AADR Government Affairs Committee & FNIDCR Transition Team Meet with Congress

Dr. Isabel Garcia;   Eduardo Sacasa. Sen. Rubio staff and KyuLim Lee meet on Capitol Hill.

Dr. Isabel Garcia; Eduardo Sacasa. Sen. Rubio staff and KyuLim Lee meet on Capitol Hill.

This week members of the AADR Government Affairs Committee and the Friends of NIDCR transition team conducted 20 meetings with members of Congress. During these meetings they urged Congress to approve a short term continuing resolution through December 9th and then when returning from the election to approve an omnibus appropriations bill that provides $34.1 billion for NIH and $430.5 million for NIDCR. They also articulated the devastating impact a six month or year-long CR will have on the biomedical research enterprise.

Reports back from these meetings indicate members of Congress are generally supportive of funding for NIH.

AADR Submits Response to NSF’s Strategic Plan Update

AADR submitted comments in response to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Strategic Plan update. Every four years, the NSF updates its strategic plan. To inform this process, the NSF requested feedback on its Vision, Core Values, Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives in its current 2014-2018 Strategic Plan.

AADR urged NSF to continue to include dental, oral, and craniofacial research in its research portfolio, to strengthen partnerships with other federal agencies, and to invest in all levels of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

AADR will monitor the progress of NSF’s strategic plan update and represent the concerns of our members to NSF.

Click here to view AADR’s response.

Congress Approves Short-Term Funding Bill Averting Govt. Shutdown

Yesterday, Congress approved a short term continuing resolution (CR) averting a government shutdown and funding the federal government through December 9, 2016 at 0.5% funding level lower than fiscal year 2016. Importantly, the CR also includes $1.1 billion supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus. Included in the $1.1 billion for Zika is $397 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.The Senate voted 72-26 and the House voted 342-85 in support of this legislation.

What is next? When Congress returns from the November elections a lot of unfinished business awaits them during the lame duck session. Congress must approve an appropriations bill that funds the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year after the current CR expires on December 9th. AADR is strongly urging Congress to adopt an appropriations bill that provides increased funding for NIH and NIDCR.

How can you help? Please take a moment and send an email to your member of Congress stressing the importance of approving an omnibus appropriations bill by clicking here to access our action alert.

FNIDCR Sign on Letter Demonstrates Robust Support for NIDCR Funding

Last week, the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR) sent a letter signed by 46 organizations, patient advocates and dental schools urging Congress to provide $430.5 million for NIDCR in the final fiscal year 2017 appropriation bill. The organizations noted that putting appropriations on autopilot via a long term continuing resolution beyond December 9th will slow down progress to finding cures for many diseases that plague our nation.  This letter was also distributed by the AADR Government Affairs Committee and FNIDCR transition team during their in person meetings with members of Congress on September 26th.


Dental Community Urges Congress to Support Funding for Oral Health Programs

This month, the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) sent  letters to the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to provide modest programmatic increases to allow more Americans to have access to better oral health.  The letter included a chart of funding priorities for oral health research and programs, including a request for Congress to provide $430.5 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in the final appropriation bill for fiscal year 2017. These organizations also noted the significant and detrimental impact a six month or year long continuing resolution would have on these programs and the populations they serve. ADA, AAPD, ADEA and AADR therefore urged Congress to approve an omnibus appropriation bill after the election.

AADR Joins the Rally for Medical Research

Rally for Medical Research advocates gather for a group photo before going to Capitol Hill.

Rally for Medical Research advocates gather for a group photo before going to Capitol Hill.

Last week, AADR joined 350 individuals from 37 states in support of the Rally for Medical Research. The purpose of the Rally is to call on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for the National Institutes of Health a priority and raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research that leads to more progress, more hope and more lives saved.

Carolyn Mullen, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Dr. David Chaplin from UAB and Dr. Manoj Mishra from Alabama State University

Carolyn Mullen, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Dr. David Chaplin from University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dr. Manoj Mishra from Alabama State University

During the lobby day, AADR led a group of advocates from Alabama and met with staff from Sens. Shelby and Sessions and Reps. Palmer and Rogers. The Alabama delegation also met directly with Rep. Martha Roby and Rep. Sewell. All of the policymakers and their staff indicated their support for NIH funding and recognized its significance as an economic driver for the state.

AADR Submits Response to FDA’s “Submission of Warning Plans for Cigars” Draft Guidance to Industry

AADR submitted a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to the “Submission of Warning Plans for Cigars” draft guidance to industry. The guidance instructs industry on displaying warning labels on cigar packages and cigar advertisements.

AADR experts provided valuable input that was used to craft AADR’s response.  AADR recommended that the FDA narrow the definition of cigar to exclude little cigars or cigarillos so that these can be regulated as cigarettes. AADR also recommended that the FDA include a warning about the link between tobacco use and gum disease and tooth decay in addition to the six proposed warnings. Finally, AADR recommended that the FDA explore the use of graphic warning labels as these are more effective than text labels.

It is our hope that this guidance and AADR’s response will help warn consumers about the health consequences of cigars and reduce cigar sales and use. AADR will continue monitoring the progression and finalization of the guidance.

Click here to view AADR’s response.

New AHRQ report shows increase in emergency department visits for dental conditions

A new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) shows emergency department visits for dental conditions increased from 2009-2013. Use of the the emergency department for dental conditions was highest among 18-44-year-olds.

This report is consistent with a 2015 report by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) of the American Dental Association (ADA) that also showed an overall increase in emergency department visits for dental conditions between 2006 and 2012. The greatest use and increase in that study occurred in the the 26-34 age group. According to researchers at HPI, such visits cost the US health system $1.6 billion or $749 per visit in 2012.

To view the reports, please visit the following links:

FDA Requests Comments on “Cigar Warning Plans” Draft Guidance to Industry

AADR is submitting comments to the FDA on the “Cigar Warning Plans” draft guidance to industry. If you would like to contribute to AADR’s response, please send comments to Seun Ajiboye (sajiboye@iadr.org) by COB, September 20.

The main points of the guidance are:

1. All cigar packages must bear one of the required warning statements:

  • WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.
  • WARNING: Cigar smoking can cause cancers of the mouth and throat, even if you do not inhale.
  • WARNING: Cigar smoking can cause lung cancer and heart disease.
  • WARNING: Cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
  • WARNING: Tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease, even in nonsmokers.
  • WARNING: Cigar use while pregnant can harm you and your baby OR SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Tobacco Use Increases the Risk of Infertility, Stillbirth and Low Birth Weight. (The last warning and Surgeon General Warning may be used interchangeably.)

2. Warning statements must be randomly displayed and randomly distributed throughout the US with each warning statement used as equal number of times as possible.

3. All advertising must display one of the warning statements, and warning statements on advertising must be rotated quarterly.

4. Individually sold cigars are not required to bear warning statements, but all 6 warning statements must be displayed by the retailer at the point of sale

5. Warning statement plans must describe how random display and distribution will be accomplished. Plans must be approved by FDA.

6. By May 10, 2018, all cigars manufactured, packaged, distributed, and sold in the US must bear warning statements.

Possible items on which to comment include but are not limited to:

  1. Definitions found in the guidance (also found on pg. 4 of the guidance).
  2. Requirement for random display and distribution.
  3. Warning statements.

Please see the complete draft guidance for more information.


National Science Foundation Seeks Comments on Updating Strategic Plan for 2017-2018

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is updating its strategic plan for 2017-2018 and is requesting feedback on their current Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. A brief summary of that plan can be found here, and the complete document can be found here.

How can you provide input? AADR members are strongly encouraged to provide feedback and input. You can either submit individual comments to NSF directly by Tuesday, September 27, 2016 or send them to Seun Ajiboye (sajiboye@iadr.org) by September 20, 2016 to include as part of AADR’s comments on NSF’s strategic plan.

Briefly, the NSF’s current strategic goals and associated objectives are:

  1. GOAL: Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering
    1. OBJECTIVE: Invest in fundamental research to ensure significant continuing advances across science, engineering, and education.
    2. OBJECTIVE: Integrate education and research to support development of a diverse STEM workforce with cutting-edge capabilities.
    3. OBJECTIVE: Provide world-class research infrastructure to enable major scientific advances.
  2. GOAL: Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education
    1. OBJECTIVE: Strengthen the links between fundamental research and societal needs through investments and partnerships.
    2. OBJECTIVE: Build the capacity of the Nation to address societal challenges using a suite of formal, informal, and broadly available STEM educational mechanisms.
  3. GOAL: Excel as a Federal Science Agency
    1. OBJECTIVE: Build an increasingly diverse, engaged, and high-performing workforce by fostering excellence in recruitment, training, leadership, and management of human capital.
    2. OBJECTIVE: Use effective methods and innovative solutions to achieve excellence in accomplishing the agency’s mission.

The “Agency Priority Goals (APG) and Long-term Performance Goals” are:

1. Increase public access to NSF-funded peer-reviewed publications.
2. Improve the nation’s capacity in data science by investing in the development of human capital and infrastructure.
3. Improve agency and awardee efficiency by leveling the award of grants across the fiscal year.

The NSF’s programs are as follows:

• Biological Sciences
• Computer and Information Science and Engineering
• Engineering
• Geosciences
• Mathematical and Physical Sciences
• Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
• International and Integrative Activities
• United States Arctic Research Commission
• Education and Human Resources
• Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction
• Agency Operations and Award Management
• Office of the National Science Board
• Office of the Inspector General