A Weekly Advocacy Message From Mary Woolley: Major kudos and prestigious awards

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate:

I am especially pleased to report that the House passed the Labor-H/Defense FY19 appropriations conference report yesterday, by a vote of 361-61. The President has said he will sign the bill, thus avoiding a partial government shutdown with its myriad negative consequences (including the toll on medical and public health progress). Please do as we have and say thank you to Congressional leadership for passing this bill in timely fashion, with funding that supports putting research to work to find the solutions to what ails us. Of particular note, the bill includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, as well as increases for other federal health agencies under HHS auspices. For more on the minibus, check out a summary of the bill, a budget chart, and our press release

Research!America has been part of a group working to prevent restrictions on fetal tissue research – you may recall that proposed language to place limits on this promising line of research was removed from the final FY18 appropriations bill. There are no restrictions on fetal tissue research in the FY19 bill either; however, a recent report reveals that the Administration has launched its own review into whether current regulations are adequate and whether alternatives to this type of research exist. More to come in future letters.

I joined the launch of The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect’s (EndCAN) #GiveFive initiative on Tuesday. Tragically, five children die every day as a result of abuse and neglect. Pledging to end child abuse and neglect in our lifetime, EndCAN executive director, Lori Poland said: “One of the first steps is changing the conversation from [child abuse and neglect] being seen as a social and legal issue, to a mental health and public health problem.” Research!America presented survey data demonstrating that the public strongly agrees: not only is child abuse and neglect a significant public health problem; it requires action, including research, to address it. See our data here.    

Research!America’s Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner will take place on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the year of our alliance’s 30th anniversary. Today, I’m pleased to announce a number of the extraordinary research champions who will be honored at the dinner. Mark the date and plan to join us!

Speaking of awards, last Friday the 2018 Lasker Awards in Basic Research, Clinical Research, and Special Achievement in Medical Science were presented in New York City. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Nobel Prize-awarding institutions will begin announcing 2018 winners this coming Monday, October 1. Given the contributions of science to health, security and economic advances, we urge media, the public and policymakers to take notice, saluting the winners and asking candidates for office to recommit to making support for science a high priority in our nation.

What will it take to achieve a stronger national commitment to science? As President Lincoln memorably said: “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” On Tuesday, October 2 at 8:00 a.m. ET the Aspen Institute will host “How Americans Really View Science in Society,” here in Washington. I look forward to being a part of this timely and important discussion. More on the event can be found here; RSVP by contacting events@sciencecounts.org.

More than 28 million people in the United States live with migraines. Join us next week, Wednesday, October 3 at 12:00 p.m. ET for a Hill briefing in the Russell Senate Office Building, Room 188, on “The Research on Workplace Accommodations for Migraine Sufferers.” RSVP here and join us to learn more about efforts to improve outcomes and quality of life for those living with migraines.

Please save the date for our next alliance member meeting on Thursday, October 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET featuring Rob Smith and Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners, who will help shed light on the near and mid-term (both meanings are relevant!) outlook for congressional action on drug pricing and other research-relevant issues. Stay tuned for more details next week!

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

 

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter