Tag Archives: DoD

Tell Congress to Protect Medical and Health Research

To protect medical and health research, policy makers must eliminate sequestration. This remains Research!America’s top-line message, because it is sequestration that poses the greatest threat to all discretionary funding, including medical and health research conducted by NIH, CDC, FDA, NSF, AHRQ, DOD … and the list goes on. Advocates for medical and health research have made a huge impact over the years on funding and policies supportive of medical and health research, including playing a key role in reducing sequestration in 2013. We are asking you to weigh in again to help address sequestration in FY14 and FY15.

On Wednesday, the co-chairs of the committee charged with establishing an overall budget number for FY14 struck a deal that would establish this top-line number for both FY14 and FY15. Under this agreement, the sequestration cuts would be reduced by $50-$60 billion over the two-year period (a reduction of approximately 30% each year). While this modest reduction is less than hoped for, it does signal progress in the fight against sequestration. The task now is to assure this or a better deal passes both the House and Senate by December 13.

Please contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to vote in favor of a significant reduction in sequestration for FY14 and FY15 as a down payment on eliminating sequestration.

Take action now.

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VA Health Care

Last week, a briefing sponsored by the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) brought the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Research and Development program to Capitol Hill.  Two researchers – John McQuaid, Ph.D., of San Francisco VA Medical Center and Daniel Gottlieb, M.D., M.P.H., of VA Boston Healthcare System – shared their work to advance health outcomes for veterans.   The topics discussed varied, including substance abuse, phantom pain, depression, and sleep apnea, and represented just a small fraction of the research conducted by VA Research and Development. The mission of the VA research team was clear: we as a nation have the responsibility to apply science to veterans’ care in order to achieve the highest level of care for those who served this country.

In order to reach that goal, the many players in the health research ecosystem need to work together.  The speakers described the system as interdependent, highlighting the “cross-pollination” across the various public, private, and academic research systems.  VA Research and Development has successfully partnered with other government agencies – including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Research and Healthcare Quality – in order to maximize the reach and scope of their research.  Examples from the San Francisco VA Medical Center model promoted the unique role of non-governmental organizations, such as non-profits, in linking federal and private research partnerships.  Strategic collaboration can leverage collective resources for research during this era of tight budgets and allow for improved health outcomes for our veterans.  To learn more about the important research conducted through the VA Research and Development program, please click here.

Member Spotlight: The American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Karen Goraleski

Karen Goraleski

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. Continue reading →

Climate Change May Increase Threat of NTDs in the U.S.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted a renewed discussion about climate change. Political leaders and climate scientists alike have raised concerns about the relationship between global warming and an increase in the number of extreme weather events. In addition to these concerns, climate change may also increase the threat of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) here in the U.S. NTD transmission depends heavily on environmental conditions and warming temperatures may increase the severity or change the patterns of these diseases.

For example, funded by a grant from the Department of Defense, researchers at Texas Tech determined that climate change will allow dengue to thrive in the U.S. Historically found only in tropical regions, rising temperatures will allow the range of dengue-infected mosquitoes to shift north, increasing the risk of dengue within the continental U.S. We may already be seeing the first evidence of this shift – three cases of dengue fever have been reported in Florida in the past few weeks. Similarly, climate change is one suspected culprit in this year’s West Nile outbreak, as CDC officials note that unusually warm weather in 2012 may have played a role.

However, additional research is necessary to fully understand the impact of climate change on the range and transmission of NTDs. Even experts in the field have called for more research into the issue, arguing that “not enough attention is being paid to climate change in relation to NTD control.” They recommend improving NTD surveillance systems and increasing investment in field research, which will not only allow for the establishment of more effective NTD control programs worldwide, but will help the U.S.  better understand and protect against these diseases here at home.

-Morgan McCloskey, global health intern