Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's time to fund research

For years the United States has been a leader in medically related research. Yet, due to budget cuts over the past 8 years, we have not had the resources for scientists and health professionals to pursue integral scientific and health related research. To put this in perspective, almost every faculty member I know has had to take less graduate students, cut prospective research projects and spend most of their time applying for grants instead of actually completing research. This is because the National Institute of Health is at an all time funding low, and less than 6% of grant applications are currently approved. These grants fund research on Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, among others, to help increase our understanding of how the body works, how various diseases affect it, and what we can do about them. And for the past 8 years, we've been effectively saying that this isn't important to us as a country.

It is imperative that we start to fund this research before we lose our edge, both in scientific discovery and ability to address those health issues that plague our nation. President Bush recently vetoed a bill that would slightly increase NIH funding and compensate for some of the drastic cuts in recent years. If the 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill fails at getting enough votes for an override, the National Institute of Health will get what equates to a 3.7% decrease in funding (given current rates of inflation). This is already funding drastically few projects, and Bush just put us in a position to decrease funding even further. Please urge your congressmen to vote pass this bill. It's about time we start putting money this important area.

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