No ice buckets are involved in the latest push for investment in medical research. Instead Act for NIH: Advancing Cures Today, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit led by a former National Institutes of Health staffer, is a good 'ol fashioned media campaign using data, stories and images, including a haunting photo of a presumably sick child captaining its home page.
The need is real. NIH funding has failed to keep pace with inflation or with investments by other nations including China. Now, only one in six research proposals, the lowest ever, are accepted, according to Act for NIH.
The campaign's goal is simple: "We advocate an immediate, significant funding increase for the NIH, followed by steady, predictable budget growth in the future."
Not so simple, of course, is the actual funding hike. That's why the campaign is hunting for stories, as well as money. It urges supporters to photograph themselves besides a ACT for fill-in-the-blank poster. ACT for cancer, for hope, my grandfather, for AIDS - you name the reason to support research, action (and money) is needed.
Science released an interview with leader Patrick White today. White admitted the group lacks a formal plan, but it does have momentum, thanks to the backing by real estate developers Jed Manocherian.
It's launch comes just in time for the 2015-16 federal budget cycle, which usually begins with the president's budget proposal in February.
Becky Bach is a former park ranger who now spends her time writing about science and practicing yoga. She's an intern with the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
Previously: How can health-care providers better leverage social media to improve patient care?, NIH network designed to diagnose, develop possible treatments for rare, unidentified diseases and Federal investments in research and higher education key to U.S. maintaining innovation edge
Photo by Act for NIH