Tag Archives: #curesnotcuts

Medical Research Saves Lives, Provides Hope and Fuels our Economy.

We NEED CURES, NOT CUTS.

Sequestration arbitrarily stifles federal investment in national priorities like medical research and innovation, at the expense of America and Americans.
Deficit reduction is important, but there are ways to achieve it that do not set out nation back, threatening our global leadership and shortchanging the health and safety of the American people.

Tell Congress: WE NEED CURES, NOT CUTS!

World Cancer Day

Today is World Cancer Day. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly one of every four deaths. Today, the American Cancer Society, the American Association for Cancer Research  and many others organizations are joining forces to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions about cancer, while encouraging policy makers to make cancer research a national priority.

What can you do?

  • Call and email your representatives.
  • Make some noise. Join the conversation on social media using hashtags #cancerresearch, #WorldCancerDay, #cancer and #curesnotcuts.
  • Take a look at the list of World Cancer Day events for more ways to get involved.

Did you know? Over the past 40 years, mortality rates for childhood cancer have been reduced significantly, dropping 66% during this time period due to early detection techniques and treatment. Learn more, here.

Federal funding for cancer research is in steady decline. Now is the time to tell your representatives that funding for cancer research is not a luxury but a MUST for improving Americans’ health. We need cures not cuts!

November Marks American Diabetes Month

diabetesDid you know that nearly 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a Research!America member?

During the month of November, the ADA, along with other organizations, will raise awareness and understanding about this increasingly prevalent disease and ways to prevent it. This year’s theme is “A Day in the Life of Diabetes,” because diabetes doesn’t stop; it’s 24/7, 365 days a year. Visit ADA’s website, Twitter, and Facebook page to learn more about ways you can participate.

Researchers are making progress in identifying the genetics and “triggers” that predispose some individuals to develop Type 1 diabetes, but more research is needed to combat the disease. Tell Congress that we need more #curesnotcuts to help improve diabetes prevention and treatment. Speak up now!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pinkribbonIt’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Although many great strides in new treatments and therapies for breast cancer have been made, patients and their families are still waiting desperately for a cure. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

This month, organizations will raise awareness and funding for breast cancer, and it’s important that we continue advocating to policy makers, media and the public about the importance of funding research at the level of scientific opportunity. Throughout October, please visit Research!America members American Cancer Society and American Association for Cancer Research to learn more about preventative care, new research and ways you can help make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Now is the time to tell Congress that we need #curesnotcuts; we need access to quality breast cancer screenings, diagnostic services and treatment, and care for all women. Speak up for breast cancer research!

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley- Warning: A government shutdown could be dangerous to your health

Dear Research Advocate:

Congress is on the brink of forcing a government shutdown on Tuesday, October 1. The implications of a shutdown are being subsumed by coverage of the political theater taking place. That is an injustice to Americans, who will be affected.  History is illustrative on this point.

During the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, the NIH turned away new patients at the Clinical Center. Research studies housed at federal institutions ceased for the duration of the shutdown; researchers and leaders of industry, academia as well as in government agencies were unable to plan effectively, wasting time and money; the CDC was forced to stop disease surveillance programs, leaving us unacceptably vulnerable to emerging health threats and even pandemics; NSF could not release grant funds, resulting in a backlog of thousands of proposals, and those were just a few of numerous effects. Compounding the impact this time around is the costly toll that sequestration — on top of a decade of stagnant funding — has already taken in undermining the promise of research and innovation.

A recent New York Times op-ed by Thomas Friedman that was published in other newspapers underscored for me exactly how high the stakes are right now, and a Roll Call op-ed by Morton Kondracke provides additional context.  These two voices are prominent among this week’s sampling from an increasing number of informed individuals who are articulating what all the trends show:  the US is on a path to scientific, and potentially general, decline.  Add to this that the US is already ranked far below where we should and aspire to be in health indicators.  The question is:  why are these twin realities not receiving more attention from our elected officials? Too few Americans are demanding common sense from Washington; please raise your voice louder and longer, and do it now. Then urge everyone in your network to do the same.  Help us deliver this message to your members of Congress — we want #curesnotcuts! Continue reading →

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: America can do better

Dear Research Advocate:

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the clarion call for equality for all Americans brings to mind the work still to be done to address health disparities. For example, cancer incidence and death rates are significantly higher for African-Americans than for all other ethnic groups, and Hispanic and African-American adults are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have diabetes than white adults. Our polling shows that nearly 75% of Americans believe it is imperative to conduct research to understand and combat health disparities. As a community of advocates, we need to press policy makers to keep this unacceptable gap in health care and health outcomes in their sights. America can do better.

As September nears, Congress returns to Washington with a looming fiscal debate. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reports that the debt ceiling will need to be raised earlier than anticipated, possibly as soon as mid-October. The urgency of this deadline takes away any buffer time on which congressional leadership may have hoped to rely. A funding measure for FY14, sequestration, the debt limit, reforms and a government shutdown may well be contenders in the upcoming debate. It will certainly keep advocates for medical and health research busy — fighting sequestration, pushing for greater research funding, pressing for the exemption of user fees from sequestration (should the across-the-board spending cuts remain in place), and even weighing in on the impact of tax and entitlement reform on medical innovation, although it is unlikely that such a reform effort would happen now. Continue reading →

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Is a do-nothing Congress a public health threat?

Dear Research Advocate:

Last week, I wrote about the international trade deficit our country faces. This week, I’d like to focus on the budget deficit. From 2003 to 2011, Medicare and Medicaid spending grew 74% while our economy only grew 35%. With that kind of differential, no government can balance its budget. We need research to address disabling and costly illnesses, but that won’t be enough in and of itself to bridge the gap. We also need tax and entitlement reform that preserves needed services, squeezes out waste and inefficiency (by the way, that’s why we must also fight to protect health economics research, health services research and other research that optimizes health care financing and delivery) and promotes pro-innovation tax changes that are designed to sustain a prosperous nation.

One vocal advocate for a long-term view of the steps our nation must take to secure human and economic progress, including committing to ample and stable public support for medical research, is The Honorable John Porter, Research!America chair and former U.S. representative. He recently penned an op-ed published on CNN.com and elsewhere titled “A do-nothing Congress isn’t healthy.” Mr. Porter makes it clear that we must “view research through the prism of future generations” to properly set a legislative course towards prosperity and good health, and we must not delay. Continue reading →

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Finally, a breakthrough in classification of R&D

Dear Research Advocate:

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reclassified research and development costs from an “expense” to an “investment” when calculating GDP. We think Members of Congress should do the same. Common sense tells us R&D is an investment, not an expense; in general conversation we all talk about R&D as an investment, but it isn’t accounted for that way on the federal books. The arguments we’ve been making are now further bolstered by the BEA’s decision. Spread the word!

One hundred and sixty five university presidents and chancellors, representing all 50 states, have called on the president and Congress to reverse the pending “innovation deficit” in an open letter published last week in Politico before the August recess. With more than half of the economic growth in the U.S. since WWII attributable to innovation — largely due to the nation’s commitment to higher education and federally supported research — our society and our economy are at risk if we continue on today’s trajectory.

These are arguments to use as we work to keep research and innovation in the conversation during the August recess. We have launched a reprise of our social media campaign using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Please take part, so that policy makers, at home in their districts this month, get the message loud and clear that Americans want medical research to be protected from indiscriminate cuts; so they hear that research and innovation require committed, robust investment. Earlier this week, I was on “Radio Smart Talk” on WITF-FM, a Pennsylvania NPR affiliate. During that show I spoke about the damaging effect of the sequester and fielded questions from listeners. When making your case, you might find it useful to pull from those radio soundbites or from the points we contributed to an editorial that appeared in the The (Newark, NJ) Star-Ledger. Continue reading →

Join us (again!) for a Social Media Engagement Campaign for August Congressional Recess

The August congressional recess is here! Members of Congress are back home for the month long break. Now’s the time to speak up and urge policy makers to make research for health a higher national priority before they return to Capitol Hill and make decisions that will affect the health and prosperity of our nation. Join Research!America’s social media congressional recess campaign, Medical Research is at Risk. We Need Cures, Not Cuts! Customize your messages with statistics, patient/researcher stories, examples of innovative research, and descriptions of the impact of sequestration to help make research part of the national conversation on social media and beyond.

Follow us on Twitter @ResearchAmerica and use the hashtag #curesnotcuts. We will also be posting updates on our Facebook page and we encourage you to engage your representatives on social media channels as well.

Sample Twitter messages:

  • .@RepJohnDoe, sequestration=fewer doses of vaccines for the flu, measles, whooping cough & hepatitis. We need #curesnotcuts!
  • If we don’t act soon, #sequestration & additional cuts will endanger private sector innovation. #curesnotcuts  http://bit.ly/19dKiHZ
  • .@AHRQNews is the lead agency funding research that has reduced deadly hospital infections, which kill 100,000 each year. #curesnotcuts
  • Impact of #sequestration & other budget changes to @CDCgov = $40 million reduction in HIV prevention. #curesnotcuts http://1.usa.gov/18vU19O
  • If user fees paid by industry are subject to sequestration, @US_FDA’s budget will lose $85M, slowing access to breakthroughs. #curesnotcuts Continue reading →

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Dispelling a Few Myths

Dear Research Advocate:

Myth #1: Congress doesn’t pay attention during the August recess. Not true! Many town hall meetings are planned. Since the debt ceiling and appropriations negotiations are coming up in September, the August recess is actually a very important time for advocacy. Use this month to drive the point home that medical research should not be subjected to budget cuts by attending a town hall meeting, meeting with district staff and participating in our social media campaign, #curesnotcuts. Click here for sample messages, or draw from a recent op-ed penned by The Honorable John Edward Porter, Research!America chair. The op-ed ran in several McClatchy-Tribune newspapers across the country last weekend. In it, he highlights the dangers that indiscriminate budget cuts pose to our medical and health research ecosystem.

Myth #2: It makes no difference when scientists speak out. On the contrary, one of the most effective strategies for promoting and protecting research is public engagement by scientists. It may seem like a waste of time or an unjustifiable obligation, but if scientists don’t speak up about their work, the funding that allows that work may evaporate. In a recent entry on his website, David Eagleman, a PhD researcher who recently received an award from the Society for Neuroscience, makes the case that the benefits (such as inspiring critical thinkers, stemming the flow of bad information, informing public policy and more) clearly outweigh the cost of time to engage in outreach and advocacy. For those ready to engage, some important points and valuable tips on how to communicate clearly and effectively were highlighted in yesterday’s Nature blog. Research!America Board member and AAAS CEO Alan Leshner is among the experts quoted. Continue reading →

Medical Research Saves Lives, Provides Hope and Fuels our Economy

We NEED CURES, NOT CUTS

Sequestration’s arbitrary, across-the-board budget cuts to defense and non-defense spending have ravaged (and will continue to ravage) our research enterprise. Sequestration and the inability of Congress to pass a budget will dramatically reduce funding for medical research and critical public health functions for years to come. Funding cuts are stopping highly promising research in its tracks, squandering exciting new potential for treatments and cures for millions of Americans who are waiting for them.

We can’t let this continue. Deficit reduction is important, but there are ways to achieve it that do not compromise American lives and American competitiveness. Arbitrary budget cuts that abandon medical research are wrong. Tell Congress: WE NEED CURES, NOT CUTS!

Take action now.

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: “Good” news that might not last

Dear Research Advocate:

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase NIH funding by $307 million in FY14, an increase largely due to the unwavering support of Labor-HHS subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin and Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski. The Senate bill also increases funding for the CDC by $1.6 billion over FY13. It is important to note that the Senate bill does not include sequestration reductions, but Mikulski has vowed to fight these dangerous, continued cuts. (See my brief statement on this week’s Senate action.) We all realize that these proposed funding levels are not adequate to capitalize on the current opportunity in science and respond robustly to the needs of patients and their families, but they are significantly better than what the House has in store. The overall funding level in the House Labor-HHS bill, which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, is 26% less than the Senate’s proposal, leaving the outcome of any kind of budget deal bleak indeed. “Compromise” between the two houses would be significantly worse than a continuing resolution, and sequestration is still in place. In short, the welcome action of the Senate is not likely to become the law of the land.  We have work to do!

Congress can be an insular place, as evidenced by cuts policy makers are weighing for research and other basic government functions. Outside Congress, the implications of underfunding are all too real. Take the story of Navy veteran and cancer patient Bryan Fazio, who exemplifies American values and whose story is a testament to the importance of continued research. We may lose this amazing young man, but with continued research we can save others struggling with this disease. Please join me in contacting Members of Congress and urging them to support robust funding for health and research during the FY14 appropriations process and beyond.

Lawmakers across the pond recognize the importance of investing in research. British Chancellor George Osborne announced a capital investment commitment of £1.1 billion ($1.661 billion) a year in the science budget through the end of the decade, influenced by the strong case made by the U.K. National Academies for the economic benefits of research (see report). The U.K., under a conservative government and with an austerity budget, has made a national commitment to science and research. They are not alone. Australia’s federal government recently announced a $13.5 million ($12.42 million U.S.) investment in research to improve primary care, including a research partnership with Canada. Other nations are following suit and ramping up research; isn’t it ironic that the U.S. wrote the playbook but now appears to be ceding global leadership? I don’t think it is a choice the American people are making. Based on our polling data and a number of recent radio interviews around the nation, I have come to the conclusion that Americans are taking for granted that policy makers are giving research a high priority, and since policy makers are not hearing from their constituents, they are not thinking twice about cutting research as part of deficit reduction. People are surprised to find out that research isn’t the priority it once was; surprised to learn about cuts that have already occurred; and openly shocked to hear about further cuts being proposed. I implore you to join me in setting the record straight and connecting the dots for people you know who might be taking research funding for granted. We must inform Americans and then translate the shock of understanding into advocacy. We have been urging more Americans to speak out via Twitter using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Please join in.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

Join us for a 4th of July Congressional Recess Social Media Engagement Week, July 1-5

U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

As July 4th approaches, we have another opportunity to contact elected officials via social media during the Congressional recess (July 1 – 5) to drive home the message that medical innovation should be protected from further cuts.

Each day we will highlight a specific theme that can be customized with your statistics and patient/researcher stories. For example, on Wednesday we’ll focus on the drug discovery pipeline because basic research fuels private sector innovation which translates into new diagnostics, devices and products to improve the health of all Americans.

Follow us on Twitter @ResearchAmerica and use the hashtag #curesnotcuts to join in the national conversation. We will also be posting updates on our Facebook page and we encourage you to engage your representatives on Facebook and Twitter as well. Please take time out of your holiday weekend to help make medical and health research a higher national priority. Continue reading →

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Help set our nation’s sights high on the Fourth of July

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. Continue reading →

Call on Congress to take action and give America cures, not cuts

As the Memorial Day Congressional recess ends, we wrap up our week of social media engagement with a strong message to our representatives: go back to Washington, DC and give us cures, not cuts! Medical and health research has already improved the quality of life for so many Americans. Thanks to cancer research we have better treatments for melanoma and cardiovascular research  has yielded drugs and devices that have saved lives across the U.S.

So many scientific developments are at risk without sustained federal funding. The need for research in neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis is significant. Scientists agree that sequestration is already hampering disease focused research and driving scientists away from research careers here in America. Will policymakers ignore the needs of the American people? Continue reading →