Thursday, September 18, 2014

Let Congress Know Medical Research Funding Matters to You!

APA is urging psychiatrists to contact their members of Congress, urging them to give increased priority to funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). APA is part of a coalition of more than 300 medical, academic, and advocacy organizations that are participating today in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, the goal of which is to educate members of Congress about the consequences of shrinking federal funding for medical research at the agency that has been the driving force behind decades of advances in understanding and treating a wide range of illnesses.

"In spite of the unprecedented opportunities in neuroscience and genetics that exist today, our nation’s support for medical research is in serious decline," said APA President Paul Summergrad. "APA strongly supports reinvigorated and growing federal investment for the NIH so that we do not lose a generation of talented researchers and the cures they could discover. We are at a transformative moment in the history of psychiatric research, and Congress should ensure that we seize upon this moment to achieve fundamental understanding of these disorders and the ways we can best care for patients in an integrated health care system"

Members of many of the participating organizations are attending a Capitol Hill rally today and have arranged to meet with their House and Senate representatives to emphasize the message that increased investment in the NIH is a critical national priority "to improve health, spur more progress, inspire more hope, and save more lives." Before the visits, they attended an advocacy training session to help them hone their messages (see photo). Others are encouraged to send emails or regular letters or make phone calls to their House and Senate members. Posting messages on the lawmaker's Facebook page is another way to convey the importance of this issue, the organizers note. Last year, more than $1.6 billion was cut from the NIH budget.

In addition, for the next three months, until Election Day, APA’s Department of Government Relations will be conducting Engage 2014—a grassroots campaign designed to encourage our members to advocate on behalf of the mental health community as well as increase participation in grassroots efforts among the APA membership as a whole. Information about Engage 2014 is posted on the APA website here.

NOTE: In observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this Friday's #YourMH @TWITTER chat will be on Hispanic mental health. #YourMH chat takes place every other Friday from noon to 1 p.m. ET. To join, use the #hashtag #YourMH (stands for "Your Mental Health") or @APAPSYCHIATRIC. And during the chats, don't just sit on the sidelines—tweet your comments!


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