Tag Archives: medical research funding

Majority of Americans Believe Another Government Shutdown Likely in Coming Months; Last One Harmful to Medical Research

New National Poll Reveals Many Respondents Predict China will Surpass U.S.
in Science and Innovation by 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—December 3, 2013—Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans say it’s likely there will be another government shutdown in the months ahead as Congress continues to debate deficit and budget issues, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America and the American Society of Hematology. This sentiment is shared across party affiliations: Democrats (66%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (65%). There is also consensus across party lines that government dysfunction has consequences. A majority of Americans (57%) say the shutdown in October caused significant harm to many government-funded programs including medical research, defense and education. Democrats (68%) and about half of Republicans (49%) and Independents (51%) agree.

On the topic of sequestration, a plurality (44%) says Congress must tackle tax and entitlement reform to reduce the deficit instead of continuing the 10 years of across-the-board cuts; another 16% say sequestration is not the right way to reduce the deficit. Less than a quarter (23%) believe the across-the-board cuts are a way of ensuring that many government programs share the pain, and 17% say they’re not sure. In general, 62% of Americans say they’re concerned about the long-term effects of sequestration on advances in health care such as the development of new drugs and other treatments.

“Our poll demonstrates uneasiness among many Americans about the ramifications of deep spending cuts to programs that are critical to our health and well-being,” said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. “Americans want Congress to reach a budget deal that protects medical and health research, at least in part because of concern that our nation is at risk of losing our global leadership position in science and innovation.” Continue reading →

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Injuries, Septic Shock, and Inflammation in Men and Mice

Karen Elkins, PhD

Karen Elkins, PhD

By Karen Elkins, PhD, a biomedical scientist and science writer currently working in the field of microbiology and immunology.

How does the physiology of the human body respond to severe injuries and septic shock? Funded by NIH, over 50 researchers have been working on a decade-long set of large projects to analyze human tissues taken directly from seriously ill patients. The goal of this ambitious effort is to understand the body-wide inflammation that accompanies major injuries like trauma with blood loss, major burns, and septic shock from invasive bacterial infections. Continue reading →

Research!America’s President, Mary Woolley, participates in PAN Advocacy panel discussion

Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley joins James “J.P.” Paluskiewicz, deputy chief of staff to Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-TX); Cynthia Rice, vice president for government relations, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Israel Robledo, Parkinson’s Action Network Texas state director; and Lisa Shulman, MD, professor of neurology, University of Maryland in a panel discussion about the power of research advocacy. The panel, hosted by Parkinson’s Action Network and moderated by PAN CEO and Research!America Board member Amy Comstock Rick, JD, discusses how to be an effective advocate and communicate effectively with congressional staff to achieve your advocacy goal.

When asked what makes a good advocate, Woolley advises that we must clearly articulate our case, listen to the decision makers’ questions and answer them as best we can. We should be authentic and personal in our communications. Woolley also notes in her comments that many people can be advocates; in fact, public opinion polls show that the public expects patients, researchers and clinicians to all participate alongside Congress in shaping policy.

For advocates who can’t make it to Washington, DC, Woolley has practical advice on ways to advocate from home. During the congressional recess, lawmakers and their staff typically schedule meetings in their district offices with constituents and hold town halls. Advocates should try to meet with their representatives when they’re home for the recess, tell their personal stories related to research to local media, and submit letters to the editor in hometown papers to spread the message. Support for medical research is one of many advocacy topics discussed on Capitol Hill; hearing the same message from a home district shows our representatives how important the issue is to their constituents. And don’t underestimate the impact of a single email or phone call; the volume and passion of the advocacy message for medical research matters.

Woolley also talks about the need to remember the long-term goal and that this is “an iterative process.” There will be steps forward as well as apparent failures, but we can learn from everything. And with reduced funding for research under sequestration, it is important that medical research advocates continue to work together to promote research advocacy as a whole — not promote one disease or area of research over another — for the benefit of the entire research community and health of Americans.

Advocates should be aware that there is a Congressional recess this week and next, making this an opportune time to speak with your representatives at home!

Watch the full panel discussion for insight and advice from other panel members.

Toddler “functionally cured” of HIV

On March 4, NIH-supported investigators reported the first ever “functional cure” of HIV in a toddler in Mississippi. The child received antiretroviral drugs within hours of birth and continued on the drugs for 18 months, when treatment was stopped. Despite discontinued treatment, the toddler no longer had detectable levels of HIV when seen by medical professionals 6 months later. Subsequent tests confirmed that the child had indeed been “functionally cured” of HIV. Although more research is necessary to see if these results can be duplicated, scientists believe this provides hope for the hundreds of thousands of children born with HIV each year. NIH funding not only supported investigators involved in monitoring the child, but also played an instrumental historical role in developing the antiretroviral drugs that were used to cure the child.  We are one step closer to a world free from HIV.

In light of this breakthrough, it is disturbing and sadly ironic that Congress and the White House on Friday permitted federal funding for biomedical research to be cut — after years of sustained or increased funding – as part of sequestration.  How much progress will be squandered if these cuts, and the indifference to American priorities they exemplify,  aren’t reversed?

Sequestration is not a Smart Strategy for Reducing the Deficit, Say Small Business Leaders

Most Say Federally Funded Basic Research is Important to Private Sector Innovation

Alexandria, Va.—February 26, 2013— More than two-thirds (67%) of small business leaders say basic research funded by the federal government is important to private sector innovation, according to a new nationwide survey of small business owners/operators commissioned by Research!America. In addition, nearly half (45%) say medical research funding to universities and other non-governmental research institutions should not be cut as part of sequestration, and a plurality (40%) say that such across-the-board cuts are not a smart strategy for reducing the deficit.

The survey findings also reveal that small businesses support the federal government’s role in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Seventy percent of respondents say STEM education is important to the future of their business and the federal government should increase funding for those programs.

“It is striking that small business owners, the backbone of our economy comprising nearly 80% of business leaders nationwide, strongly value federal support for research and recognize the major role it plays in spurring private sector growth,” said Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley.

A majority of respondents (85%) say it’s very important or somewhat important to reduce the federal debt and deficit and to cut federal corporate and individual tax rates (81%). Among the top strategies for deficit reduction are entitlement reform (25%), eliminating targeted corporate tax breaks (22%) and closing tax loopholes (21%). Seventy-seven percent say the rising cost of health care, a major chunk of our national debt, is important to their businesses, a concern that mirrors other components of the economy as well as individuals. A huge majority, 80%, say it’s important for the government to support research that focuses on making our health care system more efficient.

The concern of small business owners is strikingly evident as it relates to our nation’s world leadership status, with 90% describing research and development as important to our global competitiveness.

“Small business owners understand the critical role of federal government in giving small businesses a launching pad that includes the stimulus of innovation based on federally supported research and development,” added Woolley. “Deep cuts to medical research funding would be detrimental to small businesses, our nation’s economy and global competitiveness if policy makers allow the sequester to take effect.”

The nationwide survey of small business owners/operators was conducted by Zogby Analytics for Research!America. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for the panel of 203 business owners is +/-7.0 percentage points.

To view the poll, visit: www.researchamerica.org/uploads/Feb2013smallbizsurvey.pdf

About Research!America polls

Research!America began commissioning polls in 1992 in an effort to understand public support for medical, health and scientific research. The results of Research!America’s polls have proven invaluable to our alliance of member organizations and, in turn, to the fulfillment of our mission to make research to improve health a higher national priority. In response to growing usage and demand, Research!America has expanded its portfolio, which includes state, national and issue-specific polling. Poll data is available by request or at www.researchamerica.org.

About Research!America

Research!America  is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations representing 125 million Americans. Visit www.researchamerica.org.

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