AAI Public Affairs

The AAI public affairs program advocates on behalf of AAI members by identifying critically important issues in immunology and biomedical research, providing recommendations to relevant federal officials [including those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)], and urging Congress and the Administration to increase funding for NIH and other key agencies/programs.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS NEWS
  • AAI Submits Testimony Supporting International Scientific Collaborations and Exchange
    AAI President JoAnne Flynn, Ph.D., submitted testimony to the Senate Finance Committee for its June 5 hearing on “Foreign Threats to Taxpayer-Funded Research: Oversight Opportunities and Policy Solutions.”
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  • House Committees Approve $2 Billion Funding Increase for NIH
    On May 8, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2020 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies by a party-line vote of 30-23. The bill includes a $2 billion funding increase (+5.1 percent) for NIH, which, if enacted into law, would result in a total NIH budget of $41.1 billion.
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  • AAI Submits Testimony to Congressional Committees,
    Seeks NIH Increase of $2.5 Billion for FY 2020

    AAI recently submitted written testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies urging a $2.5 billion increase in the NIH budget for fiscal year 2020.
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  • Congress, President Reach Deal on FY 2019 Funding, Averting Another Government Shutdown
    In mid-February, President Trump signed into law an appropriations bill that funds the nine federal departments that had not received full-year funding through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2019...
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AAI Public Affairs Activities

Diversity and Harassment in the Biomedical Research Workforce Focus of Key Session at IMMUNOLOGY 2019™

During IMMUNOLOGY 2019™ the AAI Committee on Public Affairs (CPA), the AAI Minority Affairs Committee (MAC), and the AAI Committee on the Status of Women (CSOW) sponsored a session entitled, “Fostering Diversity and Preventing Harassment in the Biomedical Research Workforce.” This timely and important session, which was chaired by CPA Chair David Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D. (AAI ’86), MAC Chair Robert Binder, Ph.D. (AAI ’02), and CSOW Chair Laura Solt, Ph.D. (AAI ’13), featured presentations by the following experts:
  • Elizabeth Hillman, J.D., Ph.D., President of Mills College and a Member of the Committee on the Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), described key findings and recommendations of the June 2018 NASEM report entitled, “Sexual Harassment of Women, Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” Access her presentation here.
  • Hannah Valantine, M.D., Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discussed NIH’s “scientific approach to inclusive excellence.” Access her presentation here.
  • Avery August, Ph.D. (AAI ’99), HHMI Professor, Professor of Immunology, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Cornell University, spoke about ways that academic institutions can address diversity and inclusion. Access his presentation here.

AAI Issues Statement on the Importance of Vaccination and the Measles Outbreak

In response to the current measles outbreak, AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair David Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D., issued a statement on the importance of vaccines. Chaplin highlights the AAI view that vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives. The statement was released in conjunction with a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, entitled “Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?”
 

AAI Submits Comments to NIAID on its Proposed New Innovator Award

In late December, AAI submitted comments to NIAID regarding its proposal to pilot a New Innovator Awards (DP2) program. This pilot is based on the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, which supports “exceptionally creative early career investigators who propose innovative, high-impact projects.” Applicants must be Early Stage Investigators and do not need to have a lot of preliminary data. The proposed NIAID DP2 would differ from the NIH-wide award in two key ways: it would be available to non-citizens and to those still in their fellowship training, and the $1.5 million in direct costs would be allocated to the awardee over five years (as opposed to one).

AAI supports the NIAID effort to pilot this new funding mechanism, but believes that more clarity is needed in a number of areas, including helping applicants understand what is meant by “little preliminary data” and clearly defining the various funding opportunities available to early-career researchers (and publishing the expected paylines/success rates for those opportunities).
 

89 AAI Members Visit Congress to Advocate for Biomedical Research

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI, 6th; pictured right) with AAI members Thomas Rothstein and Nichol Holodick
In conjunction with IMMUNOLOGY 2017™, AAI held its largest-ever Capitol Hill Day on May 16. Eighty-nine AAI members from 21 states met with Members of Congress or staff from 85 Congressional offices.

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