Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: Plenty That’s New

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

A New Budget Proposal: President Biden’s full FY22 budget request builds upon and  modifies parts of the initial budget blueprint he released in April. Research!America applauded the President in our statement.

NIH, CDC, AHRQ, FDA, and NSF would all receive significant increases to their base budgets under the President’s proposal. In a particularly welcome development, the President now recommends a base budget increase of $2.5 billion for NIH (exclusive of ARPA-H). See our updated budget chart here.

Use this editable Tweet to thank the President for proposing a number of crucially important increases. Look for opportunities in upcoming letters to help ensure robust FY22 research increases make it across the appropriations finish line!

A New Cabinet Member(!): The Senate has confirmed Dr. Eric Lander to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the first director to be part of the President’s cabinet. Read our statement here and a telling (read: inspiring) interview with Dr. Lander here.

A New R&D Incubator: As the President’s ARPA-H proposal takes shape, several alliance members have requested that we convene a closed-door roundtable for our diverse membership to discuss this promising initiative. If your organization is an alliance member and you’d like to participate, please mark your calendar for Thursday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to12:30 p.m. ET (although we likely won’t use the whole 90 minutes); register here.

The timing is right for this discussion. We know that members on both sides of the aisle are interested in input as the effort to advance ARPA-H moves forward in Congress. Whether developed individually or collaboratively, your ideas for how to ensure ARPA-H contributes in unique and impactful ways to medical progress can make a pivotal difference. 

New Vaccine Approvals: It is welcome news indeed that COVID vaccines approved under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) continue to be proven safe and effective.  Two vaccines are currently under FDA review for full approval. We have been updating this tracker about the vaccine candidates as new developments occur. 

New Advocacy Awards: Nominations are now open for Research!America’s 2022 Advocacy Awards! The awards recognize individuals and organizations whose commitment to advocacy for research and innovation has advanced medical and public health progress in profoundly important ways. 

The 2021 Advocacy Awards honored the powerful research, innovation, and advocacy deployed in the fight against COVID-19 via a new set of awards focused on public health. We are pleased to continue our public health awards in 2022. A full description of the 2022 awards, as well as the streamlined nomination process, can be found here. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 25, 2021. 

Alliance Meeting Recap: Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), joined the alliance this week for an all-too-brief half hour. Two surprising findings he discussed: thankfully, COVID-19 does not appear to have increased suicide rates in 2020; and tragically, individuals with schizophrenia are not only far more likely to contract COVID-19, but are nearly three times more likely than other patients to die as a result. If you missed this thought-provoking webinar, check out the recording now; I promise you will be glad you did.

Saving Lives Through Science: Over the past year and a half, science has been propelled into the spotlight by the most destructive and deadly public health threat in living memory. Our nation and the global community deployed research, innovation, and public health expertise to combat COVID-19, and while the threat remains, the progress that has been made against the pandemic is nothing short of astounding. 

But COVID-19 is by no means the only health threat that robs us of time, loved ones, and hope. There is far more work to do. More than 1 million Americans* die prematurely each year from causes — health conditions, suicide, accidents, violence — that we can do far more to defeat. Together, we can translate the science awareness the pandemic has raised into a new era of fast-paced, science-driven medical and public health progress. Please consider making a gift to support our work. Your donation will fuel advocacy, and advocacy fuels progress. 

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

 

*Estimate based on U.S. population estimates and premature death projections.

 

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