The importance of investing in biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a political issue that typically receives bipartisan support from both elected officials and their constituents. While it has been perplexing to see recent proposals calling for reductions to NIH funding, the current budget discussions in Washington, D.C., afford us an opportunity to reaffirm the value of biomedical research.
As sleep medicine professionals, it is important for us to stand united in support of the research that is funded by NIH, which annually awards more than 57,000 research and training grants that support approximately 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities and organizations in every state. This work creates the very foundation for informed, effective and cost-effective health care.
It's also a good economic investment. Every dollar of this external medical research funding, distributed by the NIH to universities and other groups nationwide, is estimated to add an additional $2.2 to local economies.
I hope you will join the AASM in urging your federal legislators to grow, rather than cut, NIH research funding. We also need to remind Congress of the importance of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which houses the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR). Our lawmakers need to hear from us as they make budget decisions that will have a lasting impact on sleep research and sleep medicine.
You can get involved in 4 simple steps:
- Use the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools webpage to find out how much research funding NIH has distributed in your state or congressional district.
- Identify your Representative and Senators.
- Download and customize the AASM template letter.
- Send the letter to your legislators before April 28 (when a spending bill must be finalized to avert a government shutdown).
Thank you in advance for your support.
Ronald D. Chervin, MD, MS