Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a slow progression of blindness that affects 10 million Americans. It starts with slightly fuzzy vision, and continually worsens until the center of vision is so blurred the patient can no longer recognize faces, read, drive, or perform many other daily activities. At a recent briefing held by Research!America alliance member the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR), ­patient activist Sydney Ruth Torrey of the American Macular Degeneration Foundation described the progression of AMD as “first annoying, then maddening, and finally devastating.” She expressed the heartbreak of Americans with AMD who find one day that their vision has...
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...
Civic engagement is a critical skill set for scientists. It creates an opportunity to take part in our democracy at any career stage while contributing a much-needed scientific perspective to important issues facing our communities and nation. Scientific research is heavily dependent on public funding with almost 50% of support for basic research coming from the federal government. But did you know STEM students are the student population with the lowest voter turnout? Knowing how to dialogue with policymakers and the public is vital to strengthening research as a national priority. Early career scientists may not know where to begin, but there are a host of ways to get involved...
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...
National Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2019. 800,000 individuals die worldwide due to suicide every year, and suicide costs Americans an estimated $50.8 billion in lifetime medical and work-loss cuts annually. The total economic burden from suicide and self-inflicted injuries was estimated to be over $70 billion annually. ( Fact Sheet ) Research!America explored the issue of suicide prevention in its January 2019 national public opinion survey. A strong majority (68%) agreed that it was "very important" or "somewhat important" for the U.S. to invest public dollars in the prevention of suicide. This is consistent with our survey data from 2015, although it is down from 2006, when...
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...

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