weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, On the Monday before Thanksgiving each year, Research!America, along with public health leaders across the nation take time to salute the people who work day-in and day-out to protect us from disease, injury, and other threats to our nation’s health. Members of this critical workforce can be found in every community across the country. They track infectious diseases and administer the vaccines to prevent their spread. They warn us about overuse of antibiotics leading to drug-resistant infections. They educate us about preventing accidental deaths by using infant car seats and about newer but avoidable dangers like vaping. And more. The public health workforce...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier this week, we honored our nation’s veterans. Beyond a profound debt of gratitude, veterans deserve our vigilance in addressing such threats as PTSD, TBI, and suicide, the rate of which is tragically growing faster among veterans than in the general population . Thousands of U.S. veterans participate in clinical research aimed at addressing these and other health threats, and the VA itself plays an under-appreciated role in advancing medical and public health progress. See our fact sheet on VA research for examples of the agency’s impact. Among the many devastating consequences of TBI, preliminary research focused on veterans suggests that rates of migraine...
Dear Research Advocate, With new rumors surfacing daily, it’s difficult to gauge the odds of Congress and the Trump Administration completing FY20 appropriations this calendar year. We are now anticipating another short-term CR that will flat-fund government into December, buying a bit more time for final negotiations. If those negotiations fail, the options become yet another CR or a government shutdown. None of these scenarios serves the public interest. Imagine if federal agencies couldn’t adjust spending to jettison what is not working and invest in what is. Imagine if there were resources to seed the kind of medical and public health progress that saves lives, yet those resources lie...
Dear Research Advocate, It’s Halloween! I was astonished to learn that Americans will spend some $9 billion on candy, costumes and decorations this year. $9 billion would fund: NIH’s National Institute on Dental and Craniofacial Research for more than 27 years; CDC’s Vaccines for Children program for almost two and a half years; FDA’s Foods program for eight and a half years; or NSF’s entire budget for more than one year. These comparisons (and you can imagine many more like them) aren’t meant to disparage a fun holiday, but rather to underscore that investing in life-saving medical and public health research is affordable for this wealthy nation of ours — in fact, it’s a relatively small...
Dear Research Advocate, Today, we announced several of the extraordinary leaders in medical and health research advocacy who will be honored during our 2020 Advocacy Awards Dinner. Dr. Bruce Alberts, former president of the National Academy of Sciences (among a plethora of distinctions), will receive this year’s John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie. Bruce is just one of the remarkable individuals who will be recognized, as highlighted in today’s release . We will soon announce the recipients of the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion and the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy . I hope you will join us on March 11, 2020, to...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress has five weeks to reach an agreement on full-year FY20 funding levels before the current stop-gap continuing resolution (CR) expires on November 21, 2019. House spending leaders sent their Senate counterparts new totals for the 12 annual appropriations bills, but word is, negotiations on those topline amounts are far from over and concerns are mounting that Congress could resort to another short-term CR. CRs are the enemy of medical and public health progress: consider the recent NIH-supported finding that the artificial pancreas system controls blood glucose levels better than current technology in patients with Type 1 diabetes or promising results in...
Dear Research Advocate, The distinguished 2019 Nobel Laureates announced this week made fundamental discoveries that have transformed the future for Americans and populations across the globe. Taxpayers, via appropriations to NIH and NSF, have long provided support to several of these and many past Nobelists, thereby ensuring that discovery builds on discovery and drives development and delivery of ever-increasing societal benefits over time. (See our statements here and here ) But what are we doing to nurture future Nobel laureates? Robust NIH and NSF support for researchers across the nation hinges on the ability of the House and Senate to negotiate final FY20 appropriations before the...
Dear Research Advocate, As part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s launch of Civics Forward , CEO Thomas Donahue challenged the business community to play a leading role in civic education, for no less a reason than assuring the future of our nation. This challenge is reminiscent of his call to the science community last February at the AAAS meeting to do more with the business community, in order to achieve shared aspirations. As he said at the time, “without science there is no innovation, and without innovation, there is no industry,” going on to emphasize the enduring value the business community accords to science. There is no question that heightened attention to civic education and...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier today, the Senate passed legislation, known as a Continuing Resolution or “CR,” extending government funding to midnight November 21, 2019. The President is expected to sign the legislation before the end of Fiscal Year 2019, September 30. That means Congress has seven-plus additional weeks to reach an agreement. The problem is that CRs stall progress, and one CR is more than enough! We are launching a campaign to urge Congress to reach a bipartisan agreement by or before November 21st that will ensure robust scientific, health, and medical research funding for all of Fiscal Year 2020. Visit our action page and send an email and/or Tweet to make the case for...
Dear Research Advocate, This week was chock-full of federal appropriations activity bearing on the future of research, and ultimately, the future of health. While agency funding for Fiscal Year 2020 is far from resolved, some very positive and not-so-positive steps were taken by Congress. First, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its long-awaited Labor/HHS bill. The exciting headline is that NIH received a vital $3 billion increase, which, if enacted, would bring its total funding to $42.08 billion. The CDC, meanwhile, would receive an increase of only $180 million for a total budget of $7.46 billion. This increase is woefully insufficient to enable CDC’s 24/7 vigilance and...

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America’s economic destiny lies in innovation, technology, science and research.
The Honorable John E. Porter