Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: With gratitude for all

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  

Every Monday before Thanksgiving Research!America hosts Public Health Thank You Day (PHYTD), thanking the individuals across the nation who serve the public health. With participation by so many of you, we garnered 27 million impressions on Twitter with nearly 500 unique tweets by public health organizations and leaders. Federal officials taking part included Secretary of HHS Alex Azar; Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams; CDC Director Robert Redfield; NIH Director Francis Collins; NIAID Director Anthony Fauci; Assistant Secretary of Health and Acting FDA Commissioner Brett Giroir; VHA Deputy Undersecretary for Health Carolyn Clancy and many more!   

A special thank you to the bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Public Health Caucus, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) who introduced a PHTYD resolution commending those in the public health workforce for their dedication and service. (Check to make sure your member of Congress belongs to the Public Health Caucus, and if not, encourage them to join.)  

Since Thanksgiving traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season, a few striking comparisons to public health investments are in order. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent over $52 billion last year over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. Just a quarter of that spending could support: 

  • The CDC’s programs to combat antibiotic resistance by seventy-fold, or
  • The entire CDC for almost two years, or
  • BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) through the year 2026, or
  • AHRQ (Agency for Health Research and Quality) through the year 2069!

We are now in the second short-term continuing resolution (CR) of the federal fiscal year through December 20, 2019 – the new deadline lawmakers have to finalize FY20 funding levels. Your advocacy prevented Congress and the White House from giving up on budget negotiations altogether and reverting to a long-term CR through the entire fiscal year or even through the elections. Reflecting progress at last, top appropriators reached a deal a few days ago on spending levels for a dozen bills that fund the operations of the federal government. Now Congress can more easily move ahead on FY20 spending and avoid a government shutdown in four weeks. 

Advocacy works! But we can’t take a positive outcome for granted. We need your help to assure Congress and the White House cross the finish line. We have less than one month to keep the momentum going – don’t let these precious days slip by without action. Tweet, send an email, make a phone call, visit your members. Do it now. Do it again tomorrow. Join our #CRsStopProgress campaign. You can help stop repeated CRs now.

At the top of the list of what we are thankful for at Research!America is the talented pool of Burroughs-Wellcome supported interns who diligently work shoulder to shoulder with our policy and communications teams. These early-career scientists and communications professionals help us meet our mission through their terrific writing, analyses, and creative ideas. One such intern, Stephanie Sawicki, MPH, marked her last day with us yesterday, providing this moving post. I salute Stephanie and commend her words to you. 

Our newest fact sheet is about Parkinson’s Disease. The fact sheet series is one of the most-visited sections of our website. How are you are using our fact sheets in your work? What other topics do you wish were covered? Email Anna at aplatt@researchamerica.org to let us know.

On behalf of the board and staff of Research!America, I extend wishes for an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

 

Mary Woolley

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor