On September 17, members of the Endocrine Society joined over 400 advocates to call on the Congress to provide increased funding for biomedical research as part of the 8th Annual Rally for Medical Research.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic prevented participants from gathering in-person, Rally organizers were able to arrange tele- and videoconference meetings for research advocates around the country and congressional offices and staff. During the meetings, our members helped to raise the profile of endocrine research and reinforce the urgent need for additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The Rally is consistently a high-profile event on the Hill and the Endocrine Society once again provided a large contingent of members for the meetings. Prior to the Rally, organizers hosted an online reception featuring NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, along with several congressional champions for NIH research. The invited speakers celebrated the important work that NIH-funded scientists contribute to and thanked advocates for their commitment to supporting biomedical research.
During the meetings with congressional offices, Rally participants reinforced the following important messages:
- We expressed appreciation to Congress for providing five straight years of robust funding increases for the NIH, including an increase of $2.6 billion in FY 2020, and for recognizing how the NIH is playing a vital role in the COVID-19 response.
- We asked Congress to provide the NIH with at least $44.7 billion (a $3 billion increase) to the base budget in FY 2021 to support the opportunities for life-saving medical research.
- We urged Congress to provide at least $15.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the NIH in the next COVID-19 relief package to support the wide range of medical research that has been stalled or lost due to the pandemic, as well as ongoing research on COVID-19 itself.
While our member researchers and clinicians were meeting with members of Congress, the Society’s staff also got in on the action by posting on social media and tweeting at their elected representatives using the Rally hashtag about why they support federally funded research.
Given the ongoing pandemic, advocacy for the NIH is even more important this year. In addition to passing an annual appropriations bill to fund the NIH and the rest of the government, Congress is also struggling to agree on the path forward for the next emergency supplemental funding bill to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ensure that biomedical researchers can address endocrine research priorities, help labs and institutions safely reopen, and also respond to new research needs related to COVID-19, the NIH urgently needs a strong base appropriation in addition to emergency supplemental funds. To learn more and find out how you can be an advocate for the NIH, please visit the Endocrine Society’s advocacy website at: www.endocrine.org/advocacy.