It’s the Wrong Time to Cripple Biomedical Research

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Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president, Meharry Medical College

Biomedical research in the United States of America is the envy of the world.  Indeed, research conducted in U.S. laboratories has led to treatments and cures for a number of diseases that were once thought to be incurable.  Furthermore, technological advances have provided diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions that enable physicians to treat a wide range of conditions that beset the nation’s population.  In other words, these discoveries make people healthier.  And healthier people are able to work, generate income, spend dollars and contribute as productive citizens in our great country.

Over the last two decades a number of discoveries and technological advances have brought medicine to the brink of outstanding new possibilities including precision medicine and DNA editing.  Many of these transformative discoveries were the result of research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation.  This history of discovery and the peer review process of evaluating research grant applications has made NIH the premiere biomedical institution in the world.

NIH is already under-funded in real dollars relative to the pool of meritorious grant applications and the growing number of young investigators who are struggling to sustain their research programs.  If the nation is to sustain its position as the leader in biomedical research going forward, young investigators must be supported.  These are just a few of the reasons that the proposed $5.8 billion cut in NIH’s budget would be a disaster for the nation.

This would be the wrong time to cripple biomedical research in the U.S. when the true potential for impacting the health of the nation through research has never been greater.  As a long-time NIH-funded investigator, the leader of an academic health center and a concerned citizen I ask that you reconsider this decision.

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