Panelists at Research!America’s 2018 National Health Research Forum emphasized the importance of collaboration in accelerating innovation in a set of moderated panel discussions at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on September 6. “We can create more value in research through collaboration,” said Luiz Miguel Camargo, Ph.D., director, Innovation Networks, UCB.
Leaders in government, academia, patient advocacy, scientific societies, and industry also agreed that patients must be engaged in research in more meaningful ways. Gopal Khanna, director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), insisted that “we must focus attention on the patient,” and highlighted efforts to develop mobile applications and other tools to allow patients to communicate their perspectives. Greg Simon, president, Biden Cancer Initiative, Biden Foundation, issued a plea: “We need to ask patients: how do you want to live your life?”
Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director, National Institutes of Health (NIH), highlighted advances underway as part of NIH’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative, such as cell by cell mapping of the brain and deep brain stimulation. Good research is still being left “on the table,” he said, noting that only one out of five grants are NIH-funded. France Cordova, Ph.D., director, National Science Foundation (NSF) described some of the agency’s promising new efforts in brain science including Next Generation Networks for Neuroscience (NeuroNex) and CLARITY, a new process for 3D brain imaging. In a fireside chat with Susan Dentzer, president and CEO, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, Alex Azar II, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services discussed strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic including building the evidence on opioid alternatives for pain management, and efforts to reduce drug costs such as creating more competition with generics and a pathway for biosimilars. He also stressed patient engagement, a cornerstone of the NIH “All of us” initiative, which seeks to gather data from one million people living in the u.S. to accelerate research and improve health. Secretary Azar announced upcoming grants to 40 community health centers to ensure adequate representation of patients in the initiative.
National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar, the Forum’s breakfast speaker, provided an insightful overview of key races in the midterm elections and the state of political polarization. “Culture, race, and values are the driving forces now – more than the economy,” he said, adding that voters are acting against their economic self-interest.
You can re-watch a livestream of the event at https://bit.ly/2wV4crw.