By ASTMH Executive Director Karen A. Goraleski
The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is an international organization comprised of scientists, clinicians and program professionals who work to promote global health through the prevention and control of infectious diseases. ASTMH recognizes that global health is America’s health and America’s health is global health. It is vitally important for the broad research community – from basic through implementation and evaluation – to actively support a vibrant and innovative research enterprise. Everyone benefits from a strong U.S. investment in research.
U.S. budget challenges threaten to derail the substantial gains made by tropical medicine research. Sequestration will restrict the already reduced resources for global health research and development programs at the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Defense. In fact, we’re already seeing some effects – the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has had to dial back its efforts on a promising malaria vaccine.
ASTMH has been vocal with policymakers about the wrong-headed impact of sequestration on global health research programs around the world—and here in the U.S. Most recently, we were a partner in the recent Rally for Medical Research . We also joined with 3,000 other organizations by signing on to a joint letter to Congress outlining the devastating impact sequestration will have on medical research, infrastructure, job training, public health and myriad other core government functions.
Another pressing budget issue is the federal travel cut policy that is preventing thousands of government researchers from attending scientific conferences, such as ASTMH’s Annual Meeting. Though the policy is well-intentioned, its implementation has been over-zealous, ultimately preventing U.S. scientists from collaborating in face-to-face forums where research results are shared, partnerships are reinforced and new global alliances are formed. ASTMH has been actively raising this issue with lawmakers and advocating for a more measured approach.
To learn more about ASTMH research and advocacy activities, visit them on the web, Facebook, and follow them on Twitter. You also see ASTMH in action on Instagram and YouTube. Research!America thanks ASTMH and Karen Goraleski for their long-standing support for global health initiatives and research into topics including neglected tropical disease, the focus of our upcoming forum in New Orleans on Wednesday, May 15.