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An Abundance of Thanks

Dear Research Advocate,

While Congress is in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, our (grateful) advocacy doesn’t stop. This week Research!America sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees thanking them for their continued efforts to complete FY22 appropriations and urging them to finalize those funding levels before the December 3 continuing resolution deadline expires. 

Take a moment now to tweet those same Members of Congress, expressing thanks while encouraging them to pass FY22 appropriations legislation as quickly as possible!

Reporting on Public Health Thank You Day 2021: Yesterday, Research!America led the 16th annual celebration of the tremendous work and perseverance of the public health workforce. 

  • The #PHTYD hashtag was put to use in over 2,600 unique tweets across the nation. The discussion generated over 12.5 million impressions (and still counting!), and was among the top 10 “trending” hashtags on Twitter yesterday.
  • More than two dozen federal officials and members of Congress participated, including: Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Tim Scott (R-SC); Admiral Rachel Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health of HHS; Francis Collins, MD, Director of NIH; Joshua Gordon, MD, Director of NIMH; Eliseo Perez-Stable, MD, Director of NIMHD; Rima Khabbaz, MD, Director of NCEZID; and Nakela Cook, MD, Executive Director of PCORI. 

  • Other participants included: Spencer Cox, Governor of Utah; Rob Bonta, Attorney General of California; Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia; Harold Paz, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Sciences, Stony Brook University; James Madara, MD, CEO of the American Medical Association; and Marcus Plescia, MD, Chief Medical Officer of ASTHO.

  • We also thank Public Health Caucus co-chairs Reps. Robert Wittman (R-VA), James McGovern (D-MA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Michael Simpson (R-ID), who introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Con.Res.62) recognizing Public Health Thank You Day. We appreciate Legislative Aide Curran Smolinsky and the other staff for their assistance with this resolution.

  • The White House held a live “Public Health Community Appreciation Town Hall” on YouTube (watch the recording), featuring Xavier Becerra, Secretary of HHS, and Rochelle Walensky, MD, Director of the CDC, along with other leaders in public health.

Giants of Science and Public Health: Johnson & Johnson’s new Eureka Moments YouTube series, led by J&J’s Seema Kumar, today featured Francis Collins, MD, Director of NIH, and Paul Stoffels, MD, Chief Scientific Officer for J&J, a partnership we will be honoring next March for their leadership of ACTIV. I was interviewed later in the program. You will be inspired by the career stories Drs. Collins and Stoffels have to tell. Dr. Collins emphasized that this is the “best time imaginable” to get involved in science. Watch the discussion.

The Legacy of Mary Lasker: For all who were fortunate to meet her — and I count myself in that number — Mrs. Lasker was a force of nature, setting the pace for advocacy for biomedical research in the mid-to-late twentieth century. Congress listened, and NIH became the envy of the world. Today, U.S. leadership is being tested; read more about what is at stake in this excellent article from the Lasker Foundation, Advancing Biomedical Research in the United States.

Biobanking Virtual Forum: Join Research!America and others from across the biomedical R&D ecosystem in “Discussing Biobanking Today,” December 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Participants will explore best practices to address challenges in research utilizing tissue, blood, and other biospecimens. Register to join us.

Share Your Insights: The NIH UNITE initiative is holding a series of listening sessions with external stakeholders to help “address structural racism in the biomedical enterprise.” See the full schedule, but just to highlight a few sessions:

  • Colleges and universities (December 1, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Foundations and professional societies (December 6, noon)

  • Nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and advocacy organizations (December 14, 6 p.m., and January 18, 6 p.m.)

Alliance Member Meeting: On Tuesday, November 30, at 1 p.m. ET, join our next special discussion to hear me interview our 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award honoree Vivian W. Pinn, MD, the inaugural director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and a major force in the health equity movement. We extend our thanks again to Johnson & Johnson for generous support of our Outstanding Achievement in Public Health awards.

Become a Research!American! Our Careers page lists several openings, with more to come. We’d appreciate it if you’d spread the word and share this link!

As we thank our public health workforce, and all those who are dedicated to speeding medical progress, we also say “Happy Thanksgiving” to each and every one of you.   

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.


Mary Woolley