One of our most critical activities is communicating with key stakeholders about the scientific opportunities and challenges that we face at the NIH and within the biomedical research community as a whole. We also seek to ensure that our multiple audiences know about our research advances and how they are benefiting patients. One key stakeholder group is policymakers. We have an important role in educating our Congressional colleagues and informing them of agency priorities and programs. Ultimately, our work belongs to all Americans, which is why it is essential that members of Congress and their staff are aware of the progress and promise of NIH investments across the country.
We work directly with the NIAMS Coalition to connect with policymakers. Partnering with the many professional and voluntary organizations that comprise the Coalition allows us to regularly participate in various activities on Capitol Hill that are designed to highlight biomedical research and keep it top-of-mind for legislators. This year, at the invitation of several Coalition members, NIAMS leadership was involved in a number of Hill visits and briefings designed to inform policymakers about research advances and new initiatives concerning NIAMS-related topics, including the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, scleroderma, Marfan syndrome, and orthopaedic conditions.
In addition to meeting with lawmakers and their staff on the Hill, we also work with the Coalition to bring policymakers to us—to see NIH research in action. On October 15, we hosted a half-day event on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., for Congressional staffers. These visitors had a chance to meet with NIAMS leadership and senior scientists, and hear how the NIH is uniquely positioned to conduct and support research that benefits all Americans. They also met with a patient who has been receiving treatment at the Clinical Research Center as part of a lupus study, and they got a first-hand view of NIAMS and NIH laboratories. Our visitors were able to see hands-on demonstrations of cutting-edge lab technologies that illustrate how basic, translational and bedside-to-bench activities are all necessary components of a successful research program.
In addition to face-to-face meetings both on the Hill and at the NIH, the Institute regularly shares information with our colleagues on Capitol Hill that is designed to highlight our work, including:
- Statements to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees
- Annual Budget Justifications
- Responses to Member inquiries
- Congressionally mandated reports, including the NIH Biennial Report
We are proud of the work that is conducted here on the NIH campus and that is supported by the NIAMS across the country, and we welcome opportunities to share it with the American people and their elected representatives.
Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health