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
  • NIH, Other Agencies, Begin FY 2021 with Flat Funding
    On October 1, the first day of fiscal year (FY) 2021, President Donald Trump signed into law a continuing resolution (CR) that funds most federal agencies and programs at last year’s levels through December 11, 2020. The CR, which was approved by the House (359-57) and the Senate (84-10) in late September, was necessary to avert a government shutdown, because none of the twelve annual appropriations bills for FY 2021 had been completed. Read more »
  • AAI Participates in Virtual Rally Hill Day
    AAI cosponsored and participated in the 8th annual Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day (Rally Hill Day), which took place in mid-September. The event, which was held virtually for the first time, brings together a large coalition of individuals, including scientists, physicians, and patients, to advocate for the shared goal of increasing funding for NIH. This year more than 500 individuals from over 350 organizations participated, and meetings were held with congressional offices from all 50 states. Read more »
  • NIH Releases Final Policy for Data Management and Sharing
    The final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy), together with a statement by NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., was released in late October. The DMS Policy requires all NIH-funded researchers to submit a plan, at the time of application, for how the data they generate will be managed and shared. It will replace the 2003 NIH Data Sharing Policy once it goes into effect on January 25, 2023. Read more »
  • AAI Submits Comments Opposing DHS Proposed Rule on International Student and Trainee Visas
    AAI recently submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) opposing a proposed rule that would make significant changes to the F (academic student) and J (exchange visitor) visa categories utilized by many international students and postdoctoral scholars across the country. The comments were formally submitted by AAI President Jenny Ting, Ph.D., and CPA Chair Ross Kedl, Ph.D. Read more »
  • AAI Supports Researchers’ Effort to Make Diversity Plans Scorable
    AAI President Jenny Ting, Ph.D., and CPA Chair Ross Kedl, Ph.D., wrote to NIH in October to express support for an effort by 47 scientists, including many AAI members and leaders, to “elevate to scorable status the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity for all new and renewal institutional training grant applications (T32, T35, among others)” and to “extend the Recruitment and Retention Plan to Enhance Diversity to include diversity among training grant program faculty trainers (mentors) as a review criterion” across all NIH Institutes and Centers. Read more »
  • Trump Administration Suspends Certain Federal Diversity Training Programs
    The Trump Administration recently announced two executive actions that will result in the suspension, and possible elimination, of many federal diversity and inclusion training programs. The first action, a “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,” was issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on September 4 and was followed about three weeks later by an Executive Order (EO) entitled, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” Read more »
  • AAI Joins Effort Calling for Study of Systemic Racism in Academia
    AAI co-signed a September letter to Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX, 30th), Chair of the House Committee on Science Space and Technology, supporting her call for a National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) study on systemic racism in academia. The letter, which was initiated by the American Physiological Society, a fellow FASEB member, was co-signed by 80 organizations. Read more »

AAI Public Affairs Activities

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.


AAI Issues Statement on Herd Immunity Against COVID-19

AAI President Jenny Ting, Ph.D., and AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Ross Kedl, Ph.D., recently issued a statement opposing an “unprecedented and dangerous strategy to achieve ‘herd immunity’ by intentionally allowing COVID-19 to infect healthy Americans.” While achieving herd immunity in the population is critically important, “vaccination is the only proven, responsible way to accomplish this goal.”


AAI Leadership Issues Statement on the Politicization of Science

The AAI leadership issued a statement on October 14 expressing deep concern about “reports of significant and increasing political interference by the Administration in efforts by ... CDC and FDA ... to keep the public safe” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement, signed by all members of the AAI Council and the Chair of the Committee on Public Affairs, urges the Trump Administration and Congress to follow the advice of key scientific and public health leaders throughout the pandemic and cautions against “any actions that would lead to the premature approval of any drug or vaccine candidate.”


AAI Opposes U.S Withdrawal from WHO and Visa Changes Affecting Some Chinese Scientists/Students

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Ross M. Kedl, Ph.D., recently issued a statement opposing two actions taken by President Donald Trump: withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO and issuing a Proclamation that disallows visas for certain Chinese students and researchers. According to Kedl, “[t]aken together, the President’s actions will seriously harm the ability of U.S. and international scientists and public health leaders to work collaboratively to combat this pandemic and advance other important scientific research.”


AAI Urges President, Congressional Leaders, to Heed Advice of Dr. Fauci and other Scientific and Public Health Experts During COVID-19 Pandemic

The leadership of AAI sent a letter on April 15 to the President and key Members of Congress emphasizing that “[n]ow more than ever, it is essential that we allow the science, and those who know it best, to play a leading role in guiding us through these difficult times.” The letter describes the crucial contributions that immunologists, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, are making to global efforts to combat COVID-19.

 

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