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Federal Funding for Medical Research Is Critical to Nation’s Health

Washington, D.C., April 17, 2012—AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., issued the following statement:   

“On tax day, the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals would like to recognize the important role of taxpayer support for medical research.   

Medical research is one of the best long-term investments our nation can make, offering hope to patients and their families, improving the health of all Americans, and driving our nation’s economic growth.

Over the past 60 years, federally funded medical research conducted by medical schools and teaching hospitals has helped drive innovation that has dramatically improved health.  Because of our nation’s investment in medical research, the death rate for heart disease is more than 60 percent lower—and the death rate for stroke 70 percent lower—than it was in the World War II era. Cancer death rates have dropped 11.4 percent among women and 19.2 percent among men over the past 15 years because of better detection and more effective treatments.  A baby born today can look forward to an average life span of nearly 78 years, almost three decades longer than a baby born in 1900.

In addition, medical research improves the economic health of our nation and communities.  According to Tripp Umbach, a national economic consulting firm, federal- and state-funded research conducted in 2009 at the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals supported nearly 300,000, or 1 in 500, U.S. jobs and added nearly $45 billion to the U.S. economy.  

Federal support for medical research also enjoys broad public support. According to public opinion research conducted in November 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies for the AAMC, more than 6 in 10 voters across all party lines oppose cutting federal funding for medical research to reduce the deficit.  

In short, medical research is a sound investment in our nation’s health that pays a lifetime of dividends in better health and quality of life for all Americans.  Reducing the nation’s deficit is vital, but as Congress considers ways to reduce federal spending, we urge lawmakers to sustain our nation’s investment in medical research.”

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The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 128,000 faculty members, 75,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org/newsroom

Contact

Lesley Ward
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Telephone: 202-828-0655
E-mail: lward@aamc.org