weekly letter

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...
Dear Research Advocate, There was great excitement among advocates this week when rumors began swirling that the Senate “Labor HHS” bill may include a $3B increase for NIH. However, it is unclear whether this funding level will hold and what the bill provides for other key health and research priorities. On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee postponed consideration of two funding bills, including Labor-HHS. Congressional Leaders may seek passage of a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that prevents a government shutdown but freezes the federal government in place while the House and Senate try to finalize FY20 funding. While a CR is better than a government shutdown on October...
Dear Research Advocate, I’m writing early this week to remind those of you who won’t be joining us in person that you can join our National Research Forum tomorrow, Thursday, via livestream. See more information at the end of this letter. Political theater isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I have always enjoyed it, from the Greeks to Hamilton. A remarkable, multiple-award-winning play, “What the Constitution Means to Me” will open soon at the Kennedy Center after a successful run on Broadway, and will soon head to the West Coast. I highly recommend it. Written several years ago by Heidi Schreck, who is also the lead, the work brings out the good news – and the complicated and ever-evolving...
Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Robert Shalett, Research!America’s Director of Communications. Critical to Research!America’s mission is to encourage researchers to talk about their work. It is important for non-scientists to know how research and scientific discovery support all Americans in our daily lives, from professional settings to at home. Our survey data indicates that the public thinks it is important for scientists to discuss their research and its impact. But that is only part of it. Effective advocacy campaigns require focused, sustained effort. This is why your voice is needed right now. As my colleague Ellie mentioned last week, the hard-fought lifting...

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor