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 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

AAI Announces 2022−2023 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 funding and policies that impact the biomedical research enterprise. The program culminates in a Capitol Hill Day event next spring.

AAI Sends Letter to Congressional Leaders on Need for Supplemental Funding for COVID-19 Priorities

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Peter Jensen, M.D., recently wrote to key congressional leaders, urging them “to expeditiously approve legislation that provides at least $15.6 billion in supplemental funding to address some of the most pressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter, sent on behalf of AAI, was prompted by reports that the Administration will soon run out of funding for key tools to combat COVID-19, including vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and antiviral therapies, as well as for critically important research priorities, including studying who may need an additional booster shot and when. This funding would enable continued investment in these crucial areas, and would also allow the Administration to address important global health challenges, such as increasing vaccination rates around the world.

AAI Issues Statement on President Biden’s FY 2023 Budget Request for NIH

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Peter E. Jensen, M.D., recently issued a statement on President Joe Biden’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request for NIH. The statement expresses appreciation for the president's longtime support for NIH, concern about this year's insufficient funding request, and support for increased NIH and pandemic funding.

The president’s request would increase the regular NIH budget by just $275 million (0.6%) in FY 2023, reducing the agency’s purchasing power after adjusting for inflation. Separately, he requests a $4 billion funding increase for the newly-created Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and proposes a comprehensive pandemic preparedness plan (to be paid for through mandatory funding that is not subject to the annual appropriations process). Dr. Jensen’s statement recommends an increase in the regular NIH budget of $4 billion for FY 2023, a ”substantial” funding increase for ARPA-H, and full funding of the president’s pandemic preparedness plan.

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.”

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