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Vision Research Funding is the Talk of NAEVR Central

NAEVR’s James Jorkasky and David Epstein at NAEVR Central 2014
NAEVR’s James Jorkasky and David Epstein at NAEVR Central 2014
As in past years, federal funding for vision research was the talk of the NAEVR Central Booth at the 2014 ARVO Annual meeting in Orlando. Attendees could do it all—contact Members of their Congressional delegation to support funding, meet with Department of Defense (DOD) representatives about the Vision Trauma Research Program’s (VTRP) funding opportunities, and get electronic versions of presentations that NAEVR’s James Jorkasky and David Epstein made to various groups throughout the meeting. This year, NAEVR hosted Glenn Minney, the new Chief Advocate for the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), a NAEVR member and dedicated partner in advocating for the $10 million VTRP funding in DOD appropriations each year. Glenn, an Iraq-war blinded veteran, spoke with ARVO leaders and members.

Since both the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees had already held their hearings with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. on March 26 and April 2, respectively, attendees were curious as to whether Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 NIH funding would increase. NAEVR cautioned that, despite Congressional concern about a looming “Innovation Deficit”—as evidenced by the April 29 Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on that issue—Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has stated that the appropriators would live within the budget caps negotiated by Congress in December 2013. That may leave little room for an NIH increase, unless another program’s funding is cut.

Robert Read and Marc Mitchell from the DOD’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) hosted meetings with researchers throughout the four days NAEVR Central was open. They listened to investigator ideas for research that addresses battlefield eye injuries and advised on potential DOD funding mechanisms. At NAEVR’s Monday, May 5, session entitled Defense-Related Vision Research Opportunities, they spoke about the status of grant applications submitted for the $14.5 million in FY2013 VTRP funding, noting that they will add the $10 million in FY2014 VTRP funding (minus a sequester cut) to the FY2013 amount to award researchers down a list of the highest-scoring grants.

NAEVR wishes to thank the ARVO members who visited the booth to support NAEVR’s advocacy efforts.

Left to right: Former ARVO President Tom Yorio, Ph.D. (University of North Texas Health Science Center) and a new NAEVR/AEVR Director, with BVA’s Chief Advocate Glenn Minney
Left to right: Former ARVO Vice President Tom Yorio, Ph.D. (University of North Texas Health Science Center) and a new NAEVR/AEVR Director, with BVA’s Chief Advocate Glenn Minney
Left to right: TATRC’s Marc Mitchell and Robert Read meet with Rajesh Rao, M.D. (University of Michigan), a recipient in 2013 of an NEI> Audacious Goals prize
Left to right: TATRC’s Marc Mitchell and Robert Read meet with Rajesh Rao, M.D. (University of Michigan), a recipient in 2013 of an NEI Audacious Goals prize
NAEVR’s James Jorkasky with former ARVO President Sir Peng Khaw, M.D., Ph.D., FARVO  (Moorfields), who has spoken extensively about his advocacy efforts on behalf of vision research funding in the United KingdomNAEVR’s James Jorkasky with former ARVO President Sir Peng Khaw, M.D., Ph.D. (Moorfields), who has spoken extensively about his advocacy efforts on behalf of vision research funding in the
United Kingdom
NAEVR’s David Epstein assists an ARVO member. In the foreground, NAEVR displayed poster-sized pages from AEVR’s 20th Anniversary Brochure The Value of Federally Funded Vision Research-National Eye Institute
NAEVR’s David Epstein assists an ARVO member. In the foreground, NAEVR displayed poster-sized pages from AEVR’s 20th Anniversary Brochure The Value of Federally Funded Vision Research—National
Eye Institute
.
Booth visitors included   Krishna Sharma, Ph.D. (University of Missouri)  and Sheila West   (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins), both of whom serve on the National Eye Advisory Council
Booth visitors included Krishna Sharma, Ph.D. (University of Missouri) and Sheila West, Ph.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins), both of whom serve on the National Eye Advisory Council
Foundation Fighting Blindness Chief Research Officer Stephen Rose, Ph.D. updates Sheryl Stevenson of <em>Ophthalmology Times</em>/ Advanstar Healthcare about the latest in retinal research
Foundation Fighting Blindness Chief Research Officer Stephen Rose, Ph.D. updates Sheryl Stevenson of Ophthalmology Times/ Advanstar Healthcare about the latest in retinal research
On Tuesday afternoon, May 6, James Jorkasky (far left) participated in a session hosted by ARVO’s Advocacy Committee entitled <em>Safely Taking Risks in Public and Patient Involvement</em>  in which he provided talking points as to why vision research needs to be funded
On Tuesday afternoon, May 6, James Jorkasky (far left) participated in a session hosted by ARVO’s Advocacy Committee entitled Safely Taking Risks in Public and Patient Involvement in which he provided talking points as to why vision research needs to be funded