|Dr. Kraig provides testimony before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. |
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Ellen Kraig, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology, spoke before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies March 29 regarding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for fiscal year 2007. Representing the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) as the chair of its Committee on Public Affairs, Dr. Kraig stressed the need for an increase in NIH funds for biomedical research and training.
“Basic research on the immune system provides a foundation for the development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics,” she said. “It continues to be crucial in the development of increasingly-effective approaches for treating chronic diseases and for preventing diseases due to infectious agents.”
From FY 1998-2003, the NIH budget doubled, allowing scientists to begin new, cutting-edge research, Dr. Kraig said. “However, since 2003, the annual increases in the NIH budget have not kept pace with biomedical research inflation,” she said. “The FY 2007 budget would result in an effective decrease in the NIH budget – only the second time in 36 years that the NIH budget has been reduced.”
In her testimony, Dr. Kraig emphasized that an increase of 5 percent in the 2007 NIH budget will be needed to capitalize on important advances that resulted from the budget doubling.
Dr. Kraig’s written document is now entered into the congressional record where she hopes that it will impact the budget process occurring in the House of Representatives.
The Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies recommends funding for labor and education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Testimony provided to this subcommittee assists it in drafting recommendations for the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
The Senate has already acted on the budget. They recently passed the Specter-Harkin budget amendment by a significant majority of 73 to 27. This Senate measure would increase funding to support health and education agencies, including the NIH. However, the House and Senate must eventually agree on the budget resolution. For more information, visit opa.faseb.org/
Dr. Kraig joined the Health Science Center in 1983 as an assistant professor of cellular and structural biology. That same year, she became a member of the AAI and has served on several committees during this time, including the AAI Women's Committee and on the AAI committee to develop educational programs. In addition, prior to her appointment as chair of the AAI Public Affairs Committee, she served as the representative to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s (FASEB) Science Policy Committee. FASEB is a coalition of independent member societies that serve the interests of biomedical and life scientists.