Be sure to vote. It’s a critical obligation of citizenship as well as an opportunity for advocacy. Your vote is your expression of priorities and that is advocacy! Regardless of the outcome of the election, stakeholders in research will have our work cut out for us in weeks and months ahead. First up for the Congress is the necessary business of completing several appropriations bills, including those that fund the FDA and NSF. There is bipartisan support for these but never a guarantee that Congress will act; that’s why your advocacy matters. Advocacy also matters in the drive to make the medical device tax permanent before the current Congress wraps up. (Find out more elsewhere in this issue.) And, advocacy matters in assuring that the Senate acts to confirm Dr. Kelvin Drogemeier, an atmospheric scientist, as Director of the Office of Science Technology Policy.
In the new Congress, we must all advocate to eliminate sequestration — if we don’t, we could be looking at as much as a 25% cut to health research agencies. That’s right, one quarter of the budget could be wiped out. Think of the message that sends to patients (sorry, medical progress is on hold) and to young scientists (head for a different career). If you haven’t already signed on to receive my weekly electronic letter and our timely advocacy alerts, please do so now. Just visit our website at http://bit.ly/2OjBiHZ. And mark your calendars for Public Health Thank You Day on November 19.
A final word — when your new or re-elected representatives are known, write them each a letter. Thank them for serving the public’s interest and urge them to be champions for medical progress by fully supporting the policies and finding that drive research for health.