A Weekly Advocacy Message From Mary Woolley: Progress, Not Complacency

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate:

A report out this week by United Health Foundation concluded that an astonishing 72% of Americans have at least one of the five most impactful “unhealthy behaviors” (smoking, physical inactivity, insufficient sleep, excessive drinking or obesity). A White House report out this week quantifies the massive public health threat brought on by climate change and outlines the emerging issues, supporting evidence and the research required to curb these predicted effects. The need for improved public health is more evident then ever, and public health research is the best way to develop evidence-based, outcome-oriented interventions. Good thing it’s National Public Health Week! Check out our newest public health related fact sheets-- Prevention and Global Health-- and blog post.

Yesterday the Senate HELP Committee held their third and final Innovation/Cures mark-up, passing five bills to add to the existing 14. Earlier today, several key HELP Committee staff - Republican and Democrat - participated on a conference call with Research!America alliance members. It was heartening to hear their optimism (guarded, but apparent) at the prospects for Senate consideration of a comprehensive Innovations bill, one that includes mandatory funding for NIH.  

That optimism does not, unfortunately, extend to the prospects for mandatory FDA funding. With the daunting set of priorities FDA Commissioner Califf has identified and the increased responsibilities included in the Innovation/Cures legislation, the need for supplemental FDA funding is urgent. If your organization would like to help make the case, we would be happy to provide tips and talking points! Email Ellie Dehoney at edehoney@researchamerica.org.

This week provided another chance for research champions in Congress to shine, this time at a Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee hearing focused on NIH. Subcommittee Chairman Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), a recent Research!America Whitehead Award recipient, reaffirmed his commitment to increasing NIH’s discretionary budget: “Last year’s funding increase cannot and should not be a one-time investment. A pattern is started in a second year, and I believe we must seize the opportunity this year to start a pattern of sustained increases for the National Institutes of Health. It is time for a long-term commitment to medical research.”

Well put, Mr. Chairman! Research!America’s voter education initiative, Campaign for Cures, is about making sure the next Congress and the next President are committed to progress, not complacent about it. If your organization has not joined this effort, please take a moment now to check it out.  

This week, Modern Healthcare released its 2016 list of 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders, and a prestigious list it is! We were not the least bit surprised to see our 2016 Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award recipient, Dr. John Noseworthy, on the list. Also featured, two of Research!America’s current board members, National Academy of Medicine Director, Dr. Victor Dzau, and CEO of the American Medical Association, Dr. James Madara, as well as former board members, Dr. William Roper and Dr. Elizabeth Nabel. Speaking of influential members of the research community, nominations for our 2017 Advocacy Awards are now open through May 20!


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