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.

  • Francis Collins to Step Down as NIH Director on December 20
    Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra recently announced that Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will step down as NIH Director on December 20 and that NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., will assume the role of Acting NIH Director. Read more »
  • White House, Congress Approve Short-Term Funding Bill
    In early December, President Joe Biden signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through February 18, 2022. The CR, which was approved by both the House and Senate the previous day, funds federal departments, agencies, and programs at roughly last year’s levels. The new law averts a potential government shutdown. Read more »
  • Biden Announces New Actions to Combat COVID-19 This Winter
    President Biden recently announced a plan outlining nine actions that his Administration is taking to continue fighting COVID-19 amid a recent spike in cases and deaths in the U.S., the emergence of the omicron variant, and with the winter months ahead. Read more »
  • AAI Endorses Legislation to Strengthen Public Safety on Domestic Flights
    In early November, AAI issued a statement endorsing S.2888, the U.S. Air Travel Public Safety Act. This legislation, which was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), requires passengers on domestic flights to either, 1) be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 2) provide proof a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test (within three days of the flight’s departure, or 3) provide documentation of recent recovery from COVID-19 (within the last 90 days). Read more »
  • AAI Participates in Virtual Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day
    AAI was pleased to participate once again in the annual Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day (Rally Hill Day), which was held this year on September 23, 2021. Rally Hill Day brings together a wide range of stakeholders, from academia to patient advocates to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, for the common goal of advocating for increased funding for NIH. AAI has supported Rally Hill Day, both financially and through the participation of members and staff, since its inception in 2013. Read more »
  • Administration Announces $65 Billion Pandemic Preparedness Plan
    The White House recently released its plan for transforming the nation’s pandemic preparedness infrastructure to better prepare for, and respond to, future pandemics and other biological threats. The 10 year, $65.3 billion plan, entitled “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities,” lays out goals under 5 pillars. Read more »
  • Biden Announces PCAST Members
    President Joe Biden announced the members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in September. Comprised of experts and leaders in science and technology ranging from agriculture to neuroscience to cybersecurity, PCAST serves as a body of external advisors who make policy recommendations to the President and the White House on matters of science, technology, and innovation. Read more »
  • ARPA-H: Common Themes from the NIH/OSTP Stakeholder Listening Sessions
    NIH and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) held a series of “Listening Sessions” over the summer to solicit feedback from stakeholders on the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). There were 15 sessions in total, with some via invitation only and others open to the public. Each session was organized around particular biomedical science topics in order to collectively hear from interested stakeholder and community groups. Read more »

AAI Public Affairs Activities

Seeking Applications for the 2022-23 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program

AAI is now accepting applications for the 2022-23 Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP). The AAI PPFP engages early career researchers (within 15 years of receiving their terminal degrees) in a year-long program that teaches how federal legislative action and agency activities affect the conduct and funding of biomedical research – and how AAI works on behalf of its members for the best possible outcome. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for biomedical research and will participate in AAI public affairs activities at the AAI annual meeting in Portland. Aside from the trip to visit Capitol Hill, Fellows will not need to travel or leave their institutions or labs.

Deadline: January 19, 2022

AAI Statement on COVID-19 Vaccines and Booster Shots

AAI President Gary A. Koretzky, M.D., Ph.D., issued the following statement on December 2, 2021.

The American Association of Immunologists (AAI)* urges all Americans to get fully vaccinated,** and once eligible, to receive a booster shot against COVID-19. Vaccination significantly reduces your chance of being hospitalized for, or dying from, COVID-19, and will help protect the lives and health of your family, friends, and community. As immunologists and other scientists work to understand the threat of new variants, including omicron, our existing vaccines remain our best – and an extraordinarily effective – tool against a disease that has already claimed the lives of more than 780,000 Americans and more than 5.2 million people globally.

* AAI (www.aai.org) is the nation’s largest professional association of research scientists and physicians who study the immune system.
** Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers people fully vaccinated “2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.”

Statement by AAI President Gary Koretzky on Dr. Collins’ Decision to Step Down as NIH Director

AAI President Gary Koretzky, M.D., Ph.D., recently issued a statement in response to the news that Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., will step down as NIH Director at the end of the year. In the statement, Dr. Koretzky thanks Dr. Collins, on behalf of AAI, for his “12 years of exemplary leadership as NIH Director” and “wish[es] him the very best as he begins the next chapter of his career.”

AAI Announces 2021−2022 Public Policy Fellows

AAI is pleased to announce the newest class of Public Policy Fellows. These early career researchers will spend a year learning how to effectively advocate for the funding and policies that most impact the biomedical research enterprise. The program culminates in a Capitol Hill Day event next spring.

AAI Congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris, Recognizes Administration’s Commitment to Science

AAI sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris congratulating them on their inauguration and recognizing their “commitment to fact-based inquiry, diversity, and international collaboration” and their “strong belief in the promise of scientific research.” The letter, which was signed by AAI President Jenny Ting, Ph.D., AAI Chief Executive Officer Michele Hogan, Ph.D., and AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Ross Kedl, Ph.D., also offers the assistance of AAI to the new Administration.

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