Just in time for the cherry blossoms blooming in DC, more than 300 American Heart Association and American Stroke Association advocates from across the county descended upon our nation's capitol, eager to request the restoration of federal funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and support for the Million Hearts Campaign.
The American Heart Association relies on research funded by the NIH. With the recent sequester slashing the NIH budget by nearly $1.5 billion, about 2,300 research grants will go unfunded, causing a reduction in both the job market and economic activity. A typical NIH grant supports about seven full-time or part-time jobs, most of them high-tech. Every dollar that the NIH distributes through grants returns more than $2 in goods and services annually to the community.
Armed with the names of 6,000 advocates who signed the "Many Hearts, One Voice for Medical Research" petition, this group of volunteers, survivors, researchers, and healthcare professionals joined forces with thousands of advocates, representing over 200 patient groups and research institutions. Together, they attended the Rally for Medical Research on Monday to urge Congress to make research funding a national priority.
The following day, advocates met with their Senators and Congressmen to share their own personal stories, driving home the need for medical research funding.
Advocates attending voiced their passion for the effort, many expressing how impactful it was to be able to deliver these important requests personally to their legislators and their staff members.