Dear Research Advocate:
Setting our nation’s sights high, rather than watching Rome burn; that’s the advice embedded in a recent op-ed authored by John R. Seffrin, PhD (CEO of the American Cancer Society and Research!America Board Member) and Michael Caligiuri, MD (CEO of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Center Hospital and Solove Research Institute). The authors advocate establishing a national plan, one that puts political differences aside and focuses on combating deadly and tremendously costly disease.
There is a compelling argument to be made that if our nation wants to sustain a balanced budget, it must deploy a disease moonshot. If our nation wants to protect the health and safety of Americans, lead medical progress instead of abandoning it, and fix the debt, health and medical research must be treated as a top national priority. Advocacy is a path that can take us there, if enough of us travel it and we raise our voices loud enough. Join us next week as we continue our national “#curesnotcuts” social media campaign during the 4th of July Congressional Recess. Check here for more information including sample messages. An article in the Portland Tribune and the ongoing regional radio interviews that I’m conducting over the recess are examples of recent media that effectively frame what’s at stake.The goal is to keep research in the news and in the hearts and minds of our nation’s decision-makers.
We can’t just talk about research in broad terms and hope to get our point across, we must illustrate the many ways research advances medical progress. FasterCures’ Hill briefing this week did just that, highlighting the value of translational medicine. It featured remarks by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-07) and a distinguished panel of industry, patient and NIH leaders. A Coalition for the Life Sciences’ Hill briefing called “Why Pharma Needs the NIH” underscored why public investment is needed to achieve medical progress. I can picture a part two of this briefing entitled: “Why Patients Need Both.” The future of innovation depends on policies that advance both publicly and privately-funded contributions to the research pipeline.
Research!America Emeritus Director William R. Brinkley, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine and 2012 President of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas, calls on researchers to become “citizens of science” in a blog post this week, urging scientists to engage lawmakers, and to start taking an active role in advocacy early in their career. If more science leaders emulate the work of Bill Brinkley, we can ramp up the impact of advocacy for years to come.
Next Thursday is July 4th and a holiday for my weekly letter. I urge you to use the two minutes you gain to use the hashtag “#curesnotcuts” on social media and encourage our elected representatives to set partisanship aside and their sights high. Our nation can maintain and widen our global lead in the bioscience arena, but not without courageous leaders.