A weekly advocacy message from Mary Woolley: Meet the new FDA Commissioner, literally

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate: 
Despite their fierce partisan standoff regarding confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee, members of the Senate acted in a strongly bipartisan manner yesterday to confirm Robert M. Califf, M.D., as the new FDA Commissioner. Dr. Califf brings an accomplished career of expertise and insight to the position. The goals he has set include increasing patient involvement in the FDA regulatory process, streamlining clinical trials, and attracting and retaining the best scientists, according to STAT News. For more on Dr. Califf’s confirmation, please see my statement.
Commissioner Califf will be joining us as a keynote speaker at Research!America’s Annual Meeting at noon on March 16 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear first hand from the new Commissioner. Registration is open now - reserve your seat today. And if you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll RSVP yes to our Advocacy Awards Dinner that evening at the Mellon Auditorium.
The appropriations action is heating up in both the House and Senate. Leadership is committed to achieving regular order. That means moving all 12 appropriations bills through the committee process and to floor consideration, avoiding the alternatives of an omnibus, continuing resolution, or hybrid. This will be a challenge given the truncated timeline forced by 2016 elections and the difficulties posed by the more controversial appropriations bills, notably “Labor-H” (Labor, Health and Human Services -- the bill that funds administration of the Affordable Care Act, as well as NIH, CDC and AHRQ).
But we advocates are always up for a challenge! Now is the time to engage your elected representatives in the House and Senate. Over the next few days, Members of Congress will submit their list of funding priorities to the Appropriations Committees. If life- and cost-saving research - at NIH, CDC, AHRQ, NSF and FDA - is high among those priorities, it will be because you and many other stakeholders took a moment to weigh in.  Without your input, your representatives might not know to include research and medical progress in their requests.  It is easy to ask them to do so with this editable message.  
If you decide to customize your message and are looking for ideas, check out the letters we have submitted to the House and Senate Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Labor-H subcommittees. 
Finally, please join me in saluting AHRQ Director Richard G. Kronick, Ph.D., for his leadership and dedication as he leaves the agency to return to academia next month. Sharon B. Arnold, Ph.D., a highly accomplished health services researcher who currently serves as Chief of Staff, will assume the role of Acting Director. During Dr. Kronick’s tenure, AHRQ has continued to fulfill its critical mission of making healthcare safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable. Thank you, Rick, for your your service and stalwart commitment to advancing health services research. 

Mary Woolley

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln