Science policy news weekly update: February 3, 2017

The ASBMB’s Public Affairs Department encourages all readers of the Policy Blotter to alert the office about interesting and relevant articles. Please send tips to astothert@asbmb.org.

What’s new in Blotter news?

One of President Donald Trump’s major campaign promises has been estimated to have a price tag of $15 billion or more. The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, discusses the impact of that funding if instead it were invested in scientific research and public health initiatives.

What $15 billion could do for the research community

The ASBMB released a statement in response to a controversial executive order on immigration and refugees issued by Trump.

ASBMB statement on President Donald J. Trump’s executive order restricting immigration

 

While the dust continues to settle from Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., we are beginning to better understand the consequences. Recently, leaders from seven U.S. academic medical centers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine that “the consequences of this approach for U.S. health care, and our field of internal medicine, are far reaching and damaging.” Though questions of the legality of the executive order persist and those affected by the ban are grappling with interruptions to their lives and work, the scientific community is showing solidarity, pressing for the rights of all, regardless of religious or political ideology. Trump’s former rival, Hillary Clinton, and many others recently attended a fundraiser supporting two top cancer researchers at Columbia University, who happen to be immigrants, and representatives of more than 150 universities and scientific societies are signing and circulating an open letter in protest of Trump’s order.

Travel restrictions ‘a step backwards’ for U.S. medical education, research and healthcare (EurekAlert!)

As Trump worked on his immigration ban, Clinton showed her support for immigrant cancer researchers (STAT)

U.S. scientists protest Trump’s ‘travel ban’ in open letter signed by 150 universities and societies (IBT)

 

Many in the scientific community would agree that separating politics from science is necessary, but, in reality, it might not be achievable. During George W. Bush’s presidency, for example, scientists frequently criticized the administration for presenting inaccurate or incomplete information on areas ranging from stem cell research to climate change. In contrast, the Barrack Obama presidency has been widely regarded as a time of scientific progress and achievement. Now, just two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, many scientists feel that science is again under threat. However, unlike during the Bush presidency, this time scientists are ready.

A new battle over politics and science could be brewing. And scientists are ready (The Washington Post)

 

Politics in America have rarely been this polarized. One area where common ground traditionally has been found, and where investments directly impact the economy and well-being of American citizens, is funding for basic scientific research. In the past, funding for institutions like the National Institutes of Health has garnered bipartisan support. With the emergence of health pandemics, such as Zika virus, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and the growing rates of cancer diagnoses, bipartisan support for funding of basic research should not waiver.

Funding for basic scientific research remains a critical bipartisan priority (The Hill)

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