A Weekly Advocacy Message from Research!America: First things first

Dear Research Advocate:

Washington isn’t ignoring research; far from it. Legislation was recently signed into law that allows appropriators to reallocate federal funding from the Republican and Democratic conventions to children’s health research; proposals have been introduced that could ultimately provide supplemental federal funding streams for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and several other health research programs; and some Members of Congress have once again launched an attack on the National Science Foundation, demonizing certain projects as a means of casting doubt on scientific freedom. Unless you’re playing Jeopardy!, answers do not precede questions. Science without freedom is not science. More on that in future letters.

Washington isn’t ignoring research, but the spotlight keeps missing the most pressing question: Will Congress do something now to accelerate medical progress, or will FY15 mark another year of neglect?

The NIH budget is lower today than it was in 2012. How have we fallen so far behind? Is it no longer important to conquer diseases that kill children, to do more for wounded warriors, to stop devastating conditions like Alzheimer’s and cancer?

Research!America is launching a campaign, Medical Progress NOW!, to refocus attention on the current appropriations process and the opportunity it presents to recommit to medical progress. As always, your participation is critical to the success of this effort.

We ask that you:

  1. Send a message to your representatives in Washington;
  2. Spread the word on social media;
  3. Take this call to action and run with it. Send us your ideas for reaching Congress at advocacy@researchamerica.org.

And the more media attention, the better. We’d be glad to help if you’d like to write an op-ed or letter to the editor. Speaking of op-eds, Research!America Board member Harry Johns wrote an inspiring one on the need for Alzheimer’s research in The Huffington Post. Op-eds like his are a terrific means of conveying to policy makers that not acting to increase medical research funding is a decision in its own right. It’s a decision that breeds suffering instead of reducing it, that accepts spiraling health care costs instead of combating them.

The Medical Progress NOW! initiative and our voter education project, Ask Your Candidates!, reinforce one another. Bottom line, we need more champions in Congress, now and going forward, who are willing to roll up their sleeves and fight for medical progress — not as a future goal but as an immediate and ongoing imperative. I hope you will partner with us on both Medical Progress NOW! and Ask Your Candidates! When it comes to medical progress, the price of wasted time is simply too high.

Sincerely,

Ellie Dehoney

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