In two days, leaders of the nation’s cancer centers will convene in Washington, D.C. for the 2015 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. Cancer centers are the backbone of the country’s National Cancer Program, and as the head of communications for NCI, I’m honored to have this opportunity to blog about a very important topic affecting us all.
The Future of Funding for Cancer Research
On September 16, NCI delivered its Annual Plan and Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2017, or “Bypass budget,” to the President, Congress, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NCI’s advisory boards, the NIH and fellow HHS agencies. This year’s Bypass, also known as the Professional Judgment budget, differs from recent proposals in that acting NCI director Dr. Doug Lowy requests a seven percent funding increase, compared to 15 percent last year, and asks Congress to pledge to fund seven percent increases for each of the next ten years.
This strategic approach to double NCI’s budget by 2026 acknowledges the reality of today’s budgetary climate in Congress and the necessity of a sustained national commitment to restoring cancer research’s buying power so that we, as a nation, are able to meet the expectations of cancer patients — investing in cutting-edge research, facilitating advances across the continuum of scientific research, and supporting our most valuable resources – the cancer research community.
A New Approach to Engaging the Cancer Community
I have also instituted a change in how the Bypass budget proposal for 2017 is presented to the community. Rather than beginning with a printed version (still available by request), the information is being disseminated digitally, via emails and social media pointing to a web portal. We want researchers, advocates, and others with a stake in cancer research to consider NCI’s proposals and engage in conversations—online and offline—about the strategies and opportunities we’ve outlined.
NCI wants your ideas to make this budget proposal come alive. Discussion, debate, and engagement surrounding the topics in the Bypass Budget make it a meaningful, living proposal – the new, digital-first Bypass Budget should be more than just a page on a website, it should be the starting point for a meaningful conversation.
Your Voice is What Matters Most
We want your input–through any communication channel (e.g. e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). One way for you to share your ideas with us and the broader cancer community is to comment on Bypass-related blog posts that are appearing this fall (see full schedule below).
September 17: NCI Releases Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2017
September 24: Cancer Trends: Influencing Care and Research Priorities
November 5: A Holistic Approach to Reducing Cancer Health Disparities
November 19: Precision Medicine Part I: Understanding Precision Medicine
December 10: Precision Medicine Part II: Clinical Trials for Adults and Children
January 13: Cancer Prevention: The Best Defense
Each blog post offers a view from NCI leadership on the pivotal advances in cancer research that create key opportunities for progress. The comment section accompanying each blog post allows you to open a dialogue with NCI and other thought leaders.
For those of you who actively participate in social media as a way of interacting with the public, we invite to join us in an upcoming Google Hangout.
Join the Conversation!
Make your voice heard. We have already engaged the community in conversations about cancer trends and the importance of basic science. Starting today, you can comment on our Cancer Currents blog on how NCI networks, including the NCI-designated cancer centers, bring cancer research to the public. On November 2 we will host a Google Hangout about NCI networks and another one on November 10 about bioinformatics and expanding access to data. We would love for you and your colleagues to participate.
Once again, I appreciate this opportunity to write to you and I ask you to let me know if there are other ways we can facilitate better communication across the community and with the public we all serve.
— Peter F. Garrett, Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison