Hill Day Advocates Highlight Importance of NIH/NCI Funding and Moonshot Initiative

Nearly 80 cancer center directors, physicians, researchers, and patient advocates representing 25 states and the District of Columbia visited Capitol Hill on May 12 to urge legislators to provide stable, predictable support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Fiscal Year 2017.  The event allowed advocates to participate in over 130 meetings with members of Congress and their staff, including leadership and key committee staff.

AACR Hill Day Reception [INITIALS] 20160511

L to R: AACR President Nancy Davidson, MD; Rep. Kathy Castor; ASCO President Julie Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO;  and AACI President George Weiner, MD, during the Hill Day reception held at Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 11, 2016.  (Photo: Alan Lessig)

Hill Day was co-hosted by AACI, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).  The event kicked off with a reception the evening prior to Hill Day.  U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) were recognized for their outstanding support for cancer research.

Both members of Congress attended the reception to accept their awards and praised the work cancer centers and cancer researchers are doing to transform the discovery and delivery of care.  Rep. Castor applauded Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL for its commitment to cancer care, while Rep. Fleischmann explained how cancer had impacted his own family.  Rep. David Price (D-NC) also attended and offered remarks as well, describing the lasting impression that patient advocates have left on him.

AACI, AACR, and ASCO advocates hit Capitol Hill on Thursday, thanking members of Congress for providing the NIH with a $2 billion increase in FY 2016 and asked that Congress provide at least $34.5 billion for the NIH in FY 2017.  Hill Day participants also expressed support for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, urging legislators to consider a $680 million increase for the NCI to initiate the effort.

AACR Hill Day Reception [INITIALS] 20160511

L to R: AACI President George Weiner, MD; Bill Dalton, MD; Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; ASCO President Julie Vose, MD; and AACR President Nancy E. Davidson. (Photo: Alan Lessig)

The visits to Capitol Hill were well-received, with many members of Congress voicing support for the FY 2017 appropriations request and others agreeing to co-sponsor National Cancer Research Month resolutions led by Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

May is National Cancer Research Month.  Please contact Jennifer Pegher (jen@aaci-cancer.org) if your cancer center would like to support the National Cancer Research Month resolutions.

Jennifer W. Pegher, AACI Government Relations Manager

U.S. Representatives Castor, Fleischmann to be Honored as part of Capitol Hill Day Advocacy for Cancer Research Funding

The Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will honor Representatives Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) for their outstanding leadership on behalf of cancer research at a reception on May 11. On May 12, cancer researchers, physicians, survivors, patient advocates, and cancer center directors associated with AACI, AACR, and ASCO will call on Congress to provide robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Fiscal Year 2017 and beyond.

Reps. Castor and Fleischmann have been outspoken supporters of the NIH and the NCI. Since first taking office in 2007, Congresswoman Castor has been a champion for cancer research and has fought tirelessly for increases to the NIH budget and for research funding through other federal agencies. A strong proponent of cancer prevention, for the past two years Castor has spearheaded a far-reaching campaign to promote awareness of the HPV vaccine and how it can prevent all kinds of cancers. She also joined her colleague Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) in working to advance the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, H.R.1197, to the House floor for a vote earlier this year.

Rep. Fleischmann has represented the third district of Tennessee since 2010. He currently serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services where he is a devoted advocate for the cancer community. Representative Fleischmann encourages cancer patients to share their stories and has further opened the dialogue in Congress about the need for more research to bring more cures. He has repeatedly called for a national commitment to defeat cancer, and readily shares his personal experiences to bring hope to others.

In 2015, Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill, which provided the NIH with a $2 billion increase in federal funding for FY 2016- the largest boost in annual appropriations for the NIH in more than a decade. Cancer researchers, physician scientists, the nation’s cancer centers and cancer patients depend on robust, predictable and sustainable funding increases for the NIH and NCI in order to increase the pace of progress against cancer.

For the past 10 years each May, which is National Cancer Research Month, the three largest organizations representing more than 60,000 cancer researchers and community oncologists, and 95 cancer centers across the U.S. converge on Capitol Hill to share how cancer research is saving lives and transforming patient care. This year, advocates will thank Members of Congress for their renewed commitment to NIH and NCI in FY 2016, and they will urge Congress to continue the momentum by providing a $2.4 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2017.