Blog

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.

Recent Blog Posts

Dry eye disease (DED) afflicts an estimated over 30 million people in the United States alone, and nearly half of U.S. adults experience dry eye symptoms regularly. Experts say the pain associated with DED can make it feel as if there is sand in your eyes, or it can be so severe that you may not be able to open your eyes. During a briefing in Washington, D.C. on July 11 hosted by the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) in partnership with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR), TFOS founder Dr. David Sullivan noted that there is no treatment for DED but “with research funding, we hope to develop a cure.” Researchers study factors associated with DED such as autoimmune...
Dear Research Advocate: In welcome news, Congress is making progress on FY19 appropriations. The Senate Appropriations Committee has completed work on all 12 bills and Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has said that the full Senate may consider a package containing the Defense and Labor-HHS bills during the week of July 23rd. We can’t count our chickens before they hatch, but this is good news indeed, considering the Senate has not passed the LHHS bill before fiscal year-end since 2007. Yesterday, the full House Appropriations Committee passed their version of the Labor-HHS spending bill, which includes $38.3 billion for NIH, an additional $1.25 billion over the FY18 level, an additional $427M...
Dear Research Advocate: Out this week: new survey data from the Pew Research Center reaffirming that Americans are strongly supportive of federal investments in medical, engineering and basic science research, with overall agreement at the 80% level that these investments ‘pay off.’ Of concern, however, is that voters who identify as strongly conservative are significantly more likely to say that “private investment will ensure that enough scientific progress is made, even without government investment.” All of us in the stakeholder community have more work to do to convey that when the government supports research, all parties -- private sector, government and the public -- stand to...
Dear Research Advocate: I moderated a session at the always-compelling Aspen Institute’s Spotlight Health conference at the end of last week. We had a robust and “un-sugarcoated” discussion on the dual imperatives of affordability and fast-paced medical progress. Among the many terrific conference sessions were two featuring the newly announced CEO of the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-Morgan Stanley initiative, Dr. Atul Gawande. (I should add that he mentioned that they will arrive at a better name!) During his interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, Dr. Gawande, whom I am proud to say was our Isadore Rosenfeld Advocacy Awardee this past March, made the point that not being thoughtful...
As America’s aging population increases, so too do concerns about the cognitive health of our nation’s seniors. Promoting and protecting the brain health of all Americans is a cornerstone of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission. This year we are launching an ambitious research effort to better understand steps seniors can take to improve brain health and reduce their risk of cognitive decline. The Alzheimer's Association U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is a two-year clinical trial to evaluate whether lifestyle interventions that simultaneously target many risk factors protect cognitive function in older adults who are at...
Dear Research Advocate: Advocacy works! The Senate narrowly voted down (48-50) advancing the president’s rescissions package to the Senate floor, this preserving $800 million that otherwise would have been stripped from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). A special thanks to the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) and to other terrific advocates who helped make the case against the CMMI cut. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $8.1 billion for FY19 National Science Foundation funding, a 3.9% increase over FY18. While this number is slightly below the House-approved $8.175 billion, given that the overall increase to non-defense discretionary (...
Research!America, in partnership with the National Science Policy Network, has announced a request for proposals from student- and postdoc-led science policy groups for the alliance’s bipartisan civic engagement initiative for the 2018 midterm elections. The initiative will support student science policy groups interested in increasing their level of civic engagement and outreach to candidates running for national office to elevate the importance of scientific research during the midterm elections. Highly competitive proposals would be innovative, engage a diverse group of young scientists, and collaborate with other science policy groups for activities such as lab tours or roundtable...
Stigma remains a top barrier to treatment for mental illness among minority groups, said panelists during a Capitol Hill briefing hosted by Research!America, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the National Medical Association on June 13, 2018. Panelists stressed the importance of stakeholder collaboration, increased minority representation in health care fields and patient advocacy to help overcome mental health disparities. Andrew Sperling, director of legislative and policy advocacy at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, moderated the discussion. Mental illness is generally considered a taboo subject in the...
Dear Research Advocate: The House Appropriations Committee released its FY19 Labor-HHS funding bill earlier today for subcommittee markup tomorrow morning . A few notes on the bill: NIH received $38.3 billion -- an additional $1.25 billion over the FY18 level -- and AHRQ received $334 million -- the same funding level as FY18. After accounting for anticipated, one-time changes to the total (including the transfer of the strategic national stockpile to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness), CDC received a $427 million funding increase. Given that the highly constrained dollars the “Labor-H” Subcommittee had to work with, the NIH, AHRQ and CDC results are definitely a...
Trust between the general public and the scientific community must be restored to build greater public appreciation for the health and economic benefits of research, according to speakers at a panel discussion at the BIO International Convention in Boston, Massachusetts on June 6, 2018. In a recent survey commissioned by Research!America, only 35 percent of Americans can name a place where medical or health research is conducted. Our nation’s “science enterprise is at risk if the science community does not get more recognition from the general public,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America, a nonprofit advocacy alliance that encourages scientists to engage with citizens and...

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