SfN members joined fellow research advocates last week to promote the vital importance of robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Participants traveled from across the country in an incredible display of unity for a common goal: improving human health.
The 2017 Rally for Medical Research, spearheaded by the American Association for Cancer Research and sponsored by dozens of organization including SfN, attracted its largest group of advocates to date. More than 350 participants from 37 states and DC, including several SfN members, met with 250 House and Senate offices. Members of Congress, including Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jerry Moran (R-KY), overwhelmingly supported these efforts.
Blunt, chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke with SfN about the importance of understanding the brain, the most complex organ in the human body. "The whole focus on cracking the brain and understanding our most complex organ … is very important. In our [Senate LHHS Appropriations] Bill, we have a substantial amount of new money for brain research. This is an important time and a lot is happening" in the field of neuroscience.
Van Hollen stressed the importance of scientists getting involved in advocacy. “Scientists are in a great position to talk to members of Congress about why this medical research is so important,” he said. “It can save lives, help people live better lives, and it’s important to our economy. Hearing that directly from scientists doing the work is a great help. You cannot have the developments or treatments if you don’t have the basic research. That’s a common good. That’s something we need to invest in together.”
In its fifth year, the Rally for Medical Research demonstrates the powerful impact of researchers, doctors, patients, and other advocates joining forces to increase support for biomedical research. Investments made by Congress in NIH and other agencies will assist in the discovery of new treatments to improve the quality of life for people across the nation and the world.