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is endangering the future of our Nation as the world's leader in biomedical research.
The American Physiological Society believes that the two key actions needed are to provide for an adequate number of new and competitive grants by funding for the next 5 years at least 30 percent of the applications eligible for awards and to enhance training support by increasing the number of trainee positions.
PREPARED STATEMENT On behalf of the Nation's physiologists, I wish to express our appreciation to the subcommittee for hearing us on this most important matter. I will be happy to answer any questions the panel may have at this time.
[The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF DR. MARTIN FRANK
Chairman and Members of the Panel:
My name is Martin Frank and I am the executive director of the American Physiological Society, the nation's senior medical sciences society which includes among its 7,000 members Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Society is pleased to have this opportunity to share with the Subcommittee the Society's views of the needs of the biomedical research community. Because of the Congress support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), science has flourished, producing a biomedical research enterprise that is unparalleled. This enterprise has provided the knowledge base for the treatment, cure, and prevention of diseases which afflicted humans for generations. We have not yet solved, however, many other illnesses, such as arthritis, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and coronary heart disease, each of which continues to cripple and infirm the citizenry.
The unraveling of the genetic code and the consequent dramatic developments in molecular biology--all funded NIH--marked revolutionary advance in our understanding of biological phenomena. The insights gained by the molecular approach to cellular function has captured the imagination of not only the scientists, but also the public and the funding agencies. Indeed, this explosive advancement in knowledge has eclipsed other less popular, but
less productive, approaches of of biological import.
As more and more is being learned about molecular details of cellular elements, it becomes increasingly clear that such information needs to be integrated into cellular, tissue, and organ functions. Universities and pharmaceutical companies are unable to find adequate numbers of scientists trained to perform integrative studies on intact organisms. Without physiologists, pathologists, and clinical investigators the new molecules discovered by the molecular biologist cannot be related to over all body functions. In the current funding environment, the multidisciplinary talent base required to translate discoveries at th molecular level into clinical application has been abrogated because of the lack of training of individuals capable of applying the knowledge gained from molecular biology to the understanding of the physiology of living organism.
The American Physiological Society urges the Congress to continue its support of research efforts to unravel
the mysteries of life and conquer the diseases that shorten it. APS applauds the Subcommittee's long-standing commitment to keep American science strong. Moreover, the members of APS are aware of and appreciate the Subcommittee's responsiveness last year to the biomedical research community's concern by proposing a stabilized level of 6,000 new and competing grant awards for four years without downward negotiations. APS has endorsed the Subcommittee's efforts to have NIH develop financial management plan that eliminates the swings in funding which whiplash the scientific community annually and discourages young scientists from pursuing careers in biomedical research.
American science is at a crossroads. Funding constraints have discouraged many from both pursuing and continuing careers
biomedical research and have forced many laboratories to cease their operation. Continuation of the trend of funding at the low level of 20 percent would result in the diminution of productivity by investigators and the loss of our preeminence in the international community. The future of the biomedical research enterprise is dependent largely upon Congressional actions regarding the Fiscal Year 1992 appropriations for NIH and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA).
Το keep biomedical science from straying on to wrong path, the Society urges the Congress to take the appropriate action
to assure that investigator-initiated research project grants are expanded by funding at least 30 percent of the eligible applications in each of the next five years. This action would fund
estimated 25,470 investigatorinitiated awards by Fiscal Year 1996, slightly
growth than envisioned by the Congress in its stability plan for NIH. For Fiscal Year 1992, the 38 percent funding mark would provide 6,143 new awards, which
near the Congressional recommendation of 6,000 and much above the Administration's mark of 5,785.
In the 1990s a vast number of post World War II trained scientists will be retired. If the nation intends to fill this void in the scientific community, it will have to provide additional training opportunities for younger scientists still in the pipeline.
The Society urges the Congress to provide funding for training that permits NIH and ADAMHA to support
least 12,555 pre- and postdoctoral trainees in Fiscal Year 1992, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. Moreover, funding for training should also allow for stipends for predoctoral trainees to be raised to $14,000 a year and salaries for postdoctoral fellows to be increased to the same levels as for hospital housestaffs.
The availability of positions and competitive stipends and salaries are key to bringing young scientists into biomedical research instead of the other careers they are turning to because of the lack of opportunity.
In closing, the American Physiological Society wishes to remind the Congress that solving the mysteries of life and disease requires a broad multidisciplinary talent base. It is, therefore, imperative that training programs be included in the appropriations bill to develop the pool of investigators who can translate discoveries at the molecular level to cellular and organ physiology and into clinical application. There is an ever-growing need for a cadre of scientists who understand how physiological functions are regulated at all levels, from molecular to man. As stated by an investigator pursuing the cystic fibrosis gene, "We will find the gene, but it is up to the physiologist to tell us how it works.
The future of America's preeminence in biomedical science is in serious jeopardy. It is most urgent that the Congress this year
take the actions necessary to stop the perilous
trend that is endangering the future of our nation as the world's leader in biomedical research by providing sufficient funds to attract and encourage young, bright individuals to careers in biomedical research.
The American Physiological Society believes that the two key actions needed are to provide for an adequate number of new and
competitive grants by funding for the next five years at least 30 percent of the applications eligible for awards and to enhance training support by increasing the number of pre- and postdoctoral trainee positions along with competitive stipends and salaries.
On behalf of the nation's physiologists, I wish to express our appreciation to the Subcommittee for hearing us on this most important matter. I will
any questions the panel may have at this time.
Thank you for your attention.
Senator ADAMS. I have no questions, Doctor. I want to thank you for an excellent statement. I am very concerned about the statement that you make on page 2, which I know to be true, that a vast number of the post-World War II trained scientists will be retired in the 1990's. Anything you wish to submit to the committee in writing or otherwise that indicates any innovative way other than the ones suggested that you have here, which we will try to pursue, for obtaining the necessary replacements in the stream of doctoral candidates we would appreciate.
Dr. FRANK. Thank you very much for your time.
Senator ADAMS. Thank you very much, Doctor. STATEMENT OF DR. PATRICIA SWAN, DEAN OF GRADUATE STUDIES,
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, ON BEHALF OF AMERICAN INSTITUTE
OF NUTRITION Senator ADAMS. Our next witness is Dr. Patricia Swan, dean of graduate studies, Iowa State, the American Institute of Nutrition.
Dr. Swan, welcome to the committee.
Dr. SWAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Patricia Swan. I am vice provost for research and advanced studies and dean of the graduate college at Iowa State University. I am here today representing the American Institute of Nutrition. We are a society of medical scientists with special expertise in nutrition. We represent most of the major research, education, and clinical institutions in the country.
My statement here today is also supported by the Federation of American Societies of Food Animal Science, comprising about 17,000 scientists and educators, and the Institute of Food Technologists, which has 24,000 members focused on food quality and food safety.
With your permission, I would like to make three points to you here today. First, to ask you to again recognize the need for a nutrition-specific agency or division within the National Institutes of Health.
Currently, as you well know, Federal funds for nutrition research are spent by several different agencies and even several different departments within the Federal Government, and this makes it very difficult to get the right kind of focused attention to the needs of nutrition research and to get the kind of leadership that is required, especially when these funds are so often commingled with other sorts of research interest.
Some would tell you the NIDDK is the major institute within the NIH for nutrition research, yet I remind you that they only spend about one-fourth to one-fifth of the funds spent by the NIH for nutrition research, and that simply does not allow the kind of focus nor the kind of leadership that we believe is needed for nutrition research or that we believe is deserved by the American consumers.
As you know, there have been several attempts to coordinate nutrition programs within the NIH. None has yet succeeded. What we need is at least a division level agency to provide needed leadership as well as focus within the NIH on its nutrition programs. Last year in your report to Congress, you strongly recommended to the NIH that they examine the feasibility of such a division. We thank you for that recommendation. We urge you to repeat it again this year and to press the NIH to respond to you on it.
Second point, nutrition research funding at NIH is only about 4 percent of their budget. This is not adequate. Nutrition is a process that underlines the healthy functioning of all the tissues of the body. Given that fundamental importance to health means that more 4 percent of the NIH budget should be spent in that direction.
Last year in your report, you recognized the central role of nutrition in disease prevention, and you contrasted it with this low level of funding for nutrition research. Again, we thank you for that recognition. We hope that you will repeat it and press the NIH to respond to you on it.
My third and final point is to request a few more clinical nutrition research units, as we call them, CNRU's. There are currently seven in the country today. They are a major way of doing clinical nutrition research, and there is a need for additional funding for a few more of these centers.
Thank you for your support. We certainly appreciated the support that you gave nutrition research last year. We respectfully request it again this year. Thank you for your time today.
[The statement follows:]