On February 6, 2015, ARVO (the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) and NAEVR, (National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research) conducted a joint Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Members of ARVO’s Annual Meeting Program Committee (AMPC) were joined by a selected group of young investigators in requesting Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). The young investigator delegation comprised of clinician, clinician scientists, and researchers. The group stressed how static funding and a lack of funding increases have impacted both their careers and their training.
Dr. Nicole Ross, attending optometrist at New England Eye and assistant professor at the New England College of Optometry, was selected to represent young clinician scientists involved in optometric clinical care and research. Dr. Ross has been active in advocating for funding in low vision rehabilitation care and research.
Together with other members of the delegation, Dr. Ross spoke with Congressional staff about the need for increased funding from the NIH and NEI to help maintain the momentum of vision research, as well as to inspire young investigators to continue to include research in their career paths.
Dr. Ross explains, “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience participating in ARVO advocacy day. It was a unique opportunity not only to meet with legislators, but also to unite with fellow vision scientists - wet and dry lab alike. I was impressed with the support our Massachusetts representatives demonstrated for vision and medical research, many of whom are introducing bills of their own.”
As in past years, ARVO was among the first organizations to speak with Congressional staff about the need for NIH funding of at least $32 billion (B) and NEI funding of $730 million (M) to maintain the momentum of research. The visits were also timely in that the President's FY2016 budget request had just issued to Congress on February 2, and staff were engaged in reviewing it and seeking feedback from research advocates-especially staff of members of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate, with jurisdiction over NIH funding.
This group photo shows Dr. Ross with other Young Investigators engaged in the ARVO Advocacy Day. From left: Akrit Sodhi, M.D., Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University/Wilmer Eye Institute); Diana Lee (Georgetown University); Jenny Myung, O.D. (Salus University College of Optometry); Cristos Ifantides, M.D. (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai); Rachel Wozniak, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Rochester/Flaum Eye Institute); Ahmara Gibbons Ross, M.D., Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center); Cindy Park-Windhol, Ph.D. (Harvard Medical School/Schepens Eye Research Institute), and Nicole Ross, O.D. (New England College of Optometry)
From left: Melea Atkins in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with Cindy Park-Windhol, Ph.D. and Alexandra Bowers, Ph.D. (both from Harvard Medical School/Schepens Eye Research Institute), and Nicole Ross, O.D. (New England College of Optometry)
Read more about this event on the NAEVR website.
See www.eyeresearch.org for further details about this event.