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Research!America is dedicated to ensuring a strong public and private sector investment in research to improve health at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. Member organizations and others share their perspectives on a wide variety of topics relating to public and private sector research and innovation, and public health. The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of Research!America.

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Dear Research Advocate, By far the most expensive, and arguably one of the most divisive, election seasons in history is behind us. A lot of money was spent to find out that Americans continue to hold divergent views on many issues. We heard very little about research during the election because, in most ways, it is not a divisive issue; support is both bipartisan and grounded in common sense. The problem is that it can be taken too much for granted. At a time when Americans are looking for an end to standoff politics and want action on things we can feel good about as a nation, prioritizing research for health can be the perfect healing issue ’€” something we can all be proud of. But let...
On October 31 st , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported new cases of fungal meningitis in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia, bringing the total to 368 cases in the recent outbreak . This form of meningitis, which has been linked to contaminated steroid injections, is a serious disease that infects the brain and spinal cord. In the face of this tragedy, public health agencies and professionals have coordinated an excellent emergency response to the outbreak. The CDC responded quickly, identifying possible sources of contamination, tracking cases and communicating updates to the nation. CDC experts and local public health workers have been working day and night to...
Research, Industry, Academic and Patient Groups Join Forces for Week of Advocacy to Save Research, November 12-16, 2012 WASHINGTON ’€“ November 1, 2012 ’€“ Research!America, along with several dozen patient, industry, academic and health organizations, has coordinated a Week of Advocacy to Save Research for the week of November 12-16, 2012. The unified campaign is intended to convince policy makers to champion medical innovation, rather than undercut it, as decisions are made to address the ’€œfiscal cliff.’€ The campaign ’€” We Need Cures, Not Cuts ’€”is designed to raise awareness about the importance of making biomedical and health research a higher national priority. The campaign will...
Dear Research Advocate, Sandy was a terrifying October surprise. The devastation in New York and New Jersey is extensive, and it will take a long time to rebuild and to heal. It’€™s a reminder that not everything is about the election. That said, it is impossible not to think about a major election theme ’€” the role of government ’€” and also to think about climate change, one of many science topics not being discussed in this election season. Yet decisions involving the future of science will be made by those elected. That’€™s why we need to turn up the advocacy volume as loud as possible after the election, when the lame-duck Congress and the administration, closely watched and...
In an October article from Cell magazine (subscription required), Yale biologist Thomas D. Pollard, MD, explains his views on ’€œwhy all scientists should feel obligated to do their part to support the community by advocating for the benefits of government investments in scientific research and training.’€ Pollard illustrates how the political climate has changed in the past decade. No longer can scientists leave the advocacy to others in favor of lab work. That shortsightedness could have potentially disastrous effects on funding for a lab or institution. The fact is that, as Pollard states, ’€œweak tax revenues and growing deficits have led politicians to compromise funding for research...
During the final presidential debate, research finally got some airtime. President Barack Obama noted that ’€œ’€¦ if we don’€™t continue to put money into research and technology that will allow us to create great businesses here in the United States, that’€™s how we lose to the competition.’€ Similarly, Mitt Romney emphasized his support for research, saying that ’€œI want to invest in research, providing funding to universities ’€¦ is great.’€ It was great to hear both candidates acknowledge the importance of research for the future. As they explained, investment in research is crucial for supporting universities, creating jobs and maintaining America’€™s competitive edge (three of...
Pending Budget Cuts will Further Jeopardize Global Leadership in Research and Innovation WASHINGTON, DC ’€”October 25, 2012’€”Biomedical and health research and development (R&D) spending from all sources declined by more than $4 billion or 3% between FY10 and FY11 according to Research!America’€™s 2011 U.S. Investment in Health Research report. This represents the first drop in overall spending since Research!America began compiling the data in 2002. The decline follows an uptick in research funding attributed to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which allocated $10.4 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over two fiscal years (2009-2010). The overall...
Dear Research Advocate, Nine times. That’€™s how often the word ’€œresearch’€ was used in Monday’€™s third and final presidential debate. Clearly, both candidates recognize the importance of research and the role it plays in keeping our nation competitive. The election and decision-making around deficit reduction will put this rhetoric to the test. I was thankful for the opportunity to contribute to an article in Nature on the outlook for research and the candidates’€™ sometimes competing, sometimes intersecting visions for our nation. Many indicators point to the need for a ’€œgrand bargain’€ to avoid the fiscal cliff we have talked so much about. Rumors have it that informal talks are...
Source: CDC On World Polio Day, established by Rotary International , the global health community comes together to celebrate successes and renew commitments to eliminate polio once and for all. Polio is a highly infectious disease and can cause irreversible paralysis, but thanks to past research efforts, there is a polio vaccine that can prevent the disease. This year, World Polio Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Launched in 2008 by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’€™s Fund, GPEI is playing a critical role in the final push...
The conclusion of “ Eliminating Breast Cancer Health Disparities: Communicating to At-Risk Populations ,” a white paper recently released by Friends of Cancer Research , is summed up with a quote from breast cancer survivor Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL): “There have been so many advances in screening and treatment of cancer, but all of that is moot if women are not learning about their bodies, taking steps to reduce risk factors, and getting regular and appropriate screening.” That exemplifies the key takeaway: The white paper is aimed at stakeholders from research to health care delivery, but stakeholders alone won’t be successful in achieving health equity. Patients themselves must...

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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