Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: Gratitude and Vigilance

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

Earlier this week, we honored our nation’s veterans. Beyond a profound debt of gratitude, veterans deserve our vigilance in addressing such threats as PTSD, TBI, and suicide, the rate of which is tragically growing faster among veterans than in the general population. Thousands of U.S. veterans participate in clinical research aimed at addressing these and other health threats, and the VA itself plays an under-appreciated role in advancing medical and public health progress. See our fact sheet on VA research for examples of the agency’s impact.

Among the many devastating consequences of TBI, preliminary research focused on veterans suggests that rates of migraine may be significantly higher in individuals who have sustained this type of injury than in their non-injured peers. See our new Migraine fact sheet for examples of effective collaboration among the public sector, the pharmaceutical sector, and patient and academic communities to prevent, treat, and, ultimately, end this particularly pernicious and shockingly pervasive health threat.

We are exactly one week out from the expiration of the current continuing resolution (CR). Passage of a second CR —  to avoid a government shutdown — is very likely at this point; reports are that the second CR will last until mid-to-late December (thankfully, a shorter timeframe than previously rumored). Democrats and Republicans are continuing to talk, seeking a path forward, but this news is only good enough if we soon see the robust funding that our nation’s researchers need to advance their work and speed up medical progress. You can help get this message across by joining our #CRsStopProgress campaign

One of the many, many reasons CRs contravene the public good and compromise the public trust is the strain frozen funding and curtailed operations places on our public health system. Yet, speaking of vigilance, the public health workforce continues to work 24/7 on our individual and collective behalf. Each year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and our partners across the research and public health ecosystem take time to thank the public health workforce for their 24-7 efforts to protect and advance the health of Americans and populations across the globe. Check out our Public Health Thank You Day resource page, and join in on Monday, November 25, 2019. The hashtag, which we will be using on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, is: #PHTYD.

Other upcoming opportunities for engagement: The National Science and Technology Council Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE), organized by OSTP, will soon issue an RFI seeking policy recommendations for improving the safety, integrity, productivity, and security of the nation’s research environment. This RFI and a multi-stakeholder forum held last week are part of an integrative process to advance the nation’s research ecosystem. A summary of the forum is here.

Another action item: NIH is seeking feedback on its “Draft Policy for Data Management and Sharing.” See NIH’s blog article here and offer your comments here.

All of the topics above are on the agenda for our next Research!America alliance members in-person meeting and conference call, which is taking place this Monday, November 18, 2019, from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Our guest will be Adrienne Hallett, Director of the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis. We’d appreciate it if alliance members interested in participating would register here by close of business tomorrow, November 15. If your organization is not yet a member and would like to learn more about the Research!America alliance, email Katie Goode at kgoode@researchamerica.org.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

 

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient