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    Musculoskeletal Research Funding

    The looming U.S. federal deficit and priorities on national security, defense spending and other national needs have resulted in dramatic cuts in U.S. medical research funding over the past several years.

    In addition, the increased politicization of science in the U.S. threatens not only public health, but the very scientific and technical advances that drive research discoveries.

    Do these current fiscal and political realities foretell of dark times ahead for scientific research funding in the United States?

    Now more than ever, it is imperative that scientists become more effective research advocates.

    NIH Funding Facts

    • U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding cut-offs are dropping.
    • If the President’s FY 2007 budget requestfor NIH is adopted, it would result in NIH funding 1,750 fewer research project grants than it supported just three years ago.

    • More specifically, bone research is under-funded in relation to the economic burden of bone-related diseases.

    • Scientific process and progress – including peer review and animal research – are under threat from vocal minorities.

    • Disease-focused advocates compete for funding for their causes.

    • Scientists and patients make the bestadvocates for biomedical research


    Developing a New Message

    Ten Tips for Making the Science Case

    1. Schedule a visit with your elected representative and ASBMR staff in your nation’s capital or at a local district/region office.
    2. Identify the outcome you are seeking, your reasons (professional and personal), and why your representative should care (cost-benefit).
    3. Refer to discoveries that have improved lives, increased productivity, and/orreduced healthcare costs.
    4. Offer a vision of a better tomorrow, from a scientist’s/physician’s point of view. Compare how a disease was treated 10 years ago and how it’s treated today.
    5. Cite statistics to support your points and rehearse a few primary messages about: The costs of osteoporosis and musculoskeletal diseases: In the U.S., $18 billion is spent annually for bone fractures from osteoporosis. The number of people affected bybone-related diseases: 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, 80 percent are women, and another 34 million Americans are at risk of developing osteoporosis. The low national investment in research: About six cents of each health dollar in the U.S. is invested in research. The estimated economic value to the region/country of grants received byyour institution, jobs filled, etc.The popularity of the cause: 58% of Americans surveyed want increased research funding.
    6. Talk about what you know best: How science works and what grants cover. Invite your representative or a staffer to your lab. Communicate the excitement and the promise.
    7. Don’t address government funding you would cut or how to balance budgets. Find a way to connect medical research funding to the quest to lower health care costs.
    8. Focus on relevance: Use easy to understand terms to educate political leaders, civic groups, and the media on the NIH’s role in improving the nation’s health.
    9. Be brief.
    10. Don’t forget to say thank you. It is absolutely imperative to thank lawmakers who champion science, even if their advocacy fails. Praise their past actions supporting science; send a quick thank you. Write letters of support to your local newspaper. Take Action Your chosen profession, and livelihood, depends on effective advocacy. Plan a visit to your representative and/or funding agencyrepresentative. The ASBMR staff can support you with your visits and presentations. Contact ASBMR at +1 (202) 367-1161 or by e-mail asbmr@asbmr.org or through the ASBMR website at www.asbmr.org.

    Take Action

    Your chosen profession, and livelihood, depends on effective advocacy.  Plan a visit to your representative and/or funding agency representative.

    The ASBMR staff can support you with your visits and presentations.  Contact ASBMR at +1 (202) 367-1161 or by email at asbmr@asbmr.org.