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NAEVRís James Jorkasky Speaks on Vision Research Funding Advocacy at the European Union in Brussels

NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky speaks, using the NAEVR Contributor Report as an example of advocacy communications
NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky speaks, using the NAEVR Contributor Report as an example of advocacy communications
On June 22, NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky provided the United States perspective on vision research funding advocacy at the EuroVisionNetís Parliamentary Evening at the European Union (EU) in Brussels entitled Finding New Treatments for Blinding Disorders. EuroVisionNet, which is managed by the European Vision Institute (EVI) with which NAEVR has a strategic relationship, works to coordinate vision research activities and policies in Europe in order to overcome national fragmentation. The event was hosted by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Charles Tannock from London.

"Although I spoke about NAEVRís activities in the United States to advocate for increased vision research funding at the National Eye Institute (NEI) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DOD), I was careful to offer these as just an example of how to influence governmental entities," said Mr. Jorkasky. "Having worked with EVI in the past, I know what it faces in terms of the complexity of coordinating research policies and funding opportunities at the EU, country, and even state level."

In his comments Mr. Jorkasky noted that, due to the current deficit environment, it has been increasingly important in US advocacy activities to not only quantify the lives saved/enhanced quality of life as a result of NIH-driven research, but also the cost savings to the healthcare system. Equally important is the economic impact of NIH-driven research around the US. He cited the just-released United for Medical Research (UMR) study entitled An Economic Engine: NIH Research, Employment, and Future of the Medical Innovation Sector which reported that NIH directly and indirectly supported nearly 488,000 jobs and produced $68 billion in new economic activity in 2010 alone.

Mr. Jorkasky reminded attendees that NAEVR has written a document entitled International Advocacy Handbook: Tools to Influence Vision Research Funding for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), which offers useful examples of how to advocate with both public and private funding entities. As with NAEVRís comments at the meeting, the ARVO Handbook is sensitive to varied cultural differences and attitudes, especially about the relationship between public and private sectors. Incoming ARVO President Peng Khaw, M.D., Ph.D., (Moorfields Eye Hospital/University College of London Institute of Ophthalmology) also spoke at the meeting, reviewing the latest in vision research and offering examples of his advocacy activities within the United Kingdom.

An official summary of the conference is available here.

NAEVRís international outreach was also recently enhanced in a profile of the Alliance in the May 2011 edition of International Innovation, a United Kingdom publication.

Left to right: Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and host Charles Tannock with speaker Eberhart Zrenner, M.D. (Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tuebingen, Germany). Dr. Zrenner also serves as Chairman of the European Vision Institute (EVI).
Left to right: Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and host Charles Tannock with speaker Eberhart Zrenner, M.D. (Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tuebingen, Germany). Dr. Zrenner also serves as Chairman of the European Vision Institute (EVI).
James Jorkasky with speaker and Incoming ARVO President Peng Khaw, M.D., Ph.D. and Anthony Moore, M.D. both of whom are from the Moorfields Eye Hospital/University College of London Institute of Ophthalmology). Dr. Moore coordinated the EuroVisionNetís EU event.
James Jorkasky with speaker and Incoming ARVO President Peng Khaw, M.D., Ph.D. and Anthony Moore, M.D. both of whom are from the Moorfields Eye Hospital/University College of London Institute of Ophthalmology). Dr. Moore coordinated the EuroVisionNetís EU event.