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America has a renowned legacy of providing leading-edge medical care through innovation and discovery. From organ transplantation to genomics and cancer immunotherapies, our researchers make transformative advances that define new fields of medicine and bring new treatments and cures to those in need—both in our country and across the globe. 

If we want to continue our legacy of advancing medical care, it is imperative that we maintain the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding that makes these life-changing breakthroughs possible.

Our biomedical ecosystem is in a fragile state. From 2003-2015, the NIH lost 22 percent of its capacity to fund research through budget cuts, sequestration and inflation. The pace of discovery slowed, cancer cohorts were lost, long-term studies were discontinued, and talented scientists left research for other fields.

Fortunately, in 2016 Congress raised the NIH budget by 5.9 percent--an important first step in rebuilding the pipeline of vital basic science research that ultimately leads to FDA-approved treatments and cures.  

America is a global biomedical research superpower, and we have reason to be optimistic about our future success. Our nation is home to an unparalleled concentration of leading researchers with visionary ideas for tackling the most complex problems we face in medicine. A survey of clinicians and scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that 72 percent had ideas for innovations that would improve care. We have the people and we have the ideas—and with strong NIH funding, we can move these concepts past the idea stage and transform the future of medicine. 

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Author

Elizabeth Nabel, M.D.
President ,Brigham and Women’s Health Care
Betsy Nabel has served as president of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC) since 2010.  A cardiologist and... Read Bio