April is upon us and that means the appropriations season-like our spring weather-is heating up! And the season may very possibly extend beyond the November election, with a lame-duck Congress making key decisions. This is just one of many reasons to be engaged in what our chair, John Porter, is calling "the most important election in my lifetime." So much is at stake: the economic destiny of our nation, as well as delivering better health and quality of life, with the increases in productivity and cost saving that historically accompany research advances.
If you haven't read our very recent public opinion poll of likely voters, it is well worth your time. Voters have low confidence that the U.S. can retain our world leadership status in science and high expectations that we take steps to prevent this from happening. The voting public is on our side, in concept, but is not likely to become our advocates if stakeholders don't participate themselves. The election-year field is crowded with issues and advocates; stakeholders in research must speak out in much greater numbers than our community has accomplished thus far. We can't be content with mile-wide but only inch-deep public support, and we can't count on others to do our part for us.
The need for stronger, unified advocacy was one of the driving themes of our National Health Research Forum on March 14. The power of the day was such that all of us at Research!America are re-energized in pursuit of our mission. We know that advocates change history. Research advocates have done it before; we can do it again. Now is the time for us all to engage.