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Public Health is All of Us, Everywhere

Dear Research Advocate,

As we honor our military veterans today, it’s worth noting that medical research has been part of the Veterans Health Administration’s core mission from its conception in 1946 when $1 million was committed to focus on improving prosthetics for World War II veterans. Since then, federal investment in veterans health research has grown to well over $1 billion annually and the VA is a leader in neuroscience and healthcare delivery research, among its many important focus areas. Veterans — and all of us — are healthier thanks to VA-supported medical research. (If you missed it earlier this year, watch our conversation with Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, VHA, who discussed the power and impact of VA research.)

Public Health Honorees: We’re very excited to announce the honorees of our 2022 Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Awards, generously supported by Johnson & Johnson. These awards — part of our 2022 Advocacy Awards event on March 16 — celebrate and champion the individuals and organizations who conduct research and innovation, participate in public-private partnerships, and communicate powerfully in confronting public health threats that jeopardize our security, prosperity, and well-being. 

We are grateful to Johnson & Johnson for the $5 million endowment that makes it possible to recognize public health champions for decades to come. We will be introducing our 2022 awardees over the next few weeks. Join us on November 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET to hear from two of our Outstanding Achievement in Public Health Award honorees, Bill Novelli and Matt Myers, founders and leaders of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Research!America Board member Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, will lead what is sure to be an insightful and inspiring conversation about advocacy and social movements.

Public Health Workforce: Adding a ‘surround sound’ aspect to our public health honoree announcement are two timely programs (1) J&J’s Eureka Moments and (2) Public Health Thank You Day (#PHTYD) — an opportunity on the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 22nd) to honor the many individuals who are integral to our nation’s health and prosperity. Join Research!America and our partners in conveying gratitude to the public health workforce: sample tweets, emails, and other customizable resources are available at www.PublicHealthThankYouDay.org.

Climate Health is Public Health; Research is Crucial: The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) concludes tomorrow; what has been notable leading up to and throughout the program is the shift in narrative to emphasize human health as central to the story.

Congress’ recently-passed infrastructure bill includes significant investments in R&D to improve climate health, including to grow clean energy. A recent op-ed by Bill Gates highlights these provisions and states the case for federal research to address climate change — one of the existential threats demanding the greatly stepped up federal funding called for in the Science and Technology Action Plan. Has your institution endorsed the Action Plan? Join the growing list of endorsers.

On the Hill: Both chambers of Congress are in recess this week. With a limited number of legislative days remaining on the 2021 calendar, the fast-approaching holiday season looks to be a frenetic one on Capitol Hill.

The clock has been ticking since October 1 — today is day 42 of a continuing resolution (CR) flat-funding the federal government via the old budget. We have been told that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) are in negotiations but major hurdles remain; our advocacy is needed more than ever. Use this editable tweet to make the case to the President and Congressional leaders that completing the FY22 appropriations process before the December 3 deadline is not an option, but an imperative!

COVID-19 Lessons for Regulators: In a recent letter in Nature, Peter Marks, MD, PhD, the director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which has responsibility for vaccine oversight, provides clear-eyed recommendations to regulators. He concludes, “By maintaining or amplifying the best practices that have been developed over the past two years, regulators, industry and the public can derive something of benefit from this terrible pandemic.” 

Then. Now. Imagine: November is a month during which patient advocacy groups raise awareness for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and various cancers. Our “Then. Now. Imagine.” social media graphics highlight how far we’ve come thanks to research, and how far we have to go — please use these to underscore your advocacy for the necessity of medical research. It’s easy to do and every voice matters. 

Alliance Meeting Recap: This week, we were fortunate to hear from Diana W. Bianchi, MD, Director of Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Dr. Bianchi shared the Institute’s research priorities, including those around COVID-19’s effects on pregnancy and childhood development. 

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!

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.


Mary Woolley