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Shepherd signs on as partnering organization for Rally for Medical Research on Capitol Hill

ISSUED: 6 September 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is, for the first time, among approximately 300 institutions of higher education and research facilities from across the country who are partnering organizations for the 4th annual Rally for Medical Research that will take place September 22 on Capitol Hill. Organized by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the event seeks to encourage Congress to increase funding for medical research and biomedical science and to publicize the need to continue investment in these areas.

“It is important that Shepherd is a partnering organization in championing federal support for research training, education, and discoveries – leading to better disease management and new cures,” said Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, Shepherd’s president and a leading cancer researcher.

Jon Retzlaff, managing director of AACR’s Office of Science Policy and Government Affairs, calls the medical research rally an opportunity to sustain the momentum for what Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., among many others, accomplished earlier this year when they prioritized funding for the National Institutes of Health in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Bill, recommending a $2 billion funding increase, to $34 billion.

Retzlaff said the Rally for Medical Research will also allow those who participate to show support for House Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., who was quoted earlier this year saying, “The most important thing is to make sure that the $2 billion increase (for the NIH) in 2016 is not a one-hit wonder. We want this to become a regular pattern for Congress, to make these NIH investments in a regular, manageable, and predictable way so that the scientific community knows they will continue.”

The FY 2017 House Labor-HHS-Ed funding bill proposes to provide the NIH with a $1.25 billion funding increase, to $33.3 billion, but Chairman Cole has also indicated his interest in working to increase NIH’s FY 2017 funding to the level proposed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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