like me who are aficionados of the power of the written word, this linked blog post provides keen insights on the rhetorical reasons why the Nobel Foundation is – and all of us can become – a model of writing that wins...
Dear Research Advocate, This morning, we sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging them to reach a deal on an emergency spending package that includes $26B for research relief. As my colleague Ellie Dehoney said in Bloomberg, medical progress has “easily been set back a year.” Unfortunately, as of this writing, the situation looks grave. Speaker Pelosi had delayed a vote on a slimmed-down version of the HEROES Act referred to as “HEROES 2.0” in the hopes of a bipartisan emergency spending agreement. Now an agreement appears unlikely. Stabilizing our nation’s research ecosystem is essential to driving medical progress and innovation...
Dear Research Advocate, How to Fight for the Future : Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived her life fearlessly. She refused to let the present dictate the future. Her dogged persistence in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and her sense of civic responsibility transcended ideology. Regardless of the chain of events her death triggered, our nation would be well served by channeling Justice Ginsburg’s fierce commitment to societal progress as we confront a confluence of daunting national and global challenges. So what can research advocates do? The following thoughts are suggestive, not exhaustive! Make the Case : The American Academy of Arts and Sciences will release a report next week, “...

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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