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Energizing Advocacy

Dear Research Advocate:

Earlier this week I had the privilege of meeting with and addressing faculty and students at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and at Rutgers University. During both trips, it was truly energizing to witness the enthusiasm, and sense of accountability, more and more scientists (on every rung of the career ladder) have for influencing the direction of federal research funding and policy. I hope my presentations reinforced and bolstered those terrific instincts…at least that was the goal!  As always, I learned easily as much as I shared, including being introduced to an innovative science communication course Rutgers has shaped for doctoral students.  

Speaking of “energizing,” Dr. Kelly Gebo, the Chief Medical Officer of the NIH All of Us Research Program, joined Research!America’s monthly alliance member meeting yesterday.  As Dr. Gebo so compellingly conveyed and is clear from her presentation, the impact of this initiative will be dramatic. I guarantee that taking a few minutes to review these slides is well worth it, whether your interest is in clinical research, digital health, advocacy for NIH, or, more broadly, how to spur US and global medical progress. More about the program and how to participate here.

During the meeting, we also discussed advocacy priorities for the lame duck session and beyond. In that context, while a full Senate vote on Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier’s nomination to the post of OSTP Director was scheduled for this week, as of this writing it has not taken place. Contact your Senators today and urge them to confirm Dr. Droegemeier without further delay!

Another key priority is to underscore the importance of securing final FY19 budgets for FDA, NSF and other science agencies that are currently funded under a continuing resolution (CR), which means flat-funding and major constraints on new initiatives. We sent a letter today to Congressional leadership urging them to complete their work. If you’d like to amplify the need for action, here is a no-fuss way to do it.

We are also closely monitoring the recent troubling news that HHS is targeting fetal tissue research, holding “listening sessions” with all the implications that kind of process implies. If you are interested in joining an effort to assure that this research, which is crucial to vaccine development and other lifesaving medical progress, can move forward, email James at Jtaylor@researchamerica.org.

This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week. According to a new survey we commissioned in partnership with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and Pfizer, Inc., nearly two thirds of Americans understand that antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ are a public health threat, and they support putting the public and private sector research continuum to work to address it. Dr. Jill Inverso with Pfizer, Inc. and Dr. Michael Craig with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were among the experts who contributed terrific blog posts on the topic. Additionally, IDSA President Dr. Cynthia Sears wrote an excellent op-ed in The Hill discussing AMR as an urgent, global crisis. Here is a fact sheet to use in your advocacy efforts.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week is the ideal lead-in to Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD), which so many of us will celebrate on Monday, November 19. It’s an opportunity to give accolades to public health workers who tackle issues such as antibiotic resistance, obesity, the opioid epidemic, and more every day. Representatives Rob Wittman (R-VA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Kay Granger (R-TX), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), co-chairs of the House Public Health Caucus, introduced H.Con.Res.141 this week saluting the public health workforce. Here is a toolkit to make it as easy as possible for you to participate in PHTYD.  




Mary Woolley