Home » Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter » Dr. King continues to inspire

Dr. King continues to inspire

Dear Research Advocate,
With so much going on in — and about — Washington, D.C., it’s easy to overlook the matter of  still-unresolved FY17 appropriations. There are members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers calling for completion of those bills, and we agree. That’s what our elected representatives should be doing instead of kicking the can down the road with yet another extension of the continuing resolution (CR). Yes, it’s true that if Congress takes up work to complete FY17 spending bills, members will be tasked with developing FY17 and FY18 bills at the same time. Some think this will be difficult for the Senate, with its schedule packed with confirmation hearings. I think our elected representatives are up to this challenge, but it will help them to know that this is important to their constituents! Use this action alert to make the case for an FY17 “omnibus” appropriations bill that drives our nation forward instead of tethering it to the last Congress’ inaction.

One of the upcoming Senate hearings is for Congressman Tom Price (R-GA-06), who, as you know, has been nominated by President-elect Trump for Secretary of Health and Human Services. His first confirmation hearing has been scheduled by the Senate HELP Committee for January 18 (his Senate Finance Committee hearing is still TBD). We have sent suggested research-relevant questions to the Senate HELP Committee. If you are interested in doing the same and we can be helpful, email our Director of Policy and Advocacy Sara Chang at schang@researchamerica.org.

Earlier today we held an Research!America alliance members meeting to discuss priorities for the new year. The consensus seems to be– first things first– avoid a year long CR (see above). We also had important discussions about sequestration, PDUFA/ MDUFA reauthorization, the medical device tax, Trump Administration nominees and the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). If you are a member who was unable to join today’s meeting, but would like to offer input, we want to hear from you! Call or email Ellie at 571-482-2717 or edehoney@researchamerica.org. Read more about Research!America’s 2017 priorities here.

Reflecting on his tenure as CDC Director in a recent interview with National Geographic, Dr. Tom Frieden recalls the often unpredictable and always complex challenges CDC has faced. He also underscores the fact that our public health infrastructure is in dire need. While a multifaceted approach is called for, establishing a standing public health emergency fund, similar to FEMA, is an important step in the right direction. Dr. Frieden has long advocated for such a fund and we plan to continue the drum beat after his departure.

Yesterday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on health inequities in our nation. As I read this report, just a few days before the nation pauses to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought of King’s stirring words: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” While many things have changed since the ‘60s, glaring disparities in health remain, disparities that are deeply entrenched and too often poorly understood, rendering them all the more difficult to address. As part of our 2016 Public Health Thank You Day, we interviewed several research leaders who are working to address and overcome racial and ethnic health disparities. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, I commend these interviews to you: Cicily Hampton, Ph.D., Senior Director of Health Science & Policy at the Society for Public Health Education, Hala Madanat, Ph.D., Director of the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University, and LaMar Hasbrouck, M.D., MPH, Executive Director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).


Mary Woolley