AADR/ADEA Members on Capitol Hill: Advocacy Day Recap

On April 8, 2014, oral health scientists, educators and students from throughout the country participated in the 2014 AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. AADR and ADEA members from 22 states and the District of Columbia conducted over 70 meetings with members of Congress. During these meetings they urged Congress to provide $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $425 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and $32.4 million for the primary care training in General, Pediatric and Public Health Dentistry under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII Health Professions Program in the Fiscal Year 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation Bill. Also, to amplify our message on Capitol Hill, AADR issued an action alert which enabled individuals to participate virtually in our Advocacy Day. To date, AADR advocates sent over 170 emails to members of Congress.

Prior to advocating on behalf of oral health research and education, AADR and ADEA
members attended a morning briefing session in the Rayburn House Office Building. Representatives Simpson, R-Idaho; Gosar, R-Ariz. and G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.; and the staff of Senator Sanders, I-Vt., briefed and welcomed the participants. Katie Schubert, vice president of CRD Associates, provided an overview of the political and legislative landscape. Martha Somerman, director of NIDCR and Renee Joskow, senior dental advisor at HRSA, provided an update about initiatives and priorities at their respective
agencies.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, indicated his hope that Congress would complete its work
on appropriations but thought that it is doubtful Congress will finish this work prior to the elections.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., said it is doubtful that Congress will pass a budget this year, but encouraged attendees to “Start lining up what you want with the right people because we’re at a crossroads with federal debt.” He described the characteristics of his district, where access to care is especially problematic. “Your message has to be diversified as well as dynamic. Once options are on the table, we can come up with solutions. Research must have priorities. Look at innovative models.” He then went on to discuss pillars of dentistry and where the need is.

Erica Solway, a senior advisor for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., described legislation Sen. Sanders recently introduced to address the dental crisis in America. This bill, S. 1522, would expand dental coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and The Department of Veterans Affairs. “The senator’s bill does quite a bit to expand dental coverage,” said Solway. “It would expand funding for grant programs for building, operating, or expanding dental clinics in schools. Sen. Sanders is also planning to introduce a bill on the primary care workforce and conduct a hearing on health care challenges.”

Rep. George Kenneth Butterfield, D-N.C., described his father’s experience as a dentist. Butterfield’s father immigrated to the United States from Bermuda in 1917 when he was 17 years old. After serving in the military during World War I, he studied dentistry while earning a living cleaning spittoons. Rep. Butterfield’s father went on to practice dentistry for 50 years and served as the first black elected official in Wilson, North Carolina since the Reconstruction era. Rep. Butterfield said he’s a strong proponent of the Affordable Care Act, but was disappointed that it does not include dental care for adults as an essential benefit—a goal he’ll continue to advocate.

Katie Schubert, vice president at CRD Associates, provided an overview of the political and legislative landscape on Capitol Hill. During her presentation she emphasized the need to engage and advocate with other organizations at the macro level by urging Congress to stop the austerity measures.

Reports from Advocacy Day participants indicated that while Congress supports the concept of increasing funding for biomedical research, members of Congress and staff stated there is not enough money available to provide significant increases for NIH and NIDCR this year because of the continued tight budget climate.

The AADR Government Affairs team invites all members of the dental research and education community to engage their elected officials regularly, but at least on an annual basis through the Advocacy Day program, to communicate the importance of dental, oral and craniofacial research. If you would like to become more involved with AADR’s advocacy efforts please contact Carolyn Mullen, director of government affairs, and contact your elected representatives through the online AADR Legislative Action Center.

Photo Index AADR ADEA Advocacy Day

 

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AADR Submits Testimony Urging Congress to Increase Funding for NIH/NIDCR

Today, AADR President Dr. Timothy DeRouen submitted written testimony on behalf of AADR urging Congress to provide $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $425 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the fiscal year 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation bill.  The testimony highlighted the important contributions of dental, oral and craniofacial research but acknowledged that the recent austerity measures will have a significant impact on progress.  Dr. DeRouen urged Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to undo sequestration permanently and prioritize funding for research this year.

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Gert Quigley Fellowship Application Deadline Extended

AADR extended the deadline for applications for the Gert Quigley Government Affairs
Fellowship. Applications are due now due on April 11, 2014.

The Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellowship provides a unique and exciting learning experience both in Washington, DC and through grassroots efforts at the participants local university or institution. This fellowship is designed to familiarize dental school, Ph.D., or dual degree students with the federal legislative process as it relates to basic and translational dental and craniofacial research, as well as research on the oral health care delivery system. The applicant must be a member of the AADR National Student Research Group and a DMD/DDS, Ph.D. or a dual degree student.

Click here for more information about the program and the application process.

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NIH Director Testifies Before Congress

Earlier this week Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee about the fiscal year 2015 budget request for NIH. Dr. Collins expressed his gratitude for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 as providing much needed increased funding for NIH.  He noted the significant impact of sequestration and partial government shutdown as creating challenges to advances in groundbreaking medical research.  During the hearing many members of Congress articulated their support for NIH, but disagreed about the mechanism to provide increased funding in this tough budget climate. While dental, oral and craniofacial research were not specifically mentioned many members of Congress spoke about pancreatic cancer and the need for earlier detection.

Click here to watch the hearing.

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President Obama’s FY15 Budget Request

Yesterday, President Obama presented his FY15 budget request to Congress. This budget adheres to the caps or the overall amount of funding available for discretionary spending as dictated by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and proposes cuts and reforms to make room for, “investments in priority areas such as research, clean energy, early learning and ending homelessness.” The budget released yesterday only includes top line funding levels. Additional detailed information is expected to be released later this week.

Specifically the FY15 President’s budget proposes the following:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), $30.2 billion in total budget authority, an approximate 1% increase over the FY14 level of $30 billion
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), $397.13 million, a $1.5 million or 0.3% decrease from the FY14 appropriated level of $398.65 million or a .01% increase from the FY14 final enacted level of $397.102 million
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, $657.47 million, a $24.2 million or 3.6% increase over the FY14 level of $633.27 million
  • National Science Foundation, $7.255 billion, a 1.2% or $83 million increase from the FY14 level of $7.171 billion
  • Agency for Health Research and Quality $334 million in base discretionary authority, a 8.2% or $30 million decrease from the FY14 level of $364 million.

The President is also proposing increased funding for research through the, “Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative.” This program if enacted by Congress would provide an additional $28 billion for non defense discretionary programs paid for via tax reforms and changes in mandatory programs. This proposal would include an additional $970 million for the National Institutes of Health, “to increase the number of grants funded and invest in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative (BRAIN).” At this time it is unclear if this proposal would boost funding to other institutes, like NIDCR at the NIH. Also, it is important to note, these proposed targeted increases included in the “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative,” are not included in the aforementioned agency funding proposals outlined above.

The President’s budget is a document that outlines the administration’s funding priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and Congress as the authority to approve, reject or modify the recommendations included in the budget.

AADR will continue to advocate for Congress to provide $32 billion for NIH and $425
million for NIDCR in the FY15 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriation Bill.

For additional information click the links below:
Office of Management and Budget Overview
Department of Health and Human Services Budget Appendix
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Congressional Justification

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Student Advocate of the Year Winner Announced

Adrien Hamedi-Sangsari

AADR is pleased to announce that Adrien Hamedi-Sangsari, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry is the recipient of the 2014 AADR Student Advocate of the Year Award. In a letter of congratulations, Dr. David Johnsen, Chair of the AADR Government Affairs Committee indicated his appreciation for Adrien’s tireless advocacy on behalf of dental, oral, and craniofacial research especially in during this challenging budget climate. Last year, as President Elect of the UCLA National Student Research Group, Adrien encouraged UCLA students to respond to action alerts and participated in the 2013 AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Most notably, during the August congressional recess Adrien took the initiative and met with Congressmen from the California delegation including Rep. Waxman (D), Rep. Bass (D) and Rep. Sherman (D).  These meetings enabled him to discuss the groundbreaking research at UCLA and the importance of increasing funding for biomedical research.

As a recipient of this award, Adrien will receive travel and a one night accommodation to attend the April 8, 2014 AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

To learn more about the Student Advocate of the Year Award and other opportunities to become more involved with advocacy please contact the AADR Director of Government Affairs Carolyn Mullen cmullen@aadr.org

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Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship Application Period OPEN

The AADR is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2014-2015 Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship. The Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellowship provides a unique and exciting learning experience both in Washington, DC and through grassroots efforts at the participants local university or institution. This fellowship is designed to familiarize dental school, Ph.D., or dual degree students with the federal legislative process as it relates to basic and translational dental and craniofacial research, as well as research on the oral health care delivery system. The applicant must be a member of the AADR National Student Research Group and a DMD/DDS, Ph.D. or a dual degree student.

Click here for more information about the program and the application process.

Applications are due by March 29, 2014.

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IADR/AADR Comment on the NIDCR Draft Strategic Plan

Today, the IADR/AADR submitted feedback to the 2014-2019 National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) Draft Strategic Plan.  IADR/AADR applauded the efforts of NIDCR for the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan and acknowledged that a number of our recommendations were weaved throughout the document.  We noted that it will be important to continue the NIDCR’s commitment to innovations in dental restorative materials. Finally, we were pleased that global aspects were included throughout the Strategic Plan as well as the “Oral Health Research across the Globe” stand-alone feature.

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NIH Announces First Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity

Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins announced the appointment of Hannah Valantine, M.D., to the permanent position of Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. This appointment is the result recommendations by the Biomedical Research Workforce Diversity Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) which called for the creation of a new position dedicated to diversity. AADR applauds this announcement and looks forward to working with Dr. Valantine to enhance the diversity of the dental, oral and craniofacial research workforce.  Click here to read the NIH press release.

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Analysis of Budget Cuts Impact to Biomedical Research

Last week, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
released an analysis of the impact sequestration had on biomedical research.  According to their analysis, in constant dollars the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget in fiscal year (FY) 2013 was $6 billion less than FY2003. Additionally, the number of competing research project grants awarded by NIH decreased by 20.3% from FY2003-FY2013. AADR will continue to partner with research community urging Congress to roll back all of the cuts administered by sequestration and increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.

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