NIH, CDC, NSF, AHRQ and FDA 2017 Year in Review

Izzy Okparanta

Research into the development of Ebola vaccines, efforts to address opioid use among women, infectious diseases and a record number of novel drug approvals are among the many examples of federal health agencies making tremendous strides in 2017 to address complex and deadly health threats. The agencies highlighted their achievements in year-end articles, videos and reports on their websites. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) described progress with two Ebola vaccines and a bionic pancreas to better treat type 1 diabetes in addition to other clinical advances. The NIH also supported the work of three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and one recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed the unique challenges of opioid use disorder in women, overcoming barriers to medication adherence for chronic diseases and other public health concerns. Scientists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) discovered proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease – believed to be unique to humans – in a sample of brains of aged chimpanzees, a significant development in understanding the brain and Alzheimer's. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)’s tools reduced infections and medical errors in hospitals, and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved 46 novel drug applications, more than double the number in 2016.  

Innovative medical and health research requires robust and sustained federal support. Now is the time to urge Congress to assign a higher priority to the work of the federal health agencies in FY18 and beyond.  

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We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America