Research Australia has released its 2013 public opinion poll which reveals strong support for funding health and medical research. The findings provide an interesting backdrop for the country’s parliamentary elections this year. Research Australia asked respondents their views on what priorities the Federal Government should be focusing on over the next 2 – 3 years. Three significant health issues ranked high in the results: improving the hospital and healthcare systems, more funding for health and medical research and increasing funding and programs for preventative healthcare. Australians value a wide range of research, from basic research resulting in new discoveries, to translational research, which turns new discoveries into treatments, devices, policies and new practices. In fact, 59% of Australians see health and medical research as part of the solution to rising health care costs compared to 83% of Americans who believe medical research is important to reducing health care costs in a December 2012 poll commissioned by Research!America. Most of the findings in the Research Australia poll are consistent with the opinions of Americans regarding the importance of health and medical research in improving the health care system, addressing health and economic challenges and sharing personal health data. Nearly 80% of Australians said they’re willing to share their personal health records for research purposes while 66% of Americans said they were willing to do so in the December Research!America poll. But the percentage rose in a May 2013 poll – 73% of Americans said they’re willing to share personal health information to advance research assuming appropriate privacy protections are in place. Read more of Research Australia’s public opinion poll here.
Research Australia is an alliance of 160 members and supporters advocating for health and medical research in Australia. Research!America president and CEO Mary Woolley was a plenary speaker at Research Australia’s 3rd Annual Philanthropy for Health & Medical Research Conference in Sydney on August 20, 2013. She talked about health and medical research in the U.S. in the era of sequestration: The Increased Importance of Collaborating and Philanthropy. See photos here.