Hold members of Congress accountable
When linkurl:Research!America;http://www.researchamerica.org/ polled the US public in July on biomedical research and health care issues, 70% of registered voters who participated believed that the country's primacy in biomedical research is slipping. Almost half believed that the country must boost linkurl:NIH funding;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53288/, and more than half supported federal funding for linkurl:embryonic stem cell research;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23895/.
The results also showed that only 11% of respondents knew their Congressional representatives' positions on issues relating to medical, health and scientific research, and just 14% knew their representatives' positions on health care. So the group -- whose board of directors includes Eugene Garfield, the founder of The Scientist -- turned the questions on Congress, and created a Web site called linkurl:Your Congress - Your Health;http://www.yourcongressyourhealth.org/ where Congressional members have the chance to answer a number of questions and offer commentaries that explain their positions. The site also identifies members who decline to respond.
The first two questions of the site's 15 address NIH funding -- whether it should be increased, and specifically, whether it should be increased by 6.7% each year for the next three years to outpace inflation. Other questions address cuts in the CDC budget and embryonic stem cell research, as well as health-related topics such as health insurance coverage and electronic heath records.
The online initiative is being conducted in partnership with the Lasker Foundation and other organizations. FASEB has linkurl:supported;http://opa.faseb.org/pages/WashingtonUpdate/July2007/page2.htm#6 the project, saying the results would help the group lobby for research in Congress. According to Research!America, just under a quarter of all current members of Congress have posted their answers so far.
Get yourselves to linkurl:Your Congress - Your Health;http://www.yourcongressyourhealth.com and see where your representatives stand. And if they haven't posted their responses, send them an Email (you can do it right from the site) and tell them to step on it.