A weekly advocacy message from Mary Woolley: You will detect a theme here...

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate,

It was a privilege to address the terrific crowd at last night’s kick off reception for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Rally for Medical Research. Forceful champions including Senators Durbin (D-IL), Moran (R-KS), Murray (D-WA) and Klobuchar (D-MN) joined NIH Director Francis Collins to thank and encourage the more than 300 advocates who are blanketing both Houses of Congress today. Adding in social media attention, the Rally is likely to reach every member of Congress.  

During remarks at a Rally breakfast this morning, House “Labor-H” Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) revved up the crowd when he said that “the stars are aligned” to secure increased funding for NIH and CDC...if Congress can coalesce around a real budget deal; which they will if constituents (all of us) insist! If you couldn’t make it to Capitol Hill today, you can still amplify Chairman Cole’s message. Click here to fight for a real budget deal that fuels medical progress instead of stalling it. As the Chairman said, “the right thing to do is also the smart thing to do,” since if we don’t give science every chance to find the cures and preventions for what ails us, we will be paying staggering bills for generations to come.  

“There's no question that the tsunami of preventable chronic illness is absolutely unaffordable for this nation. You cannot medicalize your way out of the magnitude of preventable illness that is pouring into a delivery system that we already can’t afford.” So said Dr. Reed Tuckson at our annual National Health Research Forum last week. Distinguished moderators and panelists took part in three lively panels around the general theme of “straight talk,” discussing topics like precision medicine, the role of patients in the R&D process, speeding medical progress, and the implications of current health trends. A video of the event is available here.

Another voice sounding the theme of doing the right thing for future generations was heard last evening. Addressing the Friends of the National Library of Medicine awards event, Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS-03) spoke of the moral and fiscal imperative of curing disease. A fiscal conservative, he explained that he favors doubling the NIH budget over 10 years, emphasizing that it just makes sense to invest in research, if that’s what will secure a healthier future.

I joined CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden and a number of others today to receive our annual flu vaccine at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases’ News Conference. More information about the flu, and the importance of continued vaccine research, is available on our updated flu factsheet. There is no question that vaccines are a research success story, but you wouldn’t know that from the Republican debate last night! Both of the trained medical doctors on stage skirted around the topic. Governor Mike Huckabee took the opportunity to say: “I really believe the next president ought to declare a war on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s...Why doesn’t this country focus on cures rather than treatments? Why don’t we put a definitive focus, scientifically, on finding a cure for cancer, heart disease, for diabetes and for Alzheimer’s, a disease alone that will cost us $1.1 trillion by the year 2050.” Why not, indeed? If not now, when?

Along with partners in our voter education initiative Campaign for Cures, we are pushing for more attention in the debates and at town hall meetings, in the media --  and especially in social media --  insisting that all the candidates talk about the priority they place on speeding medical progress. I encourage you to reach out to Research!America’s Carol Kennedy (ckennedy@researchamerica.org) to explore ways to partner with us to make sure medical progress is a major talking point for all candidates in the 2016 election!


Mary Woolley


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