With Congress set to adjourn this week until after the November elections and Members of Congress back in their home states/districts, now is primetime for constituents to educate policymakers on the need to protect National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Below are links to grassroots activities ASH has developed to make it easy for you to contact your Members of Congress. Grassroots Network members are strongly encouraged to click on these campaigns and participate! This will not take much time, but it will have an impact.
Call-in and Tweet Day – Join ASH in a National Community Call-in/Tweet Day on September 20 to urge your Senators and Representative to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Quick and easy directions for how to call Congress plus a message, along with sample tweets for those on Twitter, are included on the ASH website.
Town Hall Forums – ASH is tracking every time a Member of Congress schedules a town hall forum and will alert Grassroots Network members when a town hall is scheduled in their area. Grassroots Network members are strongly encouraged to attend one to meet with their Member of Congress and urge protection of NIH funding. Click here for the list of currently scheduled town halls, tips, sample questions, and talking points.
On-line Advocacy Campaign – ASH has an on-line advocacy campaign for all Grassroots Network Members to join. Visit the ASH Advocacy Center to find a sample letter and the site will send it directly to your Representative and Senators.
Patient Advocacy Campaign – Congress needs to hear from patients about the need to protect NIH funding. Please share the following link http://www.capwiz.com/blood/issues/alert/?alertid=61689376&type=CO with your patients. This link leads to a special advocacy campaign letter written for patients to use and the site will send the letter directly to the patient's Representative and Senators.
NIH to Receive 8.2 Percent Cut if Sequester Implemented January 2, 2013; Take Action Today by Joining ASH's CampaignThe White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a report mandated by the Sequestration Transparency Act outlining the impact of sequestration (across the board cuts to be implemented January 2, 2013 unless the Congress passes alternative legislation). Read more about the 394 page report, which concludes that NIH would receive cuts equaling $2.529 billion under sequestration. This means that as many as 2,300 NIH grants could be eliminated.
It is critical that all Representatives and Senators hear from researchers about the impact that inadequate funding has on biomedical research and the need for them to take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit that doesn't further cut NIH and other core federal programs. To take action, please visit the ASH Advocacy Center and join ASH's campaign by sending a letter to your Members of Congress.
House Passes Six Month Continuing Resolution; Funding for NIH Remains in JeopardyThe House on September 13 approved a six-month continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running through March 27, 2013. The CR provides funding for most government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at fiscal year (FY) 2012-enacted levels plus a temporary 0.6 percent across the board increase. However, the CR does not alter the sequester, meaning that without congressional action before the end of the calendar year, discretionary programs such as NIH will still face significant cuts on January 2, 2013. The Senate is expected to also pass the CR prior to adjourning for the November elections. Read more.
ASH Submits Comments to NHLBI and NCI on Building a National Resource to Study Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS)ASH submitted comments today to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in response to the request for information on "Building a National Resource to Study Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) – The MDS Cohort Natural History Study (NOT-HL-12-147)."In its comments, ASH applauds NHLBI and NCI for their efforts to build a national resource to better understand MDS disease progression, urges the NIH to have a "home" for MDS within its structure, and lists several important scientific questions and research priorities that the proposed MDS Cohort Natural History Study should answer. Read more.
NIH Names New Director of National Center for Advancing Translational SciencesNational Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, has announced that Christopher P. Austin, MD, will serve as director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The announcement was made at the inaugural meetings of the NCATS Advisory Council and Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) Review Board. Starting Sept. 23, 2012, Dr. Austin will succeed Thomas Insel, MD, who has been serving as NCATS Acting Director. Read more.
NIH Program Encourages Collaboration Between Extramural and Intramural InvestigatorsThe NIH has announced a new grant program, Opportunities for Collaborative Research at the NIH Clinical Center, which will support partnerships between extramural and intramural investigators by allowing access to the unique resources of the NIH Clinical Center, previously only available to intramural researchers. The new program stems from the recommendation made by the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) that the NIH should allow extramural investigators to use the Clinical Center resources to "stimulate a broader range of research." The Clinical Center will offer a toolkit on its website outlining the process for interested extramural researchers to use the Clinical Center and its resources.
Apply Today for an ASH Bridge GrantApplications are now available for the first round of one-year, $100,000 ASH bridge grant awards for ASH members whose R01 grant applications were denied funding as a result of budget cutbacks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ASH's bridge grant program is a three-year, $9 million investment in its members to help preserve their vital research that will not be accomplished due to years of flat funding for NIH followed by anticipated across-the-board cuts to the NIH budget in January 2013. The first application deadline will be January 4, 2013, and applicants will be notified of acceptance on or around March 31, 2013. Read more.
ASH Observes National Sickle Cell Awareness MonthCongress has designated September as National Sickle Cell Awareness Month to help focus attention on the need for research and treatment of sickle cell disease. As the nation and the world focus on increasing awareness of this disease this month, ASH continues its commitment to working with Congress, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal agencies to increase research, treatment options, and access to care for patients with sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. Read more.
Join us for the Premier Hematology Event of the Year!In a continuing effort to improve and enhance the ASH annual meeting experience, each year the Society adds new sessions and programs. The new and enhanced offerings introduced this year promise to make the meeting exciting and unique. Of particular interest will be the Grassroots Network Lunch, which takes the place of the Grassroots Network Breakfast held in previous years. In addition to learning how you can participate in ASH's advocacy efforts, communicate with Congress and the White House, and become an effective advocate for hematology, the discussion at this year's lunch will focus on the results of the November congressional and presidential elections and their impact on hematology.
Advance registration and housing is now open; register today to join your colleagues for the 54th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 8-11 in Atlanta, GA.
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