AEVR Co-sponsors Capitol Hill Welcome Reception for NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins

AEVR Co-sponsors Capitol Hill Welcome Reception for NIH Director
Dr. Francis Collins

AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky speaks with Dr. Collins, who expressed his enthusiasm for the breakthroughs emerging from National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded vision research
AEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky speaks with Dr. Collins, who expressed his enthusiasm for the breakthroughs emerging from National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded vision research

On December 2, medical research and patient advocacy and education organizations united to sponsor a Capitol Hill welcome reception for National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on August 7 as the NIH’s 16th Director. Attendees included Members of Congress, such as Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA), staff, Institute and Center Directors from the NIH, and research community representatives.
 

NAEVR Legislative Counsel John Porter (Hogan & Hartson, left) and Cong. Brian Bilbray (R-CA, right) speak with Dr. Collins
NAEVR Legislative Counsel John Porter (Hogan & Hartson, left) and Cong. Brian Bilbray (R-CA, right) speak with Dr. Collins. Cong. Bilbray serves as a co-chair of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus.

After an introduction by Louis Sullivan, M.D., the former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Dr. Collins spoke, thanking Congress for its support of NIH through the $10.4 billion appropriation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In describing his priorities, he identified sustained funding as the biggest challenge, especially that necessary to maintain the momentum of discovery afforded by the ARRA funding. He committed to work tirelessly on behalf of patients.

AEVR was joined by ARVO and 30 other organizations in co-sponsoring the event which was hosted by the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research (in which NAEVR serves on the Steering Committee), the NHLBI Constituency Group, the National Coalition for Heart and Stroke Research, and United for Medical Research (to which NAEVR belongs).