Floridians Want State to be a Leader in Health Research

Yet majority don't know where research is conducted in state
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

TAMPA, Fla.—Nov. 28, 2006—Ninety-six percent of Floridians think it is important for Florida to be a leader in medical and health research, yet a majority cannot name an institution, company or organization in the state where this research is conducted, according to a poll released today by Research!America.

Floridians also believe health research is important to the state's economy (85%), approve of the state government offering financial incentives to attract new scientific research (77%) and think Congress should encourage industry to conduct more medical research (72%). Moreover, they would be willing to pay $1 more per week in taxes if the extra money would go toward additional medical research (59%).

The poll was released in conjunction with a research partners forum hosted by Research!America. The Tampa forum is being presented in partnership with the University of South Florida and Novartis, with keynote remarks by National Institutes of Health Director Elias Zerhouni, MD. Other participants include local and national leaders in research, business, academia, government and media.

"In the last few years, the state of Florida has embraced innovative research," said Judy Genshaft, PhD, USF president. "Our residents want our state to be a leader in medical and health research. They've supported USF's rapid growth in research funding, to $310 million this year. And our citizens and the university are committed to the dialogue about the future of research in Florida."

When asked about their own health, 58% of Floridians say heart disease will affect their lives or it has already, and 55% believe there will be a medical breakthrough in curing heart disease in the next 20 years.

"Because heart disease is America's leading killer, many Florida residents will suffer its impact. We share their optimism for real progress in addressing this public health crisis through research and discovery of innovative treatments," said Marjorie Gatlin, MD, vice president, U.S. Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Therapeutic Area, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. "Cardiovascular and metabolic disease, including conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is a major focus of our research at Novartis, and we are excited that we will deliver three new therapies in the coming year to make strides to improve health care for patients and their families."

Other key findings of the poll include:

  • A majority (51%) would be willing to pay $1 more for each prescription drug if they were certain the money would be spent for additional medical research, and 86% think the pharmaceutical industry is important in providing jobs in the U.S.
  • Most believe the national commitment to research should be higher (74%) and that more should be spent on medical and health research (59%).
  • Nearly all the state's residents (96%) think it is important that the U.S. is a global leader in medical, health and scientific research.

Research!America has been gauging American's attitudes toward research for 14 years.

"Literally from Florida to Alaska, our state polls consistently indicate strong support for research to improve health," said Mary Woolley, Research!America president. "We hope our nation's new Congress is listening and that both public and private U.S. research soon will be funded at levels that keep pace with scientific opportunity."
About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority.

Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct a telephone survey of 800 Florida adults, ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted November 6-10, 2006, and the sample is proportionate to the state's demographics, including geography, gender, income and ethnicity, with a statistical precision of ± 3.5 %.


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Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco