Washington Update

FASEB and Society Leaders Go to Capitol Hill to Rally for Medical Research

By: Jennifer Zeitzer
Thursday, September 26, 2019

On September 19, FASEB President Hannah V. Carey, PhD, and Vice President for Science Policy Patricia Morris, PhD, joined representatives from member societies including the American Association of Immunologists, American Society for Nutrition, American Society of Human Genetics, and the Endocrine Society at the annual Rally for Medical Research in Washington.

Additional support for the rally was also provided by FASEB members the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Society of Investigative Pathology, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the Genetics Society of America.

Now in its seventh year, the event brought 300 advocates from a broad cross section of scientific organizations, patient groups, and research institutions to Capitol Hill to thank Congress for recent funding increases for biomedical research, and to urge legislators to provide at least $41.6 billion (a $2.5 billion increase) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in FY 2020. Participants met with Senators and Representatives’ offices from nearly every state, sharing data about the benefits of federal support for NIH and personal examples of care and treatment advances made possible by medical research.

Bipartisan support for NIH was also on display at a Hill reception September 18 featuring members of Congress, who praised the biomedical research community for its advocacy efforts and promised to continue their support for NIH. House Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Peter King (R-NY), and Donna Shalala (D-FL) gave inspiring remarks and discussed the importance of continuing to invest in NIH. And as he has done during previous Rally for Medical Research events, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, delivered a memorable speech about the incredible scientific opportunities available todayto improve health and save lives.

On the morning of Hill Day, participants gathered at a breakfast to hear remarks from patient advocates and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), ranking member of the House LHHS Subcommittee. Cole noted how patients and researchers have had a significant impact over the last several years, convincing Congress to provide multi-billion increases for NIH. He also reiterated his goal of continuing to provide steady, sustainable growth in the NIH budget.

Following breakfast, participants proceeded to the Hill for a day of meetings with members of Congress and their aides. Dr. Carey met with the offices of Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI). Carey discussed how a steadily increasing budget for biological research enables scientific discovery and conveys vast benefits to society. She also emphasized NIH’s role in funding scientific education and training programs to ensure that young scientists have viable research career paths. Hill Day participants also provided each office with copies of the FASEB factsheets that include data on the amount of funding each state receives from NIH.