Home » Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter » Making Changes not Excuses

Making Changes not Excuses

There is no excuse for the alarming rates of maternal mortality in this nation – the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among peer nations, with staggering racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in outcomes.

Yesterday, I participated in the first annual Symposium to Address the Maternal Health Crisis in Georgia – hosted by Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine, and Research!America – and shared results from a new statewide survey Research!America commissioned capturing Georgians’ views of the maternal health crisis in their state and across the nation.

The symposium, which brought together stakeholders spanning health care, state and federal governments, community partners, and advocacy groups, coupled with the survey, advanced two interrelated objectives: 1) raising awareness; and 2) prompting concrete, community-informed action. One key finding from the survey: 8 in 10 Georgians, regardless of political affiliation, say it’s important for Georgia to increase investment in initiatives to reduce maternal mortality. That’s an extraordinarily strong call to action.  

See more survey results, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s coverage, and our press release on this event. To achieve the progress we need against threats like maternal mortality, local, state, and federal advocacy informed by public opinion can and does effect change. Which brings me to…

On The Hill: You’ll recall Congress has set two new deadlines for FY24 spending bills, yet another delay in the now 2-months-past-deadline FY24 appropriations process. As we see in Georgia, Americans are looking for solutions to the conditions that ail us. Key to these solutions is an updated funding plan that allows our nation to not only face the problems of today, but to usher in the science and innovation of tomorrow.

This week’s #CuresNotCuts graphic focuses on one of those promising solutions: a one-dose antibiotic that can significantly reduce the instances of maternal sepsis and sepsis-related deaths. Using this week’s graphic and our other #CuresNotCuts resources, take a few minutes this week to weigh in with Congress on the need to complete FY24 appropriations and boost funding for research.

The Complex Challenge of Adolescent Suicide: Another threat our nation is struggling to address: the growing rate of adolescent suicide. Yesterday, we were joined by Dr. Phillip Baiden, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Social Work, for a frank discussion about this difficult topic. Watch now.

Public Health Thank You Day: Maternal mortality and adolescent suicide are two of the many daunting challenges our public health workforce addresses. Last Monday was Research!America’s 18th annual Public Health Thank You Day, during which many of you helped recognize the diversity of talented and committed individuals who serve on the front lines of public health and healthcare. They don’t accept excuses for unmet public health challenges; they effect change.

In addition to bipartisan involvement from federal officials and the introduction of a bipartisan congressional resolution, 60+ state and local health departments from 28 states participated. The nearly 1,000 #PHTYD Tweets were seen by an audience of over 9 million. Listen to a conversation with Jenny Luray and Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, on the radio show, “The Measure of Everyday Life”, about the power of public health, driven by its extraordinary workforce.

World AIDS Day: Effecting change is at the heart of World AIDS Day, which turns 35 tomorrow, December 1, and for the astoundingly successful, bipartisan U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Advocacy for PEPFAR is crucial because while tremendous progress has been made against HIV/AIDS, this crisis is far from over – more than 630,000 people lost their lives to AIDS last year. In honor of World AIDS Day, participate in the Global AIDS Policy Partnership’s #ProudofPEPFAR campaign. 

Moving Mountains: Join us next Tuesday, December 5 at noon ET for a conversation with Norm Augustine, an incredibly impactful leader in the decades long effort to bolster U.S. science and technology. The Honorable Bart Gordon, a long-serving member of Congress (1985-2011) and extraordinary S&T champion in his own right, will speak with Norm about his storied career and ask him to share insights on effective advocacy. Trust me, don’t miss this one. Register now.

Trust me again and mark your calendars for our 2024 Advocacy Awards on March 13, 2024, where we’ll be honoring Norm with our 2024 Herbert Pardes Family Award for National Leadership in Advocacy for Research. 

Partner with us: As you plan your year-end giving, please consider a gift to Research!America. With your support and partnership we can increase funding and strengthen policies to bolster U.S. science and technology, discovery, and innovation. 

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.