Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: Advocacy Works

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

President Biden will release his FY22 budget tomorrow. We anticipate that it will be a great day for science, increasing public attention to the importance of science in meeting national goals. As you may remember, the President requested important increases for NIH, CDC, and NSF in his previously-released “skinny” budget and we expect those will remain in the full budget. FDA and AHRQ were not included in the earlier budget; we have been advocating for these important agencies to also receive solid increases. 

Research!America will be issuing a statement following the release of the full budget. Watch for that and know that we will keep you informed. Last week, we shared our public witness testimony in support of funding increases for NIH, CDC, and AHRQ. You can see our FDA testimony here.  

The President’s budget states priorities; it is the Congress that will determine (“appropriate”) the budget, and Congress is already deep into that process. As they evaluate the FY22 funding levels the President has proposed for NIH, FDA, CDC, NSF, and AHRQ, it’s timely to reach out to your members of Congress and share this new infographic highlighting the critical role each agency plays in advancing health and the public good.

ARPA-H: NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins testified to the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee on the Administration’s FY22 budget request. Dr. Collins’ testimony stated that “ARPA-H represents the kind of transformative idea for biomedical research that only comes along once in a long while.” Our colleague Ellie Dehoney was quoted in Lancet addressing considerations raised by ARPA-H, and two terrific patient group leaders, Ellen Signal and George Vradenburg, penned an op-ed for STAT, with suggestions for ensuring its success. 

Research!America will host a roundtable discussion for alliance members to discuss the latest information and share stakeholder thinking about the ARPA-H proposal; watch for the date. We’re also going to take a look at the international perspectives on the value of high-risk high-reward models, featured in this recent OECD report

On the Hill: We expect the Senate to vote soon on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which includes many aspects of the bill formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act. Interest in the bill, which authorizes new programs and areas of focus for the NSF and the Department of Energy, remains high on both sides of the aisle. We will keep you posted. 

Diversity in Clinical Trials: Research!America recently convened a discussion across the research ecosystem, including representatives from the FDA and NIH, on advancing diversity in clinical trials. The roundtable provided an opportunity to foster collaboration across public and private sectors, share concerns and insights, and surface bold ideas to tangibly increase diversity and inclusiveness in clinical trials. Here are a few recent collaborations in this space from NMA, NMQF, and NASEM, and advance notice of two public meetings sponsored by PhRMA and BIO.

Alliance Member Meeting Recap: Dr. Lainie Rutkow, the project lead for the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center (CRC), one of our 2021 Advocacy Awards honorees (view the Awards here and the CRC segment here) joined us for an inside look into how the Center continuously updates its data. She also discussed how she and her colleagues communicate in an accessible and digestible way. Fun fact: Johns Hopkins University was a Top 10 Brand in 2021, according to the Prophet Brand Relevance Index, which attributed this high ranking to the extraordinary innovation of the CRC. Watch the conversation here.

Upcoming Alliance Member Meeting: Next week, on Tuesday, June 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET, we invite alliance members to join us to talk with Dr. Joshua Gordon, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Gordon will discuss the critical intersection between the pandemic and mental health, and progress against other mental health threats. Register here.

Have a great holiday weekend!  Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected

Mary Woolley

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter