The following is an excerpt of an action alert that was received recently from IFFGD/the Digestive Health Alliance:
We want to let you know about a threat to medical research, and how you can help stop it.
Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s biomedical research agency, faces an automatic 7.8% or $2.5 billion cut in their fiscal 2013 budget. This will go into effect unless an alternative plan becomes law later this year to meet deficit reduction targets.
According to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, the cut would mean NIH would be able to fund 2,300 fewer grants in fiscal year 2013. Over the past nine years, with nearly flat budgets, NIH has lost purchasing power for medical research due to inflation. Only 1 out of 7 grant requests now get supported, the lowest ratio in NIH history.
The NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. NIH support goes to scientists in universities and research institutions in every state and around the globe. Research findings are the basis for medical treatments and the search for cures. Continued research is critical to our community affected by digestive health conditions.
IFFGD and our grassroots arm, the Digestive Health Alliance (DHA), have joined the public health community in advocating that Congress provide NIH with at least $32 billion in fiscal year 2013. The current fiscal year 2012 NIH budget is $30.7 billion. Funding of at least $32 billion would allow NIH to implement critical new research initiatives.
Please help by contacting your Congressional representatives in the U.S. House and Senate. Ask them to support an increase in NIH funding to a level of at least $32 billion for Fiscal Year 2013.
- Go online to our Legislative Action Center
- Click on NIH 2013 Budget Action to send an email on this issue to your representatives.
Be an advocate for digestive health. Thank you!
IBS Impact encourages members and readers who are U.S. citizens, to participate in this advocacy effort. The above link on the IFFGD site leads to Capwiz, a software program in which you may type your zipcode to look up and easily contact your federal legislators. If you live in a zipcode that falls in more than one district, you will be prompted for the exact street address. Please use your real name and contact information. As many legislators only accept communications from their own constituents, it is important for Congressional staff members receiving your message to know that you are a resident and potential voter in that district and a real person with real needs. They also may wish to reply to you, although it is unpredictable when or if one will receive a response. The Capwiz program is reputable software used for legislative advocacy by numerous organizations and groups. It and IFFGD will protect your privacy and you do not need to be an IFFGD member to use the site. However, if, for any reason, you do not wish to use Capwiz itself, you can contact your legislators directly by email through their official websites, phone, postal mail or fax by using the contact information provided by Capwiz.
Also note the prominent action alert on the same page for HR 2239, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act, currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. If you have not contacted your Representative recently, please also consider asking for his or her co-sponsorship or thanking him or her for supporting the bill if he or she is already a current sponsor or cosponsor. The most recent details on the progress of this bill are in the March 9, 2012 post. Background information is in the July 6, 2011 post
IBS Impact members and readers who are not U.S. citizens, although you cannot participate directly in advocating for these issues, the swift passage of HR 2239 and increases in the NIH budget will also affect you indirectly. As IFFGD notes in the action alert quoted above, National Institutes of Health grants fund researchers all over the world. Also, in the research community, there is often multinational collaboration, and scientists from outside the U.S. often train or work in the U.S. for a period of time and bring new insights back to their own countries. Different entities within NIH also support and host multinational resources such as the clinical trial database ClinicalTrials.gov and medical journal databases Medline Plus and PubMed that make a wealth of medical research information available to professionals and the public worldwide. Support for progress in U.S. legislation, funding and research will have ripple effects abroad, just as U.S. citizens with IBS benefit from the work of scientists in many other countries. If you have U.S. citizen friends or relatives who have been supportive about your IBS and/or who may have another personal interest in functional GI disorders, please consider asking them to support these advocacy efforts as well. IBS Impact encourages people with IBS in many countries to alert us to concerns, resources and possible advocacy opportunities in those nations so that we can support and encourage advocacy and awareness efforts worldwide.