Welcomes New President, William T. Talman, MD
University of Iowa physician William T. Talman, MD assumed office as the 95th President of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) on July 1st. Talman is a Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Iowa and practices at the University Hospital and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital where he is the Chief of the Neurology Service. He will serve for one year as the leader of the 23 member society federation comprising more than 100,000 scientists and engineers.
“The opportunities for continued progress have never been greater, but those opportunities depend on adequate resources,” Talman stated. “In 2009, supplemental appropriations from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) restored purchasing power at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and provided a timely investment in biomedical research across the nation. However, if we return to pre-ARRA funding levels in fiscal year 2011, we will have to curtail many promising research studies.” As President, Talman will lead FASEB’s advocacy efforts to encourage Congress and the Obama Administration to achieve the goal of sustainable funding for research.
During his first week as FASEB President, Dr. Talman traveled to Washington to meet with science policy reporters and discuss advocacy for biomedical research and the use of animals in research with the leaders of several national organizations. He also spoke with staff from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to offer FASEB’s support for the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand the federal investment in research and innovation.
A graduate of the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine, Talman’s research focuses on the brain’s control of the cardiovascular system, and his clinical specialty is autonomic dysfunction, for which he has been recognized by Best Doctors in America for the past eight years. Dr. Talman is the Past President of the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience and prior chair of the Public Affairs Committee of the American Physiological Society. He serves as the Associate Editor for
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology and has been a reviewer for NIH Study Sections, VA Merit Review Boards, the National Science Foundation, and the American Heart Association.
FASEB also welcomed Joseph C. LaManna, Ph.D., as President-Elect and Fred D. Finkelman, M.D., as the new Treasurer of the federation. Dr. LaManna is a Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Neurology and Neuroscience at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and he has been a cerebrovascular researcher for more than 30 years. Dr. Finkelman received his M.D. from Yale University and is a Professor of Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine.
FASEB President, FASEB President Dr. William Talman addresses members of the media in Washington, DC on July 1st
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Inside (The Beltway) Scoop - Jennifer Zeitzer
Eager to have some legislative accomplishments to discuss with their constituents, lawmakers made progress on both the budget and appropriations front before heading out of town for the week-long July 4th recess. On July 1st, the House passed its version of an Iraq/Afghanistan war supplemental spending bill and with it a one-year budget enforcement resolution capping fiscal year (FY) 2011 discretionary spending at $1.121 trillion, seven billion below the President’s request. The supplemental also includes $4.95 billion to address an expected shortage in funding for Pell Grants.
budget enforcement resolution, the House did not specify which programs are slated for cuts, leaving those decisions up to the Appropriations Committees. On the one hand, a total funding cap well below the president’s FY 2011 request could result in flat or reduced funding for many programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is also possible that discretionary cuts could be disproportionately absorbed by other departments and programs, sparing HHS.
Debate on the war supplemental is expected to continue throughout July as the House and Senate work to resolve the differences between their versions of the bills. One key point that must be negotiated is that the Senate version does not include a budget enforcement resolution. In April, the Senate Budget Committee approved a separate budget resolution with a discretionary spending level that was four billion below Obama’s request, but the committee document was never voted on by the full Senate. In addition, the Senate war supplemental bill does not include the Pell Grant funding.
Appropriators sprung into action as well, passing five of the FY 2011 funding measures through subcommittee, including the bills that fund the National Science Foundation and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (see related stories in this newsletter). Rumors also started circulating that the House Labor-Health and Human Services (LHHS) Subcommittee markup will be held either July 12th or 14th which will provide the starting point for congressional discussion of the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In anticipation of the mark-up, FASEB issued an e-action
alert to members of all constituent societies urging advocates to email their Representatives in support of the $37 billion funding recommendation for NIH, and President William T. Talman, MD also sent a
letter to LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) warning about the impact on the agency’s research capacity if funding is reduced below the current level (related story below).
In other news, on June 30th, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry unanimously
approved the nomination of Dr. Catherine Woteki as the USDA’s Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. A member of the American Society for Nutrition, Woteki is the global director for scientific affairs at Mars, Inc and previously served as the undersecretary for food safety and deputy undersecretary for research in the Clinton Administration. She also was dean of agriculture at Iowa State University. If confirmed, Dr. Woteki will oversee both the National Institute of Food & Ag (NIFA) and AFRI. It is not known when the full Senate will vote on her confirmation.
Congress will return to work the week of July 12th, and although Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has already notified House members that their summer break will begin on August 2nd, the remainder of the Senate’s schedule appears to be uncertain. The growing backlog of legislation awaiting final action in that chamber this month includes the financial regulatory reform bill, an extension of unemployment benefits, energy and campaign finance legislation, and the confirmation of Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court. Senator Reid has stated he would like to finish work on all of those issues before the summer break. The Senate had been scheduled to start its vacation on August 9th, but a Reid aide said on July 2nd that the recess will likely be postponed until August 16th. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to return to Washington on September 13th for several weeks of work prior to breaking in early October for the mid-term congressional elections.
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FASEB President Urges Appropriators to Increase
NIH Budget to $37 Billion, Issues Action Alert
FASEB President William T. Talman, MD sent a
letter to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee on July 8th urging that the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) be $37 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2011. “The opportunities for continued progress have never been greater, but we need adequate resources to ensure that progress is not curtailed,” Talman
stated. The letter noted that in 2009, supplemental appropriations from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) restored purchasing power at NIH and resulted in an extraordinary response from the scientific community. Thousands of promising new studies are now underway and open more opportunities for the cures, improved diagnostics, and prevention strategies of the future. The FASEB President warned that “if we return in FY 2011 to pre-ARRA levels, we could diminish NIH’s research capacity by more than 15 percent in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars, translating to a loss of nearly 4,000 grants.”
In addition, FASEB issued an e-action
alert to all members of FASEB societies asking them to email their Representatives in support of the $37 billion funding recommendation for NIH. “I took office as President of FASEB fully aware of the need for effective, coordinated action,” said Talman. “I am committed to working closely with FASEB societies to let Congress know that it is important to position NIH along a path of sustainable, predictable growth and am confident that the researchers and scientists we represent will actively support this effort as we work together as a federation toward this common goal.”
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