As we go to press, the nation remains in shock after the most deadly domestic gun massacre of our time. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims even as our advocacy goes out to elected representatives, urging them to stop erecting barriers to the conduct of research that can help us better understand gun violence as a public health challenge, as well as research that will identify effective ways to put what we know to work, sooner rather than later. As a nation, we have found and adopted both common sense and policy-driven solutions to other inherently hazardous, but also valued, aspects of our lives – cars and alcohol and swimming pools, to name just a few. Right now we are struggling with opioids and guns, and as long as they stay in the headlines they will stay on the priority list of policymakers. We urge advocates to speak up and show support for the public health, behavioral and biological research that we so desperately need.
Research matters. The Lasker and Nobel prizes this year highlight the value of taxpayer-supported research and public-private partnership in speeding medical progress. Advocacy matters, too. In addition to weighing in on gun violence and opioids, we urge advocates to weigh in with their elected representatives this month to assure that the major budget decisions and tax reform discussions now underway do not shortchange policies and funding for research that will improve health, drive economic prosperity, and contribute to national security.