ASBMB’s Advocate Spotlight highlights the efforts of science advocates to share the importance of biomedical research. If you know someone telling the story of science to legislators to advance science policy, email email@example.com so that we can consider him or her.
The Advocacy Spotlight typically highlights the advocacy efforts of individual scientists, but today we’re focusing on the advocacy efforts of the members of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. More than 600 members wrote to their members of Congress asking them to support the bipartisan budget agreement.
Thanks in part to these efforts, the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan fiscal 2016 spending package that included a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health. Within that $2 billion increase, $850 million is slated for specific programs and research on specific diseases, and $1.13 billion will go to increasing individual institutes’ budgets.
Michael Schaller, professor of biochemistry at University of West Virginia, was among those who wrote to his representatives. He said: “It literally took a couple minutes to send letters to all of my members of Congress. The outcome of the vote was very gratifying, and I felt I did my part to contribute to the national voice in support of funding for biomedical research.”
ASBMB Director of Public Affairs Ben Corb said, “Increases like this do not come about because of the kindness of legislator’s hearts. Advocates took the time to make their voices heard by writing to their representatives and Congress listened. We thank you all for the hard work you do every day and especially thank those of you who took a few moments to participate in the ASBMB’s advocacy efforts.”
Taking time to participate in advocacy, even in what may seem to be very small ways, can have a huge impact on funding for the NIH. We tip our hats to everyone who wrote letters!