Created by on 09/19/2011

In late August, FASEB partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network on a special briefing to discuss how cuts in federal funding for biomedical research impact states and local research institutions. The event, held at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center, was part of FASEB’s ongoing advocacy efforts to increase outreach to elected officials in their home states. Staff from the offices of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Congressmen Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Terri Sewell (D-AL),  Robert Aderholt (R-AL), and Mike Rogers (R-AL) received a thorough briefing on the important role that funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) plays in sustaining advances in cancer research. The congressional staff in attendance also heard presentations highlighting how the UAB Cancer Center contributes to significant economic growth in the Birmingham area and throughout the Deep South region.

Former FASEB President Dr. Richard Marchase, Vice President for Research and Economic Development at UAB, was one of the featured speakers at the event. Acknowledging the fiscal challenges facing the country, Marchase said, “We appreciate how hard things are in Washington right now and that business as usual can’t go on. However, as these hard spending cuts are made, please try to do your best to see that medical research and the next generation of medical researchers are not decimated by the moves that have to take place.” Marchase also unveiled a new FASEB factsheet about NIH funding in Alabama.
Others who spoke included Dr. Edward Partridge, Director of the UAB Cancer Center and President of ACS, senior executives from the ACS Washington, DC office and Mid-South Division, Dr. Warner Huh, a UAB Cancer Center gynecologic oncologist, and Dr. Carol Garrison, UAB President. Allison Lancaster, a cervical cancer survivor from Dothan, gave an excellent presentation about how important research was to her during her cancer experience.

In fiscal year 2010, Alabama received approximately $280 million from NIH to support research on drugs to prevent and cure cancer and other diseases. The state’s congressional delegation, led by Senator Shelby, the top Republican on the Appropriations Subcommittee that determines the budget for NIH, has been very supportive of funding for biomedical research. At a hearing in May, Shelby said that the agency should be protected from big budget cuts. After the UAB event he reiterated that sentiment in an article in the Birmingham News noting, “While fiscal constraints require us to review every aspect of the federal government’s budget, cuts should be targeted to programs that are unsuccessful or not in the best interest of our nation. NIH plays a critical role in improving health, reducing the cost of medical treatment, promoting innovation, and generating economic gains through its progress.”


Former FASEB President Dr. Richard Marchase at the congressional briefing at the University of Alabama Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center