Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: Building Out Progress

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

On the Hill: The House has begun its August recess while the Senate remains in session. After attempting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to take up a budget resolution containing the topline number the Senate will use to allocate FY22 appropriations. No text has been released yet, but adopting a budget resolution will allow Senate appropriators to advance their FY22 spending bills with concrete numbers. We’ll continue to keep you informed.

ARPA-H: Research!America provided comments during an ARPA-H listening session with NIH and OSTP leaders yesterday. As Ellie Dehoney, our VP of Policy and Advocacy, stated, “we fully support the Administration and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in their efforts to stand up ARPA-H.” Sharing input from our own alliance member listening sessions, she stressed the importance of safeguards to prevent ARPA-H funding from supplanting NIH, BARDA, or private sector investment, emphasizing that “ARPA-H should build out – not crowd out – progress.” 

The Administration’s goal is to work with Congress to pass legislation creating ARPA-H by the end of the year. There are several additional upcoming listening sessions about ARPA-H. Can’t attend? You can email NIH your comments

In case you missed it: NIH, AHRQ, and HRSA have extended Responsible Conduct of Research flexibilities that were instituted when the COVID-19 outbreak started. NIH also offers further guidance in an FAQ on COVID-19 flexibilities.

Immunization Awareness: The pandemic disrupted routine vaccinations in both children and adults. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the CDC theme is “Get “Back on Track With Routine Vaccines,” highlighting the importance of vaccinations for people of all ages. Alliance member National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has created an array of supporting resources.

Please share our vaccines fact sheet to raise awareness about the significance of vaccines and combat misinformation. It is imperative we not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to result in lost ground against dozens of other diseases.

By all accounts, the FDA is working feverishly towards full approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine with a target date near Labor Day. Here’s an in-depth look at how emergency use authorization differs from full approval. (Take a look at our COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker Infographic for the status of vaccines in the pipeline.)

Black in X Q&A: The inaugural BlackInX Conference, which wrapped up last month, enabled hundreds of Black scientists to discuss timely topics such as STEM education and vaccine hesitancy. Read our conversation with one of the conference organizers, Research!America intern Sammy Mensah. Coming up: Black Chemists Week, August 8-14.

Op-Ed Competition: Are you an early career researcher passionate about science communication? Research!America is accepting submissions for our Op-Ed Competition; prizes will be awarded. Please submit your opinion piece on a health- or science-related topic of your choosing by Monday, August 16. Op-eds should be no more than 750 words and submitted as a PDF.

Science Fellowships: If you are an early career scientist (or know someone who is), do not miss these exciting opportunities: 

  • The Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program is a full-time, 12-week program which provides hands-on training at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. Applications opened this week and will close on October 15.

  • Civic Science Fellows offer opportunities to work within a variety of organizations to increase public engagement with science; different positions have different deadlines closing as soon as August 9. 

In Memoriam: Yesterday, we lost a towering scientist and R&D leader, Dr. Tachi Yamada. A champion for global health, his innovations in drug and vaccine development (particularly for meningitis and malaria), as well as in gastroenterology, have impacted countless lives around the globe. Tachi was a longtime friend and former board member of Research!America. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and forever grateful for his impact.

 

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

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