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America Speaks

Dear Research Advocate,

The American public is firmly supportive of federal investment in research, as seen in findings from our annual survey, released today. A majority of Americans from across the political spectrum say it is important for candidates this year to promote faster medical progress. The survey found 7 in 10 (87% of Democrats, 61% of Republicans, 77% of Independents) would be more likely to support a candidate if the candidate favors increased spending on medical and health research. 

Also of note, 94% agree it’s important for the U.S. to be a leader in medical and health research, but only about half say we currently are a leader in medical and health research. That’s a gap that calls out for elected officials’ attention.  

The survey findings show robust bipartisan agreement that U.S. global leadership in science and technology (S&T) is important, with 84% believing we should set a higher spending goal for research and development.  

Let our January 2024 National Survey be your resource to advocate effectively for increased funding for our nation’s federal research agencies. See our press release and keep a look out for the release of additional survey data over the next month.

On The Hill: Appropriators continue to work to meet the next set of deadlines for final FY24 appropriations. Subcommittee allocations, including the allocation for the Labor-H subcommittee which funds NIH, CDC, ARPA-H, BARDA, and AHRQ, have not been released to the public. I don’t know whether to cite squeaky wheels or broken records, but we must continue reinforcing the need for higher funding for research to our members in Congress.

This week’s #CuresNotCuts graphic speaks to one of the enduring challenges in public health, clearly calling for additional research: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Earlier this week, Dr. Elaine Larson, Professor Emerita, School of Nursing and Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, joined us for an alliance discussion to provide the current status of AMR on health care systems and key actions to combat AMR. Check out the full recording and slides.  

Money Not an Issue at the Super Bowl: While advocates continue to press Congress to fund the research needs of the nation, money is flowing elsewhere. The extravaganza known as the Super Bowl will take place this Sunday in Las Vegas. This year, the estimated total consumer spending related to the Super Bowl will reach $17.3 billion dollars, marking an increase of almost $1 billion compared to the previous year. That’s enough to fund the National Institute of Aging (NIA) for more than four years! Imagine if that money were spent on NIA-sponsored research to fight Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia so devastating for patients and their families. (This is not a direct trade-off; the point is that the U.S. can well afford to fund more research to drive medical progress.)

In case you missed last week’s discussion with Dr. Joanne Pike, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, and Tony Gonzales, Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisor, you can watch the recording to learn about policymaker recommendations, what it’s like to receive an early-stage diagnosis of dementia, and the status of new treatments.

Bayh-Dole: We are now past the deadline for the National Institute of Standards and Technology comment period regarding a proposed policy framework that would add commercial price adjudication to federal research agencies’ responsibilities, destabilizing the technology transfer system that the landmark law established. Please see our comments (we owe thanks to many readers for responding to our action alerts and sharing their thoughts on the proposed framework.) When you have a minute, please email a copy of your comments to Ellie Dehoney. Your insights help us think through next steps. 

The Art and Science of Human Connection: Effectively communicating medical and public health-related research messages is critical to bridging the gap between scientific advancements and public understanding. On Monday, Feb. 12, we’ll be joined by Dr. Abraham Verghese, bestselling author of the marvelous works of fiction “Cutting for Stone” and “The Covenant of Water.” Dr. Verghese is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor, and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Join us as he discusses his career in medicine and how his writing has shaped his outlook on the art and science of human connection.

Dr. Verghese is this year’s 2024 Advocacy Award honoree for the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion. Learn more about Dr. Verghese and the full slate of honorees, and register for the Advocacy Awards scheduled for March 13.