On September 17 the Endocrine Society helped sponsor the 3rd annual “Rally for Medical Research Hill Day” in Washington, D.C. The event proved to be an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill with nearly 300 people from more than 120 different organizations coming together, from 40 states, plus Washington D.C. to visit House and Senate offices and urge Congress to make funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority. The goal of the event was to speak with a unified voice to House and Senate offices about the importance of investing in NIH and getting Congress to agree on a new budget framework that will support stronger investments in the NIH.
Several members of the Society’s Advocacy & Public Outreach and Research Affairs Core Committees participated in the Hill Day making the Endocrine Society and endocrine-related research very visible as they were able to share stories about endocrine research with congressional offices. Participants included: Ruth Keri, PhD, Daniel Oppenheim, MD, PhD, Cynthia Stuenkel, MD, Corrine Welt, MD, and Jason Wexler, MD.
For those not able to come to Washington to participate in the Rally Hill Day meetings, the Society developed an on-line advocacy campaign so that they also could communicate the importance of NIH funding to their Members of Congress. We were pleased that Society members from all over the country took part. In addition, the Society joined a social media effort in which members posted “selfies” to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #IRallyFor_____ . Members added “endocrine research,” “diabetes research,” “thyroid cancer research,” “women’s health,” and several other descriptors that increased the visibility of endocrinology throughout the Rally day. Endocrine Society members might be interested to note that the Society staff also participated in the social media campaign showing their support for what our members do.
By the end of the day, participants had visited hundreds of congressional offices to share our message and heard from several key leaders in the House and Senate: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) who serves as Assistant Minority Leader (whip), the second highest position in the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate; Senate Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA); and House Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK). All of these speakers shared their commitment to seeing robust increases in NIH funding and their hope that with grassroots help we can influence the U.S. Congress to not only increase funding in 2016, but, more importantly, get a budget deal that will allow increases in future years.