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2012 National Health Research Forum

World Class to Second Class? Confronting the Risks to U.S. Science and Innovation

Leaders in government, industry, academia, patient advocacyorganizations and the media participated in the 2012 National Health ResearchForum at the Ronald Reagan Building on March 14. What lies ahead as we face funding challengesfor research and innovation? What will be the health and economic impactfor this country of funding and policy decisions made this year? Thepanelists discussed these and other relevant questions in stimulating conversations.

Among the highlights:

  • Wemust elect policy makers who understand that if they do not place a highpriority on R&D, not only will they forsake crucial medical andtechnological progress, they will stack the deck against our nation’s continuedglobal economic leadership and future prosperity.
  • Everystakeholder in the R&D “ecosystem” — and in the health research ecosystemranging from government to industry to academia to teaching hospitals toindependent research institutes to patient groups — must work together topromote research as a catalyst to our nation’s economic strength, and morefundamentally, as the fuel for human progress.
  • Wemust take more seriously the need to improve our educational system and fosterSTEM education. We are falling behind to the severe detriment of our nation’slong-term economic prospects.
  • Aneconomy lacking in innovation is an economy on the decline. Funding and policy must align to ensure ournation maintains a robust innovation economy. From U.S. job recovery to continued medical progress to sustained globalcompetitiveness, promoting U.S. research and development must be treated as aconcrete national strategy.

The first panel was moderated by RichardBesser, MD, Chief Health and Medical Editor, ABC News. Panelists include Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, director, Centers for Disease Control andPrevention; Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, American HeartAssociation; Jack Watters, MD, vice president of external medical affairs,Pfizer Inc; Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, commissioner, Food and DrugAdministration; John Castellani, president and chief executive officer,PhRMA; and MaryHendrix, PhD, president and scientific director for theChildren’s Memorial Research Center at Northwestern University’s FeinbergSchool of Medicine.

The secondpanel was moderated by David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief, The New York Times. Panelists include FrancisS. Collins, MD, PhD, director, National Institutes of Health; Carolyn M.Clancy, MD, director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Sheri S.McCoy, MSc, vice chairman of the executive committee and member of theoffice of the chairman, Johnson & Johnson; Hon. Mike Castle, U.S. Representative, 1993 -2011;SubraSuresh, MS,ScD, director, National Science Foundation;and Larry Shapiro, MD, executivevice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the school of medicine,Washington University School of Medicine.