The Research Advocate, our award-winning membership newsletter, provides the latest news and information on medical, health and scientific research advocacy, as well as reports from Research!America and member organizations. Regular features include policy articles, profiles of Research!America members, media coverage of research advocacy issues, a column by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley, and important updates to help our members in their own efforts to make research to improve health a higher national priority. For questions or comments contact

In This Issue of The Research Advocate: October 2019

From Research!America

2020 Advocacy Award Recipients Announced

Dr. Bruce Alberts to Receive John Edward Porter Legacy Award; Three Esteemed Researchers to Share Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award

The 24th annual Research!America Advocacy Awards, to be held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2020, brings together leaders from government, industry, academia, patient groups, scientific societies, independent research institutes, and health advocacy organizations to honor exceptional advocates for research. Earlier this month, Research!America announced the first round of recipients for many of the awards.

Bruce M. Alberts, PhD, former president (1993-2005) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), will receive the 2020 John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie. An advocate of improving science education in primary and secondary schools, Dr. Alberts has spent his career promoting the creativity, openness, and tolerance that are inherent to science.

“Dr. Albert’s sustained leadership and dedication to science education show his strong commitment to advancing research and the joy of life science,” said The Honorable Michael N. Castle, chair, Research!America. “The thread that runs through Dr. Albert’s distinguished career is an encouragement of collaborative work across all science disciplines to promote learning and communication to non-scientists.”

Other 2020 Advocacy Award honorees announced are three co-recipients of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award: Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, associate dean for Global Health, Vaccinology & Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer and senior vice president for Global Research & Development at Sanofi; and Paul A. Offit, MD, professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Michael M. E. Johns, MD, professor of the Schools of Medicine and Public Health at Emory University will be the recipient of the Herbert Pardes Family Award for National Leadership in Advocacy for Research; Mary Fogarty McAndrew, Chair of the John E. Fogarty Foundation for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will be the recipient of the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award; and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will be the recipient of the Paul G. Rogers Distinguished Organization Advocacy Award.

Recipients of the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion and the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy will be named in the coming weeks. The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards program was established by Research!America’s Board of Directors in 1996 to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health, and scientific research.

“We are thrilled to recognize these outstanding 2020 honorees who, through their commitment to scientific research, have contributed to scientific education and communication, scientific discovery, and advocacy for  improved care and funding to accelerate research,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America.

For more information about the 2020 Advocacy Awards Dinner, visit here. Join us for an evening of honoring the passion and purpose of outstanding research advocacy leaders in our nation’s scientific community.

For information on table sponsorship opportunities, please click here.

Meaningful Science: National Health Research Forum

We all benefit when researchers connect, a sentiment that served as the driving pulse at Research!America’s Straight Talk: National Health Research Forum, held at the Conrad Washington, D.C. on September 5, 2019. Innovators from all disciplines gathered to share their thoughts, key findings, and ideas for the future of research.

The event began with opening remarks from Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He reflected on the remarkable strides the United States has made to improve public health, and identified eliminating disease and securing global health as key challenges and opportunities for research. “If we can do meaningful science that has an impact in the DRC,” he emphasized, “we can do it here.”

Following these remarks were a series of panel discussions, which featured leaders in government, industry, academia, and professional societies. These panels addressed the wide range of challenges and opportunities for growth within the research field. The panel “Women Researchers Leading Discovery” focused on the importance of investing in women and including female voices when discussing research, while the panel “Collaboration is Key: Exploring the evolving role of cross-sector partnerships as a catalyst to lifesaving progress,” emphasized the importance of understanding organizational culture and leadership in making partnerships work.

Inspired by Research!America’s 30th anniversary, the panel “Then, Now, Imagine” celebrated the amazing discoveries of the past, but highlighted the power of connecting with the public gain support and drive innovation for the future.

Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer, presented as the lunchtime keynote speaker. He underscored the key role vaccines have in avoiding preventable deaths, saying, “Vaccines are often called the greatest public health intervention of all time,” and charging the crowd to align public health priorities to ensure lifesaving resources are available wherever they are needed.

The final panel, titled “Leveraging Data to Accelerate Medical Progress,” explored issues of data security, data ownership, and the value of connecting data across platforms and networks.

Closing remarks were provided by Dr. Ned Sharpless, FDA Acting Commissioner who shared what inspires his drive for research, and what led him to where he is today. He also commented on current issues in research that must be addressed, such as the quality of data, stating, “By gathering better quality data, we can more effectively make scientific progress, find answers, help more people.”

The National Health Research Forum concluded with a promise of advancing science and health, not through the work of one agency or one business sector, but with collaboration of scientists and others from government, nonprofits, patient advocacy groups, and industry. 


Photo: (Left to Right) Steve Clemons, Editor at Large, The Hill; Tracey D. Brown, MBA, BChE, Chief Executive Officer, American Diabetes Association; Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer; Gary J. Nabel, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development, and Head of the North American R&D Hub, Sanofi

Leading the Charge Against Antimicrobial Resistance

On Thursday, October 24, 2019, Research!America hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AdvaMedDX, and BD entitled “Leading the Charge Against Antimicrobial Resistance: Partnering to Meet the Challenge.” The panelists included Michael Craig, Senior Advisor, CDC; Robin Patel, MD, President, ASM; Susan Van Meter, Executive Director, AdvaMedDx; Kalvin Yu, MD, Medical Director, Medical Informatics, BD; and the discussion was moderated by Amanda Jezek, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

In introductory remarks, Stefano Bertuzzi, Executive Director and CEO of ASM, led off with a call to action, pointing out that antimicrobial resistance is a major priority for public health. “Microbes know no borders. Microbes touch everything,” he noted. Dr. Patel provided context by explaining that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant, global public health crisis and, if nothing is done, will be the leading cause of death by 2050, exceeding the mortality of cancer. She shared as a physician, “I can no longer count on available antibiotics to work the way they used to,” due to rising antibiotic resistance. The panelists emphasized that multiple strategies and multi-sector action is crucial in approaching this complicated, international public health issue.

The moderator turned the discussion to strategies for action. Antibiotic stewardship is a tactic to reserve antibiotics for when they are needed. Dr. Patel pointed out, “any time you take an antibiotic, all the bacteria in your body get exposed to it,” allowing for resistant strains to form. Antibiotic stewardship is crucial to controlling the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria and preventing the formation of new types of resistance.

Susan Van Meter discussed the role of diagnostics, which serve as a “crucial tool in helping stewardship programs meet their goals.” Improved diagnostic techniques allow for physicians to determine the correct antibiotics to use as well as what antibiotics to avoid to deescalate resistance. There is a great deal of innovation taking place in this space to develop accurate, rapid diagnostic technology that bolsters clinician confidence and reduce misuse. Dr. Yu explained that optimizing and collating this diagnostic data and providing “context to frontline clinicians” will allow them to act quickly on emergent bacterial infections like sepsis. “The sooner we have the diagnosis the sooner we can get patients on the right therapy,” he added.

The panelists also discussed another key area of action: CDC’s AMR Challenge. A year-long effort concluding in August 2019, the AMR Challenge accelerated this fight against antimicrobial resistance across the globe by asking governments, private companies, and non-governmental organizations to commit to action to curb antimicrobial resistance by promoting antibiotic stewardship, preventing the spread of resistant germs, sharing data, among some of the goals. “This is a problem that’s not going away,” said CDC’s Michael Craig, noting that the problem of AMR is larger than previously estimated. He shared that the CDC had more than 350 organizations participate, including commitments from more than 10,000 healthcare facilities around the world to improving infection prevention and control, which helps stop the spread of resistant germs and prevents infections. And organizations in Africa committed to improve safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, which can help to stop infections, reduce the need for antibiotics, and slow the spread of antibiotic resistance. Though strides have been made in patient care, infection control, stewardship, and diagnostics, improvements need to be made in both research and treatment on a national and global level. “We want to be able to stop resistance where it starts,” Craig said.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) closed the briefing by recognizing the importance of the CDC in curbing AMR as a public health threat and highlighting that bipartisan cooperation, robust funding for research and advocacy are necessary to advance the research agenda and address AMR. The Senator remarked to attendees, “If there is ever a time to dedicate your advocacy, your voice, and your persuasion, the time is now.” Addressing antibiotic resistance, as expressed by the panelists, requires multi-sector collaboration, improvements of infection control, antibiotic stewardship, surveillance diagnostics, and data systems, as well as robust, consistent federal funding for research and infrastructure, which can mitigate the spread of antibiotic resistant disease.

See photos of the event here.

Membership Update

Individual Giving

Give to the Future of Research

Then. Now. Imagine. This is the theme marking the 30th anniversary of Research!America – 30 years of partnering together to advocate for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Together we have been front and center in every major effort to increase federal research investment and shape policies that drive faster medical and public health progress.

THEN, the average lifespan for an individual with sickle cell disease (SCD) was 14 years. NOW, children with SCD – like Adrienne’s daughter – are living into their forties or fifties, and beyond. IMAGINE a world where SCD is cured with gene therapy.

As we consider the potential impact research can make in the next 30 years, we are asking for your help in a different way, by making a gift. Your gift – at any level – fuels critical efforts ensuring scientific research and innovation remain a bedrock for generations to come.


Membership Appeal

Join the Alliance! Together our advocacy efforts will elevate the priority of life-saving research, medical progress, and innovation. Members have their fingers on the pulse of public attitudes about the nation’s research ecosystem — critical for shaping a legislative and regulatory climate that supports research and private sector innovation.

Learn more about member benefits and meet our members. Questions? Please contact Katie Goode, Director of Alliance Membership and Development.


New Members & Returning Members

Thank you to our 2019 returning members.

Welcome to our newest alliance members. New members approved by Board of Directors as of 10/23/19.

  • Association of Academic Health Centers
  • Go2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
  • Healthcare Institute of New Jersey
  • One Mind

Federal Policy Update

Since reaching a bipartisan deal to raise the budget caps earlier this year, Congressional leadership and members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have been working both publicly and behind the scenes to move Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations legislation forward.  None of the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government have been passed and signed into law.  At the end of September, Congress passed and President Trump signed a continuing resolution (CR) extending government funding beyond the end of FY19 through November 21.  Little progress has been made since then.

According to reports, congressional leaders are discussing a second CR that could flat-fund government until February or March of next year. There are even rumors that this second stop-gap funding measure could extend through the 2020 elections. Research!America is the midst of a #CRsStopProgress campaign; we are making use of social media and other outreach tools to underscore the negative impact of serial CRs and urge Congress and the White House to keep working until FY20 appropriations are signed into law.

Research!America is also helping to ensure the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) can continue its trailblazing work cultivating new, patient-centric research models.  The current CR temporarily extended PCORI’s ability to operate, but reauthorization is crucial to the Institute’s future. To join other advocates in working to sustain PCORI, visit the Friends of PCORI Reauthorization website.

The Research!America alliance is working on a range of other research-relevant issues, including participating in efforts to address the “valley of death” in R&D financing; leading a collaborative project aimed at empowering greater participation in clinical trials; working to prevent a virtual ban on critically important fetal tissue research; and making the case for repeal of the excise tax on medical device research and development.

Action Alert: CRs Stop Progress

Urge Congress to Complete Funding for Science

Members of Congress have passed a continuing resolution (CR), flat-funding the government until November 21, 2019. It is imperative that they complete the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) funding process before the November 21 deadline in order to minimize the negative impact of frozen funding levels and restrictions on new, desperately needed efforts to address pressing health challenges. Take action now!

Public Health Thank You Day is November 25, 2019

Please join us for Public Health Thank You Day on Monday, November 25, 2019. On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and leading public health organizations take time to recognize public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect us from disease, injury, and other health threats. From the ordinary to the extraordinary, these heroes keep our drinking water safe, air clean and children healthy. 

This campaign, now in its 13th year, is a great opportunity to recognize public health heroes in your community. There are three key ways to participate:


It’s easy to give a shout-out on social media on Monday, November 25, using the hashtag #PHTYD. Visit our website or download our toolkit for social media post ideas. You can recognize an individual hero you know, give thanks for a group of public health professionals such as lab technicians, epidemiologists, nurses, or health educators, or thank the public health community as a whole!

You can supplement your social media post (on Twitter, Facebook, or other media such as Instagram) with an image from our toolkit as well.


If social media’s not your thing, try local, traditional media. Our toolkit provides examples of a letter to the editor and press release you can customize for your local press. Use a letter to the editor to provide some recognition for public health heroes! Use the press release to highlight your institution or organization’s work or recognize the work of others. Be sure to submit it in time for a November 25 press time. And if yours gets published, please send it to us at


Know a great public health hero in your community? Download our certificate to present to them in person! If you do, be sure to send a photo and summary to so we can recognize your efforts!

Welcome New Interns at Research!America

Erin Brown is a second-year Master of Public Policy student concentrating on public health and social policy. Brown grew up in California where she obtained her undergraduate degree summa cum laude in political science from the University of California, San Diego. She has spent time in communications roles as an engagement intern with the San Diego County Taxpayers Association assisting with local policy review and communications as well as a communications intern at ArtPower, a non-profit supporting community enrichment by bringing in global artists. She also has experience as a research intern and development assistant with the Center for Responsive Politics where she tracked and analyzed campaign contributions from the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries, and assisted with donor management. Her research interests include health disparities, health services and medication access inequities, health policy communication, health insurance, and health outcomes. The Communications internship is supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.



Anna O’Dea is a Boston native, spending her first time in Washington D.C. as a Research!America science policy intern. A recent alum of Skidmore College, Anna graduated with a degree in Neuroscience with honors, and is interested in all things brain-y. Her position at Research!America was her first foray into the world of policy and has helped her learn about the importance of advocating for science. She hopes to use her experiences to inform her future plans in the world of research, science communication and advocacy. She also enjoys cooking, acting, and improv comedy.



Anna Zavodszky is a recent graduate of Stony Brook University where she earned her B.S. in biology and anthropology. Passionate about research, Anna has performed developmental biology research at the University at Albany studying the molecular factors that regulate organ growth. She also completed three years of biological anthropology research at Stony Brook studying the mammalian skeleton. Anna is interested in pursuing a career in public or global health and has particular interests in infectious diseases and women’s health. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, hiking, and dancing. Anna is currently a science policy intern.

Regular Features

President's Letter

As we move into the last months of the year without a Fiscal Year 2020 budget that should have been in place on October 1, we are working harder than ever to avoid further long extensions  — called Continuing Resolutions or CRs — because they don’t resolve anything! CRs undercut the confidence of young scientists whose future depends on a degree of assurance of support that is already structured to be highly competitive and challenging, without the added question marks raised by apparent disregard by the Congress. And Continuing Resolutions don’t advance medical progress the way we all want it to happen – quickly, because patients are waiting. Join us in our #CRsStopProgress campaign; send a message to decision makers that time is up.

Advocacy is an imperative for every stakeholder in the science community. Every year we honor individuals and organizations who excel in advocacy and inspire us to do more. Elsewhere in this issue you can read about the first round of awardees we have announced; please consider joining us in Washington on March 11, 2019 to honor them and re-commit to hard work ahead in what will then be an election year in full swing.  We are working ensure candidates for federal office, in particular, include a commitment to supporting discovery, development and delivery of solutions to what ails us.  Stay tuned to Research!America for suggestions of how you can participate.

And speaking of honoring, we will be joined by many of our members and partners in honoring public health heroes on the Monday before Thanksgiving, November 25, 2019. In this issue, we make it easy to call out individuals who often work under the radar, without fanfare, to protect the public’s health at home and across the globe, wherever and whenever health is at risk. Public Health Thank You Day is a way to show support and solidarity. Please take a moment to join us.

Member Spotlight: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Mission: People affected by MS can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever.

Founded by Sylvia Lawry as she searched for answers for her brother Bernard, who lived with multiple sclerosis, the National MS Society continues Ms. Lawry’s focus on finding solutions for people affected by MS.

Research is a core way to find answers, solutions and a cure for people with MS. The Society believes that robust research funding- across a variety of research pathways- is critical to accelerating pathways to a cure. Not only does the Society directly fund research, $1.06 billion to date, they foster research collaborations, convene leaders across different research initiatives and advocate for increases in federal funding for research and an environment conducive to accelerating research discoveries and delivering treatments. The Society is also a founding member of the International Progressive MS Alliance, a global initiative to overcome barriers to finding treatments and solutions for progressive MS.

Recently, the Society has focused on understanding the prevalence and incidence of MS in the United States. A Society-funded study published in February 2019 found that nearly one million people live with MS in the U.S., nearly double previous estimates. As a complement to this work, the Society has seen advocacy success in the establishment and initial funding of the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Understanding basic data about who lives with MS will significantly accelerate research by allowing more informed analysis of genetic and environmental risk factors,” said Bari Talente, executive vice president of advocacy. “This will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding geography, variances in gender, disease burden and other key factors for neurological conditions. The data will also allow for future planning of health care needs.”

The Society also advocates for funding for the National Institutes of Health, the MS Research Program in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and reauthorization for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The Society believes that approaching and supporting the full spectrum of research – from basic science to patient and health outcomes, will accelerate progress.

“Research!America has been a leading voice for the research community about the importance of predictable, sustainable funding increases for the U.S. science and public health agencies,” shares Bari Talente. “The polls that Research!America fields provide important information to support effective advocacy communications and help us understand where additional public education is needed.”

Media Matters October 2019


Sudip Parikh will join the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals early next year.



Dr. E. Albert Reece commented on the greater role of public health needs to play in “Weighing the Toll of Food Insecurity” in U.S. News & World Report.

Nancy Brown commented on heart and diabetes prevention in “New Healthy Drinks Guidelines for Kids: Skip the Soy, Avoid Sugars in U.S. News & World Report.



Dr. Victor Dzau was quoted on global preparedness for pandemics in “World not prepared for the next big pandemic: report” in Global News.



Dr. James Madara urged online platforms to work harder to fight dangerous vaping products in “AMA urges Facebook, Amazon and others to help combat illicit vaping sales” in Becker’s Hospital Revie.

Nancy Brown applauded bipartisan action to stop the vaping crisis in “Lawmaker introduces bill to limit nicotine in e-cigarettes” in Consumer Affairs. Also, “Hundreds of American Heart Association volunteers to meet with lawmakers” in Yahoo Finance.



The Honorable Michael Castle joined four other Delaware former governors and two former chief justices in support of the state’s current governor in “Former governors, chief justice back Carney in legal fight over political balance in courts” on Delaware Online.



Former Representative Bart Gordon joins a team to review content moderation in “TikTok wants to prove it’s not a new front in China’s information war” in Quartz.



Dr. Jay Gershen reflected on his tenure at the Northeast Ohio Medical University in “Jay Gershen Looks Back on a Decade of Change at NEOMED” on WKSU (Greater Cleveland).

Kweisi Mfume spoke at his friend Elijah Cummings’ funeral in “'We Lost A Statesman': Kweisi Mfume Reflects On Loss Of Rep. Elijah Cummings” on CBS Baltimore.


From Washington

Upcoming Events

U.S. Action for Women’s and Girls’ Health Security

Thursday, October 31, 2019 9:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Hart Senate Office Building Room 902, 120 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

Learn more and register.


Introduction to Drug and Device Law and Regulation for Patient Organizations

November 5-6, 2019

Join us to learn the essentials of drug and device law and how to engage with FDA to better support your organization’s advocacy efforts.

For this two-day program, FDLI brings together law, industry, and FDA experts with deep advocacy experience to equip patient organizations with an understanding of the legal tools and strategies available for interacting with the agency. Case studies will illustrate the opportunities for engagement and legal challenges facing patient organizations.

Learn more and register.


Thyroid Eye Disease Congressional Briefing

November 14, 2019

Thyroid eye disease (TED) is a serious, debilitating, and vision-threatening autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks muscles and other tissue behind and around the eyes. Learn more and register.

Public Health Thank You Day

November 25, 2019

Learn more!

NCCIH Hosts Research Symposium

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is a governmental agency that funds research “on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine.” Recently the center held a research symposium in honor of its 20th anniversary to examine the progress in complementary and integrative health research and explore the future of the field.

NCCIH Director Dr. Helene Langevin kicked off the symposium by sharing her story of how she was one of the first recipients of NCCIH funding. She had conceived a robotic device that could measure the pressure of acupuncture needle insertion, something she said “many people considered crazy at the time.” With the help of the NCCIH, however, she created the mechanical tool, which ended up illuminating how biological tissue reacts to the insertion of needles.

In his opening remarks, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins shared some of the work that makes NCCIH “a critically important member of the NIH community.” NCCIH has contributed to many of NIH’s pioneering initiatives, including the BRAIN initiative and All of Us research program. He also reported that NCCIH is one of many centers leading the new Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative or NIH HEAL Initiative.

NCCIH is also part of several new programs related to pain, including efforts to reduce opioid use, research on chronic low back pain, and behavioral research interventions. The agency highlighted new research being conducted on pain and pain management. In the Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies, guest speaker Dr. Lorimer Moseley of the University of South Australia discussed his research on pain and perception. One of his interests includes how education affects pain, and if patients knowing why they’re in pain can affect how much they hurt. A study Dr. Moseley presented showed that when patients suffering from pain are taught about the purpose of pain, to protect the body, it actually facilitates their recovery.  (Check out Dr. Moseley’s TED Talk)

The symposium also showcased the work of many early career pain scientists that have received NCCIH funding. A wide range of work was presented, including examining the genetic expression and cellular behavior of patients with pain, probing the neural circuits of pain in mice, understanding the psychological effects of instruction on pain perception in humans, and exploring the effectiveness of hot yoga and acupuncture on reducing pain in patients. Other segments of the symposium explored pain management in military and veteran populations.

In closing remarks, Dr. Langevin and NCCIH Deputy Director Dr. David Shurtlett discussed the future of integrative health research. They spoke of emphasizing recovery – recovery from pain, recovery from injury, and the importance of looking at the patient as a whole, such as integrating health and healthcare. The future work of the NCCIH has the potential to bring new discoveries and innovation in therapies to help patients and bring about better health for all.

Media Contacts

Robert Shalett
Director of Communications 

Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers