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Researcher Commentary: Help Support Medical Research

My name is Scott Hensley, Ph.D., and I’m an assistant professor here at The Wistar Institute.  Like most academic biomedical researchers, I rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies to fund my work.  I would like to ask for your help in continuing to move our research forward.

For decades, government funding has propelled biomedical research, fostering new discoveries and creating real improvements in the lives of all Americans.  Every vaccine we give our children, every lifesaving medical procedure, and every new drug that comes to the market, owes its origins to the fundamental science done in places like Wistar.

Recently, the White House has released a proposed budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which essentially flattens the NIH. This year’s budget is the same as last year’s, which effectively means a 3.5 percent cut due to inflation.  This cut means that a potential cancer treatment could go untested, or that researchers might not be able to explore new avenues of research. It means a loss of jobs and impairs our ability to train young scientists. 

We can all understand that these are difficult times and budgetary sacrifices must be made, but I believe we can do so without sacrificing our future in the process.

I ask you to urge President Obama to increase the NIH budget for FY2013. One of our colleagues in the research community has posted a petition on the official White House website. This petition must get 25,000 signatures by March 18 if the White House is to review it.

While a single petition does not mean much by itself, it gives impetus and ammunition to the many advocacy networks that are trying to convince the President and Congress to increase funding for the NIH on behalf of all Americans.  

So I ask you to do two easy things: sign this petition, and ask your friends and family to join sign it too.  It won’t take more than a few minutes of your time and it can make a real difference.

You can sign and view the petition here: