Mayor Thomas M. Menino and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Monday joined leaders of area hospitals and research universities to highlight the dangers of cuts to National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding. Prior to a press conference held at Boston Medical Center’s Menino Pavilion, Mayor Menino and Senator Warren were briefed by several of Boston’s leading medical researchers on the important work being done through NIH funding, and what funding cuts would mean for medical research in the Boston area and throughout Massachusetts.
“The research these scientists do is mind-blowing, and the idea that Congress could slash their funding next month is mind-boggling,” Menino said. “The doctors who have joined us here today have made it their life’s work to improve people’s lives. I hope in the coming days we can say the same about Congress.”
The across-the-board federal spending cuts scheduled to be implemented March 1 would eliminate $2.4 billion in NIH funding. This would have a significant impact on Massachusetts, which last year received 11.3% of NIH funding. Boston receives more NIH funding than any other city in the country.
“NIH funding plays a key role in supporting life-saving medical research at Boston’s world-class hospitals and universities,” said Warren. “Across-the-board spending cuts are bad for Massachusetts and bad for the country. I will fight to stop these significant cuts to NIH funding, which would put critical research programs here in Boston and across the Commonwealth at risk and hurt our economy.”
In 2011, Boston again led all cities in NIH funding, extending its streak to 17 consecutive years. This accomplishment is attributable to Boston’s world renowned hospitals, universities, public, private and non-profit agencies, which received more than 3,600 grants for a total combined award of $1.7 billion in 2011. Over the last 17 years, Boston’s organizations have received an aggregated amount of more than $23.4 billion in NIH funding. Since 2002, at a time when competition for awards has been increasing, Boston has managed to raise its level of NIH funding, receiving 7.3% of the national total in 2011. This record exemplifies the quality, capabilities and performance of Boston’s world-renowned hospitals, universities, and research institutions, as well as illustrates the small but expanding number of private companies and non-profit organizations located throughout Boston competing for NIH funding.
Researchers and leaders from area hospitals and universities joined Mayor Menino and Senator Warren to talk about their work and how important NIH funding is for Boston and Massachusetts, a national leader in life sciences. A list of those in attendance at Monday’s press conference follows:
- · Dr. Gary Gottlieb, President & CEO, Partners HealthCare
- · Kate Walsh, President & CEO, Boston Medical Center
- · Dr. Karen H. Antman, Dean, Boston University School of Medicine and Provost of the Boston University Medical Campus
- · John L. Brooks III, President & CEO, Joslin Diabetes Center
- · Dr. George King, Director of Research, Head of the Section on Vascular Cell Biology, Joslin Diabetes Center
- · Keith Motley, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
- · Dr. Mark Schuster, Chief of General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Boston
- · Dr. Zoltan Arany, Division of Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- · Dr. Leonard Zon, Boston Children’s Hospital, Director of the Stem Cell Research Program and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
- · Dr. William W. Chin, Executive Dean for Research, Harvard Medical School
- · Dr. Ronald Perrone, Associate Chief, Division of Nephrology, Medical Director, Kidney Transplantation, Tufts University School of Medicine
- · Dr. Diane Souvaine, Tufts University, Vice Provost for Research
- · Robert Kingston, Ph.D., Chief, Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
- · Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993 Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine
- · Dr. Caroline Apovian, Director, Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, Boston Medical Center
- · Dr. Mark Bear, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- · Dr. David Seldin, Chief of Hematology-Oncology, Boston Medical Center
- · Other leaders and researchers from Boston-based hospitals and research universities