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 Receives $2.6 Billion Increase for FY 2020
    Nearly three months into fiscal year (FY) 2020, Congressional leaders and the White House announced in December that they had reached an agreement on appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Per the agreement, the funding bills were divided in into two packages, including an 8-bill package that funds the Department of Health and Human Services, among many other departments and agencies. Read more »
  • AAI Council Advocates on Capitol Hill; Presents 2018 and 2019 AAI Public Service Awards
    Members of the AAI Council recently visited Capitol Hill to describe the importance of immunology research and to urge their Members of Congress to increase funding for NIH. Council Hill Day participants visited a total of 18 congressional offices, where they asked Members of Congress and their staffs to support an NIH budget increase of at least $2.5 billion for FY 2020, for a total budget of $41.6 billion. They also urged the rapid passage of the FY 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations bill (which funds NIH), explaining the damage caused by continuing resolutions (CRs) to the agency, to researchers, and to the broader research enterprise. Read more »
  • Report on Sexual Harassment Featured at NIH ACD Meeting
    During last week’s NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting, the ACD discussed several important issues. The ACD Working Group on Changing the Culture to End Sexual Harassment, which was established in 2018, issued its final report. During the presentation, the Working Group provided an update on NIH actions related to this topic... Read more »
  • President Trump Signs Executive Order to Improve Influenza Vaccines
    President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) in September on “Modernizing Influenza Vaccines in the United States to Promote National Security and Public Health.” While emphasizing that vaccination is the most effective way to prevent seasonal influenza, the EO describes improving influenza vaccines as a “public health and national security priority, as influenza has the potential to significantly harm the United States and our interests, including through largescale illness and death, disruption to military operations, and damage to the economy.” Read more »
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  • New Restrictions on NIH-funded Research Involving Fetal Tissue
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced policy changes for research involving human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions. The changes were announced in a June 5 statement and will effectively end this type of research within the NIH intramural program by prohibiting NIH from acquiring such new fetal tissue. For the extramural community, the policy created an additional layer of review by an ethics advisory board for new and competitive renewal grant applications involving this type of tissue. Read more »

AAI Public Affairs Activities

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 Trump Administration Modifications to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program

AAI strongly opposes a new Trump Administration policy that will effectively deport international students who are enrolled at U.S. universities that are providing classes exclusively online, or who are taking only online classes.


 

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.


AAI Submits Testimony to the Senate Recommending a $3 Billion Funding Increase for NIH

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Ross Kedl, Ph.D., submitted written testimony on behalf of AAI to Congress on May 21 recommending a funding level of at least $44.7 billion for NIH for fiscal year (FY) 2021. The testimony, which was submitted to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, highlights important advances in immunology, including developments in cancer immunotherapy and vaccines, and in particular stresses the role the immune system is playing in the quest to develop treatments and a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

AAI submitted similar testimony to the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee in March.

 

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