ARVONews Spring 2017

Advocacy and outreach

21 st Century Cures Act boosts NIH funding, generates regulatory action Thanks in large part to an unceasing advocacy campaign by the entire research advocacy community, the 21 st Century Cures Act has provided a much-needed boost to National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of the last pieces of legislation signed into law in 2016, the bill provides $4.8 billion over 10 years to specific NIH programs, including the cancer “moonshot,” BRAIN and Precision Medicine initiatives. Additional funding for the BRAIN Initiative is of particular interest to vision researchers as numerous grants have been awarded for retina-centered research. Other highlights from the law include reducing the regulatory burden related to NIH grants, creating a new “Next Generation of Researchers Initiative” and improvements to the Loan Repayment Program. “The 21 st Century Cures Act has given us a rare opportunity to lower some of the unnecessary hurdles facing animal research, while still maintaining strict ethical oversight,” says J. Crawford Downs, PhD, chair of ARVO’s Animals in Research Committee. On behalf of ARVO, Downs has been invited to be part of a working group of leading scientific societies involved in animal research to craft consensus recommendations to reduce regulatory burden at NIH, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. ARVO supported the drumbeat for the legislation’s passage through multiple events in 2016, including the annual ARVO Advocacy Day, the “Revealing the back of the eye with OCT” public outreach campaign and co-sponsorship of multiple Capitol Hill briefings organized by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research. MW

Where imaging is going

IMAGING IN THE EYE CONFERENCE May 6, 2017 Baltimore, Md.

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Assistant Professor Rithwick Rajagopal, MD, PhD, of Washington University sits at the desk of Representative Lacy Clay after meeting with Legislative Director Pauline Jamry to discuss funding for NIH and NEI during the 2017 ARVO Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.

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