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The economic benefits of publicly funded medical research

While the health benefits of medical research are easily observed in our everyday lives -through stories of patient survival, biomedical discoveries and prevention strategies - the economic rewards often go unnoticed.

To help the public better understand the far-reaching impact of medical schools and teaching hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a new report today quantifying the importance of publicly funded health-care advancements for the fiscal health of the nation. According to the analysis (.pdf), which was conducted by economic consulting firm Tripp Umbach:

Federal- and state-funded research received by medical schools and teaching hospitals in 2009 added close to $45 billion to the U.S. economy. To put this in perspective, the National Institute of Health (NIH), the largest federal funding agency of medical research, invested approximately $28.5 billion in fiscal year 2009 for extramural research conducted across the nation, including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. Of those funds, about 55 percent (or about $15.6 billion) went to medical schools and teaching hospitals, a particularly productive research environment where physicians and scientists deliver care to patients, help train the next generation of physicians and researchers, and conduct vital medical research. While NIH funding is critical, the data show that for every dollar invested in research at medical school and teaching hospitals, $2.60 of economic activity occurs.

In the report, a comparison of the total economic and employment impact for the top 24 states and the District of Columbia with AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals showed that California ranked No.1.

Previously: Economic impact of human genome sequencing, Report: NIH investments created $68 billion in economic activity last year, Academic medical centers bring billions to the economy and New initiatives show how federal stimulus dollars advance scientific and medical research

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