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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. Each blog post aims to inform readers about the health and economic benefits of research.  

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January 31, 2013 Dr. Carolyn Clancy has been a stalwart champion of medical and health services research during her decade-long leadership at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), stressing the importance of evidence in formulating policies to address gaps in care and improve health care delivery. She spearheaded innovative evidence-based programs to tackle some of our most challenging and complex healthcare issues. Under her leadership, AHRQ has conducted and funded research to ensure that patient care is as safe and efficient as possible, and launched the first annual report to Congress on health care disparities and health care quality. Clancy recognizes the importance...
Dear Research Advocate, With the world listening, President Obama acknowledged the importance of science, STEM education and research to our nation’€™s economic competitiveness and, more generally, to the future our children face. Many Republicans have voiced similar views. While it is heartening that policy makers on both sides of the aisle believe in research, they also must cut dollars from the federal budget. The president noted this in his speech and also mentioned the need to tame rising health care costs. The intersection of research, rising health care costs, and deficit reduction is the exact spot where advocates need to jump in. As policy makers grapple with how to control health...
In November 2012, the Hudson Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases released a Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases . The report, which was the culmination of a comprehensive research and policy analysis study, outlined the economic and social impact of seven of the most common NTDs including lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, trachoma, schistosomiasis, hookworm, ascariasis and trichuriasis. These diseases impose a huge economic burden by causing roughly 46-57 million years of healthy life lost due to premature death or years lived with a disability. The report also quantified the economic burden in terms of lost productivity caused...
On January 17, the Hudson Institute and the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases held a briefing event to discuss their recently released report, Social and Economic Impact Review on Neglected Tropical Diseases . In addition to negative health outcomes, the report highlights the social and economic costs of these deadly diseases and argues that NTD control and elimination programs are a cost effective public health measure. For example, Michael Kremer, Gates professor of Developing Societies at Harvard University, discussed de-worming as an extremely cost effective development intervention. Several studies around the world, including in the southern United States, have shown that...
On January 16, Uniting to Combat NTDs released ’€œ From Promises to Progress ,’€ the first annual report on the London Declaration on NTDs. The report details the progress made by global partners that signed onto the London Declaration one year ago. Notable successes include leading pharmaceutical companies donating treatments for 100% of drug requests in endemic countries and the development of new NTD control plans in over forty countries. The past year has also seen regulatory approval for two new NTD diagnostics: a new test for lymphatic filariasis and the first rapid test for sleeping sickness developed by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics . Alongside this report, WHO also...
Dear Research Advocate, President Obama delivered a comprehensive plan for stemming gun violence yesterday, identifying, among other components, a renewed role for federally funded research. (Prohibitions enacted by Congress in the mid-1990s and expanded in 2011 have largely prevented federal agencies from funding firearms-related research.) An executive memorandum signed by the president on Wednesday directs CDC to conduct research on the causes of gun violence and ways to prevent it. Restrictions on research that informs federal policy are counterproductive to sound governance. With the benefit of research findings, policy makers can identify the most effective strategies for preventing...
An article in the most recent issue of The Scientist highlighted the importance of affordable diagnostics for global health. Although scientific advances have improved treatment options for many global diseases, a lack of effective, low-cost diagnostics hinders the health of many in the developing world. For example, medicines to treat HIV and tuberculosis have been life-saving for many individuals, but they can cause liver damage and patients on these medications must be monitored. However, the primary test for liver damage requires expensive equipment that is simply not available in low-income countries. To solve this problem, a Massachusetts biotech company, Diagnostics For All ,...
Dear Research Advocate, With all the conversation about the debt ceiling and tax and entitlement reform, it may surprise you to know that an additional topic is on many minds. A wide majority of Americans, 72%, say the new Congress and the president should take action to expand medical research within the first 100 days of the new legislative session. See this and more in America Speaks , Volume 13, a compilation of national poll data providing insights into public sentiment on key research-related issues. See our press release and download the full Poll Data Summary . These polling results are designed to be used in your advocacy and outreach! Among the growing number of issues that need...
This week, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency in the city due to a flu outbreak. City officials have confirmed 700 cases of the flu, nearly ten times the confirmed cases last year; four people have died so far. Outbreaks have been reported in other areas of the country, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. It’€™s hard to imagine the dire health consequences Americans would endure without the flu vaccine, which is due in part to federal investments in research. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have made...
January 9, 2013 The U.S. Supreme Court’s dismissal of Sherley v. Sebelius , a case intended to block federal funding for scientists conducting embryonic stem cell research, is a victory for patients and the research community. This key decision will allow the continuation of federal funding from the National Institutes of Health, providing essential support for scientists to conduct lifesaving research. Embryonic stem cells, which can repair or replace damaged tissue and organs, have advanced research aimed at finding cures and therapies to treat a wide variety of diseases and disorders including vision impairment, spinal cord injuries, and multiple sclerosis. Clinical trials have also...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco