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“The Power of One”

“Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in all we do” is a central tenet of Research!America’s work. The diversity of our nation is one of its greatest strengths. If we want science to continue to fuel breakthroughs in medicine, public health, and other areas, we need to develop and support talent from traditionally underrepresented groups.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling this morning on affirmative action in universities, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that individuals from all backgrounds can be part of our nation’s dynamic research enterprise. We will continue to work on multiple fronts to achieve this critical goal.

Our Board Chair Sudip Parikh, PhD, CEO of AAAS, co-authored a statement today outlining initiatives AAAS is leading to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEMM fields.

On the Hill: Congress is in recess; when Members return to session the week of July 10, they will resume work on FY24 appropriations legislation. Given the spending caps included in the debt ceiling legislation passed in May and the even lower caps emerging from the House appropriations process, it’s critical to continue to push our elected representatives to appropriate much-needed funding for agencies on the front lines of driving the economy, maintaining global competitiveness, saving lives, and assuring the future of our planet. I am talking about NIH, CDC, FDA, ARPA-H, BARDA, AHRQ, and the NSF, among others. Use this editable tweet to share the importance of investing in medical and scientific progress with your Member of Congress.

America is a wealthy nation – we have the resources to accelerate innovation when we choose to make health and research for health a priority. For example, Americans are estimated to spend $9.5 billion on food and drinks to celebrate the nation’s birthday this 4th of July – more than the budget of the Food and Drug Administration, which has oversight of more than $2.7 trillion in consumption of food, medical products, and tobacco. (learn other facts about how consumer spending compares to budgets of agencies that support health and quality of life).

Also On the Hill: The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee will mark up legislation reauthorizing the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) on July 13, followed by the full Committee on July 19. While we have not yet seen draft language from the Committee, we will continue to push for important priorities such as ensuring BARDA is able to: 1) address emerging infectious disease threats and 2) leverage R&D to combat the growing and corrosive effects of antimicrobial resistance.

We will continue to engage with the Committee and others as the bill proceeds. Tune into our July 11, noon ET, members-only alliance discussion for a policy update with Paul Kim, principal at Kendall Square Policy Strategies LLC. We’ll cover three timely topics: 1) reauthorization of PAHPA; 2) the outlook for R&D tax credit legislation; and 3) changes to the reporting requirements for NIH funded foreign subgrantees. Email Jacqueline for the registration link.

NIH RFI Update: The NIH is seeking comments on changes to foreign subgrantee reporting requirements. The deadline for submitting comments on this consequential proposal is midnight ET, Wednesday, July 5. Read a description of the proposed policy change and submit your comments.

AI and Misinformation: On July 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. ET, the National Academies will continue its series of public information-gathering sessions on “understanding and addressing misinformation in science.” This virtual session is focused on addressing misinformation in the light of advancements in artificial intelligence and other related technologies. Learn more and register.

ICYMI: This afternoon, we heard from congressional veteran Mary Dee Beal, Principal at KDCR Partners. In an off-the-record, alliance-only discussion, Beal updated us on the dynamics around FY24 appropriations, as well as various scenarios and advocacy strategies as the appropriations process continues.                                                                        

“The Power of One”: News of the death of the Honorable Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., age 92, former Governor and House and Senate member from Connecticut and the founding CEO of Research!America, has been widely noted. Among his many recognitions, Lowell received the 1988 Albert Lasker Public Service Award for legislative leadership for medical research, and Building 4 at the NIH campus is named in his honor. He urged those present at the building dedication to exercise their “power of one,” as advocates, so that all may benefit. (Speaking of NIH buildings named for research champions, check out this map of the main NIH campus – and note the strong bipartisan nature of congressional – and thus public – support for NIH.)

Lowell was an incredible champion for medical research, for the NIH, and for public health imperatives, including bolstering rights for Americans with disabilities, securing federal funding for HIV/AIDS research, and creating Alzheimer’s Research Centers. I am grateful for the strong foundation he provided for Research!America, and for his legacy of leadership. My deepest condolences to his family and many friends and admirers.