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How the Federal Sequester will damage our National Role as Medical Innovator

Penn Science Policy: <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal.dotm 0 0 1 605 3...: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul-How the Federal Sequester will damage our National Role as Medical Innovator by: Nicole Ai...
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul-How the Federal Sequester will damage our National Role as Medical Innovator
by: Nicole Aiello, Penn Biomedical Graduate Student
The United States federal government is poised to impose arbitrary cuts on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, as a part of a series of global budget reductions termed “sequestration.” These cuts will stifle medical progress, kill research jobs, and fail to reduce the national deficit in a meaningful way. Sequestration will trickle down to negatively impact thousands of research facilities across the country that rely heavily on federally funded grants to address the fundamental scientific questions that drive medical breakthroughs. Although the University of Pennsylvania is a private institution, biomedical research labs here operate almost exclusively on grants awarded by the NIH, which is poised to endure a $1.6 billion reduction in funding on March 1st if Congress fails to act on the looming sequestration.
The NIH dis…
Time to politicize Science Research?
By: Alana Sharp, Penn Biomedical Graduate Student
There has perhaps always been a bizarre disconnect between scientific research, the general public, and politics.  The story of measles is a fitting example.  A highly contagious viral infection first described as early as 68 AD, measles was once “as inevitable as death and taxes” (Babbott Am J Med Sci 1954).  In the 1971, Merck & Co. began marketing Maurice Hilleman’s combined vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella; today, MMRV is a CDC-recommended vaccination, and measles is no longer considered endemic in the United States.  However, due to the reverberations of a now-retracted study linking childhood vaccinations with developmental disorders, an obstinate anti-vaccination movement persists in the United States.  In the past twenty years, enclaves of children unvaccinated due to parental refusal have permitted sporadic outbreaks of the disease.  Such outbreaks have been thus far contained by …
The Sequester and its impact on Medical Breakthroughs
I believe that we are entering a new era of hope in medical research.  Seemingly every day we hear about new and exotic therapies that read more like science fiction than scientific reporting: immune cells are removed from our bodies and re-engineered to destroy cancer; patients are cured of AIDS by receiving bone marrow transplants; children are given vaccinations to prevent the development of cancers when they become adults; and massive genetic analyses are providing insight into the causes of disease and directions for developing the therapies of the future.  It is therefore deeply concerning that in the midst of such promise and growth, we stand at the edge of a deep precipice of cuts to research funding.  The United State’s federal debt has ballooned into a number that is increasingly difficult to look at, and en lieu of rational fiscal policies and bipartisan compromise, Congress has instead backed itself into a corner called …
Save the NIH from the Sequester! On March 1st, sequestration will eliminate $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget. The deadline is fast approaching, and Congress has failed to put forth any alternative plans for avoiding the drastic cuts sequestration would entail. As a biomedical graduate student, whose research and training are supported by the federally funded NIH, these cuts deeply concern me. Although many argue that spending cuts are necessary in an era when the country has amassed trillions of dollars in debt, austerity does not translate well to medical research nor to the well being of the general public. The amount cut from the NIH would save the federal government 0.042% of the national budget, but would have devastating effects on the economy, medical research, and the training of a new generation of scientists and medical doctors. Is the paltry amount of money saved really worth all that will be lost? It is impossible to estimate how a loss of …
Check out our first op-ed piece! (Originally published at the Daily Pennsylvanian http://goo.gl/cZpwk)

HOW YOU CAN SAVE SCIENCE!!!

Two weeks is all that remains before the largest automatic federal budget cuts take place, which could have devastating affects for the Penn Community. If these automatic budgets cuts occur, expect Penn’s ability as a science innovator to be hampered as the sequester would slash billions from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs-all programs that fund science research at Penn.

How could Congress and the President allow this to occur? The sequester was born out of two years of political fights over the national debt and federal spending habits. These automatic cuts were constructed as a nuclear option to force both parties into negotiations over federal spending, by having severe financial consequences if it was ever triggered. However the sequester mechanism was triggere…