On October 7th and 8th, Jason Comander, MD, PhD, and Leo Kim, MD, PhD, participated in the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) Emerging Vision Scientists Program. This program allows scientists to meet with members of Congress to discuss the importance of vision research in the continuing fight to prevent blindness.
Dr. Comander met with Representative Joe Kennedy III, and Dr. Kim met with a congressional staffer for Representative Michael E. Capuano. They both met with congressional staffers for Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. In their discussions, they reaffirmed the importance of funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Eye Institute (NEI).
“It was a special moment to meet Representative Joe Kennedy. In our conversation, he was thoughtful, and practical, suggesting ways we could work together to achieve our common goal of robust, sustainable, and predictable funding for the NIH,” said Dr. Comander. “The congressional office was very welcoming to our ideas.”
This program also allowed them to make invaluable connections with AEVR staff, and with other emerging scientists from across the country.
According to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), “in 12 of the past 13 years, NIH funding has either been cut or has failed to outpace rising costs. As a result, in constant dollars, the NIH budget remains more than 22 percent below the FY 2003 level.”