In mid-April, nearly 250 volunteer advocates participated in the Coalition for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) 2023 Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Advocates represented 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and visited the offices of their House Representatives and U.S. Senators.
The CCTS advocacy visits were well-timed as Congress is currently making key decisions about Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 funding levels for federal medical research and public health programs. Moreover, there are dozens of new legislators in the House and Senate and the Hill Day was an excellent opportunity for elected officials to form local connections with the community while learning about the value and impact of the full spectrum of medical research. Specifically, CCTS advocates asked congressional offices to support the following community funding priorities:
- Please provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with at least $50.9 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion over FY 2023.
- Please provide the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) at NIH with at least $975 million, an increase of $67 million over FY 2023, including:
- At least $664.56 million in dedicated, line-item funding for the flagship Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program, an increase of $35 million over FY 2023. The CTSA program is central to ongoing efforts to modernize and enhance the full spectrum of medical research at NIH, and annual funding increases provided by bolstering the established CTSA budget line-item are essential to maintaining this progress.
- At least $90 million in appropriated funding for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), an increase of at least $20 million over FY 2023.
- Please advance the full spectrum of medical research along with training and career development activities at NIH by providing proportional funding increases for Research Centers in Minority Institutions, Institutional Development Awards, and related programs.
- Please provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with $11.58 billion, an increase of $2.37 billion over FY 2023.
- Please provide the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) with at least $500 million, an increase of $126.7 million over FY 2023.
The outreach was well received, and the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee even asked Acting NIH Director Dr. Larry Tabak a question about the significance of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program during an FY 2024 budget hearing the following day. Dr. Tabak respond with a positive assessment of CTSAs and the networks contributions to community access and engagement and rural care.
(a portion of the group of CCTS advocates that traveled to Capitol Hill for the 2023 Advocacy Day).
By: Dane Christiansen, Washington Representative