This past week, MSRJ executive editors Jessica Wummel and Kevin Patterson had the unique opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. to participate in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day.
This past week, MSRJ executive editors Jessica Wummel and Kevin Patterson had the unique opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Washington, D.C. to participate in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day. This event entailed hundreds of researchers, students, survivors, and clinicians who gathered together from across the nation to spread their message to Congress. What was this message? This impressive gathering of people had one common goal: to encourage Congress to continue investment in the National Institute of Health (NIH) and to attempt to stop the sequestration cuts that threaten the future of medical research. Since the sequester in 2013, which involved across the board budget cuts, the NIH suffered a $1.5 billion cut in their budget. What does this mean for the research community? Seven hundred research grants will not be awarded, 750 fewer patients will be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center, and many jobs will be lost. NIH-supported research has made great strides on treatments for cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many other diseases that plague many patients in this country. With decreases in funding for this organization, progress in medicine could be jeopardized.
Kevin and Jessica were joined in D.C. by MSU faculty Dr. Walter Esselman, researcher and Associate Dean for MSU’s College of Human Medicine, and Dr. Chris Waters and Dr. Julia Busik, both researchers and faculty at Michigan State University. In two teams, the group along with MSU and Wayne State D.C. representatives Mary Malaspina and James Williams were able to meet with 13 out of the 16 Michigan Congressmen and Senators. In these meetings, they were able to share their stories about how NIH funding cuts affect their lives directly. The faculty researchers described the increasing difficulty in receiving grants for their important research. Our editors focused on their passion for their future careers in academic medicine and how students should not be discouraged from research careers because of fears of decreased funding. For the most part, NIH funding has bipartisan support. It is not hard to convince Congress that biomedical research is important, not only to researchers but to the patients and families that the results benefit. The main goal of these meetings was to convince the Michigan representatives and senators to view NIH funding as an investment for our country, one that cannot afford more decreases in its funding. “I take solace in the fact that so many people have come together to bring up this issue now and our congressmen/senators were receptive and supportive of our problem,” said editor, Kevin.
Jessica comments, “As an editor to this journal, it was an honor to be able to represent this country’s medical students and research community in an issue that is so important to many of us.” MSRJ is dedicated to teaching medical students the correct way to publish and critically appraise research as well as encouraging their research endeavors by giving them an avenue to display their work. It is important to the journal for these students to have the opportunity to pursue research in the future beyond medical school.