Recap: Adam Katz of Research!America- How (and why) to engage Congress as a research scientist
Adam is the Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Research!America, where he leads a variety of advocacy initiatives to make science and medical research a higher national priority. When he visited PSPG on Nov. 12th he spoke about how and why scientists, especially those in academia, should engage in the political system. Academic scientists in particular are heavily supported by federal funding and taxpayers, so it is important to initiate and maintain a dialog between researchers, politicians and the American people. Research!America has conducted numerous polls to understand the relationship between these three groups, and they have found that while Americans believe scientific research should be a top priority, the public does not have a clear understanding of how this research is funded (only a small fraction of those polled identified the NIH as the main source of basic biomedical research funding). Therefore it is important that we as scientists, taxpayers and constituents take it upon ourselves to stress to our politicians the importance of the NIH and its integral role in supporting basic science research. There are many ways to make your voice heard: through email, phone calls and even in person, as PSPG has done twice this year. Mr. Katz gave excellent tips on how to address a congressperson and their staff: thank them for past support, keep it concise, lay out your concerns and follow it with a personal story, ask their opinion and reiterate the action you'd like taken. If this type of science policy work sounds like a potential career path to you, we encourage you to attend our next speaker event on Wednesday Dec. 4th at 12pm featuring Dr. Richard Calderone, director of the M.S. program in Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy at Georgetown University.