Hydrocephalus Association Converges on Capitol Hill for Rally for Medical Research Hill Day to Advocate for Increased Funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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More than 300 organizations join forces to ask Congress to provide robust, sustained, and predictable budget increases for the NIH

Bethesda, MD | September 21, 2016

The Hydrocephalus Association will be one of more than 300 organizations participating in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day on September 22, uniting millions of Americans across the country to call on our nation’s policymakers to make life-saving medical research funding a national priority.

“Over 1 million Americans are living with hydrocephalus. There is no cure and their only treatment option is brain surgery,” stated Amanda Garzon, Director of Communications for the Hydrocephalus Association. “Robust support for the NIH is critical for moving early stage research forward into clinical trail so that our loved ones have alternative treatment options and, ultimately, cures for the various causes and forms of hydrocephalus.”

Participants in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day will convey the following messages to Congress:

Congress must build on the momentum that began in fiscal year (FY) 2016 when it provided the NIH with a $2 billion increase by providing another $2 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2017.  The Senate has taken important steps to do this, as Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) proposed a $2 billion increase for the NIH in their FY 2017 appropriations bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved this increase, and now we ask Congress to ensure this robust, sustained and predictable funding by passing an FY 2017 omnibus spending bill that includes a $2 billion funding increase for the NIH before the end of the year. 

The alternative, a long-term Continuing Resolution that funds the government at FY 2016 levels well into the new year, will create inefficiencies and add uncertainty to a medical research ecosystem that is already under stress.

Participants also will thank Congress for reversing a decade of budget cuts (when inflation is taken into account) by providing the NIH with a $2 billion funding increase for the current fiscal year (FY 2016).

The Rally for Medical Research initiative was launched in April 2013 to bring together the entire medical research community to ask Congress to make the NIH a national priority. Through the annual Hill Day, the Rally for Medical Research continues to raise awareness about the critical need for an increased investment in the NIH to improve health, spur progress, inspire hope, and save more lives.

For more than a decade, the NIH budget failed to keep up with the rate of biomedical inflation.  As a result, fewer competitive research grants were awarded, slowing the pace of progress against hydrocephalus and all diseases that affect millions of Americans and their loved ones. Congress took an important step last year when it provided the NIH with an additional $2 billion in funding, the first significant increase in years.

This investment is enabling researchers at universities and research institutions in all 50 states to pursue emerging scientific opportunities to address the nation’s most pressing health needs. In addition to bringing hope and improving the quality of life for patients, the ongoing success of the medical research enterprise also drives local and national economic activity, strengthens U.S. competitiveness in an increasingly innovation-based global marketplace, and inspires future generations of scientists to commit to careers in research.

About Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a chronic, life-threatening condition that has no cure and can only be treated surgically. The predominant treatment is the insertion of a small tube, called a shunt, into the brain to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. Shunts save lives but frequently malfunction, become infected, or blocked. It is not uncommon for a person with hydrocephalus to have ten or more shunt-related brain surgeries during the course of their lifetime and some individuals have more than 100 surgical procedures. Each surgical procedure brings the risk of unknown long-term cognitive and health effects.

About the Hydrocephalus Association

Founded in 1983 by parents of children with hydrocephalus, the Hydrocephalus Association (HA) has grown to be the nation’s largest and most widely respected organization dedicated to hydrocephalus. The largest advocacy group dedicated to hydrocephalus, HA is fighting on all fronts to improve the quality of life for people living with the condition. HA began funding research in 2009. Since then HA has committed well over $4.5 million to research, making it the largest non-profit, non-governmental funder of hydrocephalus research in the U.S. For more information, visit the Hydrocephalus Association web site at https://www.hydroassoc.org or call (888) 598-3789.

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