Dr. Harold Varmus received the Legacy award for his lifetime commitment to advancing research. In the 20 years we have hosted advocacy awards evenings, this is only the 4th time we have bestowed the Legacy Award. I hope you will take a moment to consider the timely challenge Dr. Varmus delivered to us all via his acceptance remarks, in which he refers to science as representing the best of what we have been and must continue to be as a nation.
Dr. Varmus made an amazing speech during his acceptance of the award promoting science and research in America. Can Varmus run for President? He actually knows what makes America great!
The media gets a bad rap – sometimes deserved – for sensationalizing, trivializing, and generally making mincemeat of good science. The negative consequences can be enormous, leading to science skepticism that bleeds into counterproductive public policy. But just as often the media gets it right, capturing science as the workhorse it is, explaining how science addresses human challenges and what that means for people we all can relate to.
Effective communication is critical if science is to earn and maintain public support. More and more leaders of universities are talking about making it both a recognized and rewarded component of academic success for faculty to engage in public outreach.
Last week, I shared our updated fact sheet on Infectious Disease. This week, we release our newest updated fact sheet on Alzheimer’s disease (In 2014, $15.9 billion was spent on Easter in the United States.That amount could fund NIH sponsored Alzheimer’s research for more than 28 years!).
As many times as we repeat the alarming statistics on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s – with the human and economic toll it is taking on our families and our society – the message hasn’t fully broken through. The drum beat must become louder and louder, until we convince policymakers of the need for more research to drive medical progress.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) penned an op-ed inPOLITICO this week calling for more transparency and accountability in science agencies’ decision making. More transparency is a worthy goal and taxpayers are well served by it. What isn’t transparent in the op-ed piece is the grounds for which Paul and Smith make the assumption that more transparency will result in a pre-determined reordering of priorities for science. Calling for transparency in order to target specific grants or areas of research is not a way to assure either evidence-based policymaking nor scientific progress.
What will President Obama emphasize in his State of the Union address on Tuesday? Will medical progress make the list? I would like to think that remarks made by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell today are telegraphing the President’s message. She spoke about the importance of research and innovation at some length, emphasizing the promise of precision medicine, in particular. She said it’s in our children’s interest to make sure that medical innovations happen; it’s in our economy’s interest to make sure they happen here. Well said! You can share your priorities with the President for his speech via #SOTU2015. – From a weekly message from Research!America President Mary Woolley
Research!America has a great page where you can email your representatives and tell them we NEED CURES, NOT CUTs! Support medical research and advocate science by contacting your members of congress to fight cuts to science.
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.
I have asked my candidates… have you asked yours? Make medical research a priority!
Ask Your Candidates! Is Medical Progress a Priority?
With less than a month remaining before Election Day, now is the time to get involved in the Ask Your Candidates! initiative. Through this effort, voters can ask congressional candidates to share their views on accelerating medical progress in America. Every voice makes a difference as we look to find treatments and cures for deadly and disabling diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, and other threats like Ebola.
There are two easy ways to participate:
Send an email to your candidates using the pre-drafted message, or a message of your own, and by filling in your contact information and clicking “Send Message.”
Create awareness about the importance of medical research by taking a selfie. Just follow these steps: 1) Personalize an AYC! sign (or create your own sign), sharing why you support medical progress; and 2) Post your signs on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag #AYCresearch, or send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to see examples of selfies, see the AYC! selfies Facebook album.