House Freshman Leads Colleagues on Tour of NIH Campus
Created by on 7/25/2013 12:00:00 AM

By Jennifer Zeitzer

Although the outlook for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding is uncertain, one House member is not letting that prevent him from continuing to build support for the agency. On July 19, freshman Representative Scott Peters (D-CA) led a bipartisan group of his colleagues on a tour of the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. The tour offered members of Congress an opportunity to learn more about NIH, visit labs at the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, meet with patients receiving treatment through the undiagnosed disease program, and talk privately with NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD.

Prior to the NIH tour, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Board member (and Peters’s constituent) Hudson Freeze, PhD, reached out to Representative Peters to offer input about specific issues to raise during the visit with Dr. Collins. Dr. Freeze encouraged Peters to ask about the current fiscal challenges facing NIH and what organizations and individuals in the scientific community can do to increase public awareness about the importance of federal funding for biomedical research.

In a press release following the visit, Representative Peters noted that, “promoting scientific research must be on our nation’s priority list if we are to be successful in the next generation. Now is not the time to be cutting the NIH budget or moving away from a federal investment in science – if anything we need to be expanding opportunities for American innovation here at home.” Peters has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of NIH frequently mentioning the impact of sequestration on funding for medical research. In addition, he hosted Dr. Collins when he visited San Diego in April and authored an opinion piece for a local online news site.