Student Advocacy Award to be Made in March 2014

University of Maryland Students/Faculty Participating in the 2013 AADR Advocacy Day

AADR is pleased announce a new award that will recognize a student for outstanding contributions in advocacy for oral health research. The Student Advocate of the Year Award will be made each spring and provide travel and accommodations for participation in the annual AADR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. To view options for getting involved in AADR Advocacy Efforts visit the Advocate in Your State page.

Congress Preparing for August Recess Constituent Outreach Activities

Interested in planning a campus visit for your Congressional delegation? Email jnurse@aadronline.org for more information.

Beginning August 5th and lasting through September 6th, Members of Congress and many of their staff will work from home -in a sense. The month-long Congressional recess, or District Work Period as some prefer, gives Members of Congress a prolonged opportunity to engage their constituents. Many take the opportunity to hold town-hall forums, visit federally supported project sites (i.e. research facilities), and attend community events. We’ve heard that Members of Congress are preparing to be particularly visible this August, given the impending start of the mid-term election season and need to explain the legislative paralysis in DC. Today, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, reported that the House leadership has developed a planning kit for August that outlines suggested constituent outreach activities for its caucus. The document includes such items as a college campus visit, hospital or health care facility tour, and an “Emergency Health Care Town Hall.”

The AADR Advocate in Your State webpage offers guidance for planning and engaging in local outreach activities. Of particular note is the need to invite Congressional offices to receive a short briefing on federally-supported research taking place at your institution and to tour related facilites. For additional information, contact AADR Government Affairs at (703) 299-8098 or jnurse@aadronline.org.

Student Researchers Call for Federal Science Funding

On June 1st, the organization with over 10,000 graduate students known as Stand With Science (SWS) published an op-ed in The Journal of Science Policy & Governance, highlighting the need student engagement and advocacy for the protection of science funding.  Following an explanation of the sequester and its impact to the R&D industry as a whole, SWS discusses funding cuts that impact the student community:  “We as graduate students must be concerned about cuts to all science funding, as all cuts to science are cuts to our future livelihoods as much as they are cuts to our nation’s competitiveness.” They follow with a subsequent call to action to the research community as a whole:  “We believe the roll of the scientist should not be limited to the laboratory, and that [we] have a responsibility to contribute to important policy debates concerning science and science funding.”

See the article here.

AADR Congratulates Spring Intern and Recent Graduate

During the Spring 2013 semester, AADR government affairs efforts were supported by Waseem Khaleel -a native of Iraq and now double alumnus of Georgetown University (GU). Waseem, a graduate of the GU MS program in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy, was an active advocate over the past four months. He blogged on policy developments — particularly as related to the application of the sequestration provisions in the Budget Controll Act of 2011 — and became a regular in the halls of Congress. He met with several staffers to highlight the importance of federal investments in biomedical research, as well as to discuss a separate project aimed at increasing testing for diabetes.

In just a few years, Waseem has undertaken a rather incredible journey. Much of his youth was spent in Baghdad, where he witnessed the effects of war firsthand. Recognized as a promising student, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue undergraduate studies at Georgetown University. He earned a perfect grade point average in his final semester of graduate studies at GU and is now finishing a second internship with a medical imaging organization while seeking a permanent role in the government affairs community. Waseem hopes to one day apply the knowledge attained through his various educational and professional experiences to serve his community back home.

On behalf of the larger oral health research community, the AADR staff congratulates Waseem on his second graduation in as many years and thanks him for his service.

AADR Members Take to the Hill

Rep. Jack Kingston addresses Advocacy Day participants

Yesterday, oral health scientists and students participated in the 2013 AADR-ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Members of the associations joined to conduct 84 meetings in House and Senate offices, covering more than 20 states in the process. The participants carried a message of the need to replace the March 1st budget sequestration order and increase investments in biomedical research. More specifically, the group called on Members of Congress to support a Fiscal Year 2014 NIH appropriation of $32 billion. In recent weeks, the FY14 funding recommendation for NIH has been promoted by many health and research associations, as well as drawn bipartisan support in Congress. However, the figure remains a reach in the current budget environment.

During a morning briefing session that preceded Congressional visits, Rep Jack Kingston (R-GA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations expressed support for the important work carried out with federal investments in NIH. He also communicated a desire to see better prioritization of NIH grant investments, and told that group the he viewed the $32 billion figure as slightly out of reach in the coming year. Nonetheless, his presence and the totality of remarks given demonstrated a considerable interest in oral health and research.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) provided closing remarks during the morning session. He explained the need for a “Grand Bargain” on the budget, one that would get the deficit under control while making important investments in areas that grow the economy and are good for the public, such as biomedical research.

Initial reports from Advocacy Day participants indicated considerable support on both sides of the aisle for oral health research and education. Participants were encouraged to keep up their advocacy efforts, so that oral health remains a part of the budget dialogue in the months ahead.

Photo Index of the AADR-ADEA Advocacy Day

NIDCR PowerPoint Presentation

AADR Selects Univ. of Maryland Student for Gert Quigley Fellowship

UMD, School of Dentistry

AADR is pleased to announce that Sarah Uehara from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry has been selected to serve as the 2013-14 Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellow.

Sarah hails from Maui, Hawaii and graduated from Princeton University in 2009 with an AB in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After graduating, she worked as a Princeton Project 55 Public Health Fellow in New York City for a year. She then earned her Masters in Health Management Systems at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 2012 before entering the Class of 2016 at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Continue reading

Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellowship Deadline Extended

An initial review of applicants has begun. Students interested in applying should communicate an intent to apply to Jonathan Nurse, AADR Director of Government Affairs, as soon as possible.

Application Due Date: April 8, 2013

Application Form

Materials submitted on your behalf (letter of recommendation, approval) are due by April 5, 2013. Please note that a list of two references can be provided in lieu of a letter of recommendation.

Purpose- The public policy fellowship provides a unique learning experience both in Washington, DC and through grassroots efforts at the participant’s local university or institution. This fellowship is designed to familiarize dental school, Ph.D., or dual degree students with the federal legislative process as it relates to basic and translational dental and craniofacial research, as well as research on the oral health care delivery system. Continue reading

House Budget Would Deal Another Severe Blow to NIH in FY14 and Beyond

House of Representatives Budget Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-WI), released a 10-year spending plan on Tuesday. The plan claims to balance the federal budget within the next 10 years, through deep cuts of roughly $4.6 trillion, which is more than the entire federal budget for FY 2012. The plan imposes extreme cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, which include line-items such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Head Start, education, and air traffic control. These cuts will take place by imposing a 414-billion-dollar cap on non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2014, which starts on October 1st. To put this into perspective, this cap means that about $167 billion will be cut from these programs in FY 2014, accounting for the sequester cuts that took effect on March 1st. While the sequester cuts have dealt a devastating 5.1% cut to NIH funding for the remainder of this year, the House plan could mean more than a 10% cut to the NIH budget in FY 2014. The graph on the right shows the deep cuts to NIH for FY 2013 after the sequester, and the cuts that will take place for FY 2014 if Rep. Ryan’s budget is adopted.

White House Accepting Applications for S&T Volunteer Program

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is currently accepting applications for its summer 2013 Student Volunteer Program. OSTP advises the President on the impact of science and technology on domestic and international affairs. Applications must be submitted by February 22nd. The online application instructions can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/about/student/.

Fiscal Cliff Deal Leaves Research Cuts on the Horizon

On New Year’s day, the Senate and House passed legislation, American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, to address the tax portion of the fiscal cliff and delay the across-the-board cuts (a.k.a. “sequester”) to federal agencies by two months.

Bush-era tax rates made permanent for 99%- The legislation permanently extends 2012 tax rates for annual income below $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.

Across-the-board cuts delayed- According to the White House, “the agreement saves $24 billion, half in revenue and half from spending cuts which are divided equally between defense and non-defense, in order to delay the sequester for two months. This will give Congress time to work on a balanced plan to end the sequester permanently through a combination of additional revenue and spending cuts in a balanced manner.” Continue reading