OK, so considering I'm at the rally as this was auto-published at 10:15am EST, not exactly live. But I hope you will forgive me, for this is a very important message to bring to the Daily Kos community.
Our message is unified and clear - NOW is the TIME for policymakers to make lifesaving medical research a national priority after years of declining budgets, including the especially devastating 5 percent cut through sequestration.
As I wrote about six weeks ago in this diary, the effects of the sequester will hit research institutions extremely hard.
The percentage of grants funded by the NIH are already at all-time lows, and this percentage is set to go even lower if the sequester remains in place. This is a troubling trend that we hope to reverse. We in the science and medicine community feel so strongly about this issue that the AACR, which is currently holding its yearly conference in Washington, D.C., has actually canceled its day's seminars and instructed all attendees to head over to the rally.
To quote Joe Biden, this is a "big f***ing deal!"
Here's why everyone should be strongly in favor of federal research funding:
-Federal research funding has some of the highest Returns on Investment of any federal spending. In launching the BRAIN Initiative, President Obama remarked that for every $1 spent on mapping the Human Genome, $140 was returned.
-Biomedical research lowers health care costs by discovering new methods for more effectively diagnosing and treating disease, and healthy people means lower healthcare costs.
-The jobs supported by federal research funding are good paying jobs that attract intelligent workers that often forge public/private partnerships, which further diversifies the economic impact of research dollars.
-In many instances, the research that leads to cutting-edge medical breakthroughs is deemed too risky by private companies to conduct. Without federal research grants that support these projects, the number of breakthroughs would be severely limited.
As noted in the Daily Pennsylvanian (UPenn's newspaper):
"[Consider] Carl June's NIH-funded Phase I clinical trial that resulted in amazing regression of lymphoma in pediatric patients. Without the initial NIH investment, this trial would have been nearly impossible to conduct, as pharmaceutical companies deemed it too risky to invest in."From the Philly Inquirer article itself:
"Although 10 is a tiny number, the outcomes have been so stunning the world has noticed. After journals published results from the first three patients last year, pharmaceutical giant Novartis rushed to team with Penn to develop and license the technology."(bold my emphasis)
So how can you help? It's really late notice, but if you're in D.C. and want to stop by, here's the details for the rally:
What: Rally for Medical Research to raise awareness of the critical need to make funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority.
Where: Carnegie Library grounds at Mt. Vernon Square, Washington, D.C. (across from the D.C. Convention Center); 801 K St. NW; Washington, D.C. 20001
When: April 8, 2013, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
About 20 students and faculty from the University of Pennsylvania will be meeting with our Congresspeople, including PA Senators Casey and Toomey, as well as a bunch of other Senators and Representatives from our home states/districts. We will be asking our Congresspeople to support Rep. Schwartz's bill that appropriates $3 billion in funding for the NIH for the remainder of FY2013, as well as support for the McKinley-Markey letter that calls for $32 billion for the NIH in FY2014.
The full list of Congresspeople we are meeting with is below:
Sen. Casey (D-PA)
Sen. Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Coats (R-IN)
Sen. Donnelly (D-IN)
Sen. Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Cruz (R-TX)
Rep. Schwartz (D; PA-13)
Rep. Dent (R; PA-15)
Rep. Garrett (R; NJ-05; my home district)
Science funding is critical to our nation - for our health and for a robust economy. Let's get to work to increase federal research funding!
Note - since this diary was auto-published and I'm away from my computer, I will have minimal access to it throughout the day (pretty much just on my iPhone during break times, so that's kind of a wash). Hopefully this diary will get some buzz and there will be lots of positive feedback. I'll check in on my desktop computer when I get home to Philly later tonight.