Highlights from the Rally for Medical Research

Dawn K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Past President of the SfHP

The 5th annual “Rally for Medical Research” on Capitol Hill took place on September 14th with over 300 organizations participating.  The American Psychological Association was a strong sponsor of this event and invited me to do advocacy work with a team of patients, NIH representatives, and fellow researchers from the University of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina.  The theme of this event was “Together for More Progress More Hope More Life”.  The teams conducted over 250 meetings during this one-day event.

The primary message we communicated was to emphasize the importance of federal funding for medical research that is critical to the health and well-being of our citizens and for the economic security and global leadership of the United States. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, Congress provided the first significant increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in more than a decade. Now is the time to build on momentum by urging Congress to continue making medical research a national priority by providing robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for NIH in 2018 and beyond.

As depicted in the photos here, we were able to meet directly Senator Tim Scott who has a passion for youth with rare diseases and who became a champion for Carolina, an 11-year-old girl who has encephalitis from birth and who has had two brain surgeries for this disease that has had little medical advancements in the past 50 years. Senator Scott even shared is birthday cake with us during our visit with him. Also, we had visits with Congressman Joe Wilson  and Congressman Ralph Norman.  Although Congressman Norman had not previously even considered voting for the NIH funding increase after we spoke with him and his staff for an hour on the hill he agreed that this was a worthwhile cause and he would have to reconsider is position.  Meanwhile Congressman Norman will be in South Carolina soon to engage in collaborative efforts to increase health care access to rural health areas.

The vote on increasing NIH funding is upon us, so make sure you let your Senators and Congressmen know that we thank them for the last two years of two billion dollars per year increases but we need to see the same increase in 2018!

All the Best,
Dawn K. Wilson
Advocacy Liaison and Member of the Health Policy Council
Society for Health Psychology


Editor’s note: Capitol Hill visits were coordinated by APA’s Science Policy Office.