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NAEVR Central at ARVO 2015 the Busiest Ever

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, center, speaks with ARVO Trustee Steven Fliesler, Ph.D. (Ross Eye Institute/University of Buffalo), left, and Robert Mazzoli, M.D. from the joint Department of Defense (DOD)/Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vision Center of Excellence (VCE), right
NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, center, speaks with ARVO Trustee Steven Fliesler, Ph.D. (Ross Eye Institute/University of Buffalo), left, and Robert Mazzoli, M.D. from the joint Department of Defense (DOD)/Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vision Center of Excellence (VCE), right
The NAEVR Central Booth at the ARVO Annual Meeting 2015 in Denver, Colorado was a hub of activity. As in past years, researchers contacted Congress regarding National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Eye Institute (NEI) funding, with many speaking with NAEVR’s James Jorkasky and David Epstein about the prospects for increases in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 appropriations. NAEVR noted some encouraging signs—listed below—but recognized that the Budget Control Act caps currently limit an increase absent further Congressional action:

  • At the March 3 and April 30 hearings, respectively, of the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees, Members from both sides of the aisle cited the recognized value of biomedical research and the need for Congress to arrive at a balanced plan for deficit reduction that would enable NIH funding increases.
  • The Senate is launching an NIH Caucus [see story on the May 19 release event].
  • The House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee is considering the 21st Century Cures legislation with an authorized NIH increase of $1.5 billion per-year for the next three FYs and establishment of a new Innovation Fund, funded at $2 billion per-year for the next five FYs, for basic, translational, and clinical research, including funding for early-stage investigators. [see story on the May 21 full E&C Committee approval of the 21st Century Cures bill, H.R. 6].

NAEVR hosted representatives of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which manages the dedicated $10 million Vision Research Program (VRP) in Defense appropriations, who met with researchers in one-on-one meetings. NAEVR also engaged CDMRP’s Robert Read in speaking at the Monday, May 4, NAEVR Defense-Related Vision Research Opportunities session, at which he announced that an FY2015 VRP funding opportunities announcement would likely issue in June.

Erik van Kuijk, M.D., Ph.D., (University of Minnesota), with David Eveleth, Ph.D. (E&B Technologies). NAEVR hosted Dr. van Kuijk in visits with the Minnesota delegation during a past ARVO Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
Erik van Kuijk, M.D., Ph.D., (University of Minnesota), with David Eveleth, Ph.D. (E&B Technologies). NAEVR hosted Dr. van Kuijk in visits with the Minnesota delegation during a past ARVO Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.
NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky with Eve Higgenbotham, M.D. (University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine). Dr. Higgenbotham serves on the advisory Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice for the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) study entitled Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health, for which NAEVR serves as a sponsor
NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky with Eve Higgenbotham, M.D. (University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine). Dr. Higgenbotham serves on the advisory Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice for the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) study entitled Public Health Approaches to Reduce Vision Impairment and Promote Eye Health, for which NAEVR serves as a sponsor.

Also on May 4, Adrienne Scott, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute) delivered a paper entitled Attitudinal Survey of Americans on Eye and Vision Health, which reported on results of AEVR’s September 2014 public opinion polling which was commissioned by Research!America from Zogby Analytics and supported by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB).

John Wittenborn (NORC/University of Chicago), Adrienne Scott, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University) and Brian Hofland, Ph.D. (Research to Prevent Blindness) after Dr. Scott delivered her paper. All three individuals served on AEVR’s Study Committee for the survey.
John Wittenborn (NORC/University of Chicago), Adrienne Scott, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University) and Brian Hofland, Ph.D. (Research to Prevent Blindness) after Dr. Scott delivered her paper. All three individuals served on AEVR’s Study Committee for the survey.

NAEVR wishes to thank the hundreds of ARVO members who visited the booth to support its advocacy efforts.