My dad, who spent more than two decades as an NIH researcher, working in the lab four days a week, and in a clinic for low-income patients one day, has just sent me the below. I don't think my dad has ever sent me a forward before, political or humorous, so I'm taking it fairly seriously. (He's no longer working at NIH -- he left to head a private research foundation.) It's ironic that after Bush rattled on, in his SotU speech, about how we needed to fund an investment in science, he then proceeded (in his budget a week later) to cut funding for research in all sorts of fields (alt-energy, medicine, etc), cut Pell Grants, cut aid to the states for primary education, etc...
Please send an email supporting the Specter/Harkin amendment to your senators. NIH is already struggling -- funding only 11-12% of grant requests, when at least 30% are truly meritorious. Further cuts will discourage biomedical researchers at institutions all over the country. Moreover, medical schools depend on the overhead from these grants to support educational activities and facilities. Many are already into red ink. The next generation of physicians is thus imperiled, just when the baby boomers are reaching the age when medical problems become a major issue. We could wind up with a doctor shortage, or worse, a generation of poorly educated and marginally qualified physicians.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Subject: NIH Needs Your Help: Urge Your Senators To Support Specter/Harkin Amendment
From: Bruce Bistrian, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The NIH budget is in serious trouble if the Senate does not add additional money for discretionary spending programs during this week's debate on the FY2007 Budget Resolution. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) plan to offer an amendment that would add an additional $7 billion for vital health and education programs, including NIH, CDC, K-12 education, higher education and others. You can make a difference: If you agree that additional funds should be provided for NIH, tell your Senators to support the Specter/Harkin budget amendment to add money for important health and education programs. To contact your Senators, please click here and click on Urge Your Senator to Support the Budget Amendment to Increase Funding for NIH.
Bruce Bistrian, M.D., Ph.D.