weekly letter

Dear Research Advocate, As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, it continues to pose new challenges and questions, including for the research community. A top priority is to better understand Long COVID. A CDC study released this week, “ Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors ,” found approximately 1 in 5 adult COVID-19 survivors “have a health condition that might be related to previous COVID-19 illness.“ The study covered cases from the beginning of the pandemic through November 2021, right before the Omicron wave. In order to better prevent and treat Long COVID, NIH created the RECOVER Initiative, bringing together patients, caregivers, clinicians, community leaders, and...
Dear Research Advocate, In a n important piece in The Guardian , Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, compellingly lays out the case for a renewed sense of urgency in the response to COVID-19. From growing infection rates to waning immunity, Dr. Topol walks readers through the myriad reasons supporting his conclusion: “Rather than giving up, it is time to double down on innovations that have a high likelihood of anticipating the further evolution of the virus and facilitating the end of the pandemic.” W hile the Senate passed a supplemental package of military aid for Ukraine this afternoon, Congress is still debating urgently needed COVID-19...
Dear Research Advocate, As we mourn the million-death milestone in the U.S. for the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s challenging to conceptualize the toll. Both Axios and Politico have published excellent graphics to help put the horrifying number in context. But we’re not done yet. Nor can we ignore the soaring increase in overdose deaths just reported by CDC . And more concerns are in the mix as well (see emphasis on mental health below). You might well ask, as we do: why hasn’t our nation assigned a much higher priority to research and innovation to drive down death rates and help us overcome our current crises, as well as to prepare us to overcome future, inevitable, health threats? On the Hill...
Dear Research Advocate, I n an opinion piece in The Hill yesterday, Research!America Board Member Sudip Parikh, PhD, CEO of AAAS, and Gary K. Michelson, MD, founder and co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies, stress the importance of federal investment in science, noting how federally supported innovations have produced tremendous return on investment and, along with private-sector innovation, have kept America at the forefront of science and technology. A n editorial by The Roanoke Times this week highlights the power of public opinion surveys to provide fuel for positive action in regard to science and technology (and so many other priorities). It cites our recent survey of Virginians’...
Dear Research Advocate, The title of a 1997 report, “ Worlds Apart : How the Distance Between Science and Journalism Threatens America’s Future,” is as relevant today as it was then , and it’s still a good read. Television journalist Jim Hartz, who died last week , was the author. Jim was vexed by the interplay between the media’s lack of interest in science and the research community’s weakness in communicating with the public; and he decried the decline in federal science funding as a share of our economy — realities that challenge us to this day. Research!America worked with Jim to strengthen the links between journalism schools and graduate science schools; this is still...
Dear Research Advocate, We hosted our Annual Meeting of Members this afternoon, pausing to reflect on our work together over the last year and looking ahead. ( Watch the recording .) One meeting highlight was Sjögren’s Foundation CEO Janet Church’s powerful recounting of the challenges she and others with Sjögren’s syndrome face. She made a rock-solid case for patient engagement in research and advocacy. Another highlight was a fireside chat between our Board Vice Chair The Honorable Bart Gordon (U.S. Representative 1985-2011) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), an extraordinary research champion who is retiring at the end of 2022 after 26 years in Congress. Sen. Blunt offered this advice: “Big...
Dear Research Advocate, Today is day 50 since Russia invaded Ukraine, initiating a deplorable, heartbreaking conflict, foremost so for the Ukrainian people. Today we reflect on the repercussions for scientists in both countries as well as the implications of the radical disruption of international research collaboration. In a thought-provoking CNN o pinion piece , American physicist and popular science figure Don Lincoln, PhD, notes that scientists are currently wrestling with decisions about how to engage with their Russian counterparts. He addresses the interconnectedness of scientific enterprise: “academic researchers are, by and large, internationalists. We ask hard questions and aim to...
Dear Research Advocate, Today is World Health Day ; it’s National Public Health Wee k ; and National Minority Health Month as well – calling attention to how we are connected to each other. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the persistence of domestic and global health disparities more apparent; it is time to act! Please us e this editable email to let your representatives in Congress know a rock-solid public health system is important to their constituents! Just In From the Hill : Leaders in both parties in the House and Senate have announced conferees on vital competitiveness legislation ( H.R. 4521; S. 1260 ). Both bills include authorization for significant increases in the National...
Dear Research Advocate, I don’t like to start letters with disappointing news, but it’s best to get to the heart of things. This week the Biden Administration released a budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that would provide grossly insufficient funding for NIH. The proposed 0.6% increase will not p osition our nation to address longstanding, emerging, and yet-unknown health threats, nor bolster our research capacity to ensure global competitiveness. As a reminder, the President’s budget is a statement of Administration priorities that begins the appropriations process. Congress will be deeply involved in its execution, and we are confident our alliance and other NIH advocates can...
Dear Research Advocate, “This is a moment of phenomenal exponential opportunity in biomedical research,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, at last week’s 2022 Advocacy Awards , as he was honored with the John Edward Porter Legacy Award . In a candid conversation with Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, Dr. Collins discussed not just the discoveries on the horizon, but his legacy, the challenges of trust in science exacerbated by a pandemic, and the value of both storytelling and faith, among a host of other topics. We didn’t have time to air the entire Corbett/Collins discussion during the Awards program, but the full 24-minute chat is now available. On the Hill: Congress is making headway on two...

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Sidebar Quote

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana