This spring, Congress approved a $2 billion increase in funding (to $34.1 billion) for fiscal year 2017 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the world's foremost medical research centers. The bill also included $5.7 billion for the National Cancer Institute, $1.4 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, $320 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative and $260 million for the BRAIN Initiative. It also more than quadrupled funds to fight opioid addiction.
Many individuals locally, regionally and nationally advocated for this increase for biomedical research given the positive impact it has on our country's development, economy and health. Importantly, this funding sends a strong signal of support to those young scientists who dedicate decades to developing the knowledge and skills to uncover the next great cure for disease.
MCW – a major national research center and the second-largest research institution in Wisconsin, with $92.6 million of NIH grant support in fiscal 2016 – is poised to extend the benefit from this investment to patients and industry. Specifically, MCW has internationally-recognized excellence in each of the areas receiving the largest increases of NIH funding – and they have been earmarked by our School of Medicine (SOM) for strategic growth. MCW also is well-positioned to invest with our citizens and the NIH in these areas, as the SOM contributes approximately an additional fifty cents for each dollar received from the NIH into our research programs. These programs create new knowledge, provide cutting-edge clinical trials to improve patient outcomes, advance the health of our nation and prolong life.
The NIH funding increase also sends a clear message to our communities that "science matters" – bringing confidence to those in the medical education and clinical fields that funding research remains a priority. As chair-elect of the Council of Deans for the Association of American Medical Colleges, and executive vice president and dean of the MCW SOM, I am confident that continued strong support for the NIH by our elected officials will lead to a future of better health, new discoveries, promising careers for our talented students and ongoing economic development for our communities and beyond.
Joseph E. Kerschner, MD ’90, FEL ’98
Dean, School of Medicine
Executive Vice President
Medical College of Wisconsin…8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 955-4725 | Fax: (414) 955-6699 | MCWmagazine@mcw.edu
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