Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), NIH Director Francis Collins, actress Laura Bell Bundy and Miss USA Nia Sanchez, all of whom discussed the urgent and pressing need for increased funding for medical research, were among the featured speakers during the reception. In his remarks, Senator Durbin highlighted the importance of a continued investment in NIH and expressed his concern about the steady erosion of America's leadership role in biomedical research.
Director Collins noted, "We are leaving some of the best science on the table because we can't figure out a way to pay for it." He further stated that scientific and technological breakthroughs generated by NIH-supported research are behind much of the gains the U.S. has enjoyed in health and longevity, including the reduction in cancer mortality rates as an example.
On the morning of the Rally Hill Day, participants attended a breakfast briefing, which highlighted the key messaging points and included an overview of the materials to help prepare attendees for their congressional meetings. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) rallied advocates by underscoring the importance of a federal investment in the NIH. "We need to ensure that we have reliable funding for the NIH and other research agencies, additional public-private partnerships and a strong research workforce. Investment in research doesn't just create good jobs – it literally saves lives. It's time to do this."
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