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Private Funding Foundations Educate About their Role in Vision Research, Advocate for Increased NEI Funding

Brian Hofland, Ph.D., from Research to Prevent Blindness, with Morgan Brand from the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Brian Hofland, Ph.D., from Research to Prevent Blindness, with Morgan Brand from the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
On April 6, NAEVR hosted the second annual Advocacy Day for private foundations within the vision community which had met the previous day under the auspices of Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB)—see box below.

The seven participants representing five organizations from across the country met with 16 Congressional offices in both the House and Senate—the latter in session that week. For most, it was an opportunity to build upon their initial visits conducted in late March 2015. In addition to describing their important role in the local economy, the advocates emphasized their support for researchers at academic institutions throughout the nation—often for investigators in the early stage of their careers or as bridge funding for established researchers. Their advocacy message supported NAEVRs request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of at least $34.5 billion and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding of $770 million, reflecting five percent real growth above biomedical inflation.

Commenting on the days activities, RPB President Brian F. Hofland, Ph.D. said, RPB is pleased to have participated in the second annual Private Funding Foundation Advocacy Day. We support both early-career and early-stage vision research to better nurture and position innovative ideas for follow-on federal support. These meetings with Congressional offices emphasized the urgency of finding and funding solutions to eye problems endured by millions.

On October 7, 2015, AEVR held the first-ever Emerging Vision Scientists Day on Capitol Hill, which was funded by a grant from RPB. The next day, NAEVR held an Advocacy Day with the 21 EVSs visiting with their Congressional delegations.

For the third year, RPB organized a meeting of private funding foundations to seek collaborative solutions in addressing big questions in vision research. Among the 25 participating organizations were key federal agencies, including the NEI, represented by Director Paul Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), represented by Jinan Saaddine, M.D., M.P.H., Team Lead for the Vision Health Initiative, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), represented by Malvina Eydelman, M.D., Director of the Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices within FDAs Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky participated and provided an update on federal funding for vision research.


Tom Brunner, left, from the Glaucoma Research Foundation, and Kathleen Rydar, right, from That Man May See, with Tyler Lorig, Ph.D. from the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Lorig is a neuroscience researcher working as a Health Policy Fellow in the office.
Tom Brunner, left, from the Glaucoma Research Foundation, and Kathleen Rydar, right, from That Man May See, with Tyler Lorig, Ph.D. from the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Lorig is a neuroscience researcher working as a Health Policy Fellow in the office.
Dayne Cutrell from the office of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) with Torrey Van Antwerp DeKeyser and Shirley Hamilton, both from the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama
Dayne Cutrell from the office of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) with Torrey Van Antwerp DeKeyser and Shirley Hamilton, both from the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama
Ziky Ababiya from the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) with Michael Buckley from BrightFocus Foundation. Sen. Mikulski serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Ziky Ababiya from the office of Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) with Michael Buckley from BrightFocus Foundation. Sen. Mikulski serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Matt Levine, from Research to Prevent Blindness, with Caitlin Peruccio from the office of Sen.  Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Matt Levine, from Research to Prevent Blindness, with Caitlin Peruccio from the office of Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)