e-Public Policy Update - June 2015

Contents:

  • Federal Funding Opportunities Breakfast at asm2015
  • ASM Participates in White House Antibiotic Stewardship Forum
  • ASM Supports 21st Century Cures Act
  • FY 2016 Appropriations Update
  • ASM Joins Call to Action for American “Innovation Imperative”
  • DoD Alert on Recent Inadvertent Shipment of Anthrax to Laboratories
  • ASM Provides IQCP Materials for Clinical Microbiology Lab Personnel
  • NIH Office of Science Policy Announces the Launch of a New Blog
  • ASM Selects Congressional Science Fellow for 2015 -2016
  • ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Awards
  • US Government Meeting on DURC
  • Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter

Federal Funding Opportunities Breakfast at asm2015
During asm2015 in New Orleans, the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) sponsored the Federal Funding Opportunities Breakfast, which allowed attendees to learn about funding opportunities available to microbiologists from several federal agencies that support biomedical, environmental and life sciences research.  Presenting at the breakfast were Shiva P. Singh, Ph.D., Chief, Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Elizabeth R. Blood, Ph.D., NEON Program Director, National Science Foundation and Joseph R. Graber, Ph.D., Program Manager, Team Lead for Genomic Science, Biological Systems Science Division, Office of Biological & Environmental Research, U.S. Department of Energy.  The presentations from the breakfast are available on the Public Affairs web page at:  http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy/93-policy/93563-ffo-asm2015.

ASM Participates in White House Antibiotic Stewardship Forum
Over 150 human and animal health stakeholders met on June 2 at the Antibiotic Stewardship Forum at the White House to highlight commitments to implement changes over the next five years to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.  Dr. Gail Cassell, Chair of the PSAB Committee on Biomedical Research, represented ASM at the White House Forum.  More information, including fact sheets on the Forum and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s AR preservation efforts, is available at:  http://bit.ly/1KQhPaJ.

ASM Supports 21st Century Cures Act
The 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) would reauthorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for three years at funding levels that represent an increase of $1.5 billion per year and provide $10 billion over the next five years in mandatory funding through an NIH Innovation Fund. In a letter to Congress, coordinated by Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, more than 100 patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, and academic and research institutions and organizations expressed their support for H.R. 6. To read the letter go to:  http://www.asm.org/images/PSAB/CuresAct-6-15.pdf.  

FY 2016 Appropriations Update
In June, Congress continued work on fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations.  Highlights of importance to the ASM membership include:

On June 17, the House Appropriations Committee Released the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services Funding Bill which would provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) $31.2 billion, $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $100 million above the President’s budget request.  The bill provides increases for several targeted research initiatives, including $886 million, a $300 million increase, for an Alzheimer’s disease research initiative; $461 million, a $100 million increase, for an antibiotic resistance initiative; $150 million, a $95 million increase, for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neuro-technologies (BRAIN) initiative; and the full $200 million requested for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would receive $7 billion, $140 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and equal to the budget request.

On June 18, the House Appropriations Committee, Agriculture Subcommittee passed their fiscal year (FY) 2016 Agriculture appropriations bill. The bill would fund:

Department of Agriculture (USDA): $2.7billion for agriculture research; $871 million or $15 million above the President’s request for APHIS; $335 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a $10 million increase over FY 2015.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA):$4.6 billion total, with $2.6 billion in discretionary funding, a $30 million increase over the FY 2015 level.  Food safety activities would be increased by $41.5 million. 

On June 11, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. The bill would fund the National Science Foundation (NSF) at $7.3 billion, roughly the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.  The House passed the CJS bill on June 3.

ASM Joins Call to Action for American “Innovation Imperative”
The ASM joined other organizations as well as leaders of industry, higher education, science and engineering in a call to action for stronger federal policies and investment to drive domestic research and development. Ten CEOs and 252 organizations signed “Innovation: An American Imperative,” a document aimed at federal decision makers and legislators.  It underscores the findings, and warnings, contained in The American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream.  To read the full innovation document go to:  http://www.asm.org/images/PSAB/InnovationAmericanImperative.pdf.

US Government Meeting on DURC
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Institutes of Health will co-host a public meeting for interested stakeholders to discuss implementation of the U.S. Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern. The purpose of the meeting is to inform and engage stakeholders; collect feedback about resources needed to effectively implement the policy; and discuss stakeholder experiences, challenges, and innovative practices. 

The meeting will be held on July 22, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Building 10 Lipsett Amphitheatre on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892. 

Pre-registration for the meeting is required. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and is subject to space limitations.  Interested participants can register to attend the meeting online at: http://www.PHE.gov/DURCworkshop 

Additional information about the meeting, including the draft agenda and information about NIH security and other logistical matters is also posted on the meeting’s webpage. 

DoD Alert on Recent Inadvertent Shipment of Anthrax to Laboratories
The Department of Defense (DoD), Nuclear Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, Chemical and Biological Defense and Threat Reduction Program Oversight Offices requested ASM send a statement to members regarding the inadvertent Shipment of Live Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) to laboratories in the US and overseas.  The bulk e-mail was sent out in early June.  The statement is available at http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy/93-policy/93545-dod-6-4-15.

ASM Provides IQCP Materials for Clinical Microbiology Lab Personnel
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is implementing an Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP) as a new quality control option based on risk management for CLIA laboratories performing nonwaived testing.  This plan, begun in 2012, becomes effective January 2016.   Beginning with a sponsored conference call with CMS during asm2014, a special interest session at asm2015, and in a joint project with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), ASM is helping clinical microbiologists prepare for implementation of IQCP in their laboratories.  You can find the relevant IQCP templates, forms, asm2015 presentations, and CMS instructions by going to http://clinmicro.asm.org/index.php/lab-management/laboratory-management/445-iqcp-iqcp.  

NIH Office of Science Policy Announces the Launch of a New Blog
The National Institutes of Health launched a new Office of Science Policy (OSP) blog “Under the Poliscope: Bringing Science Policy Into Focus,” which will highlight the activities of the NIH Office of Science Policy and focus on science policy matters in general as well as emerging issues of interest to the life sciences community and public at large. NIH encourages readers to provide their thoughts and ideas to stimulate a dialogue between NIH and its stakeholders.  To subscribe to “Under the Poliscope,” click the following link: http://osp.od.nih.gov/under-the-poliscope

ASM Selects Congressional Science Fellow for 2015 -2016
The American Society for Microbiology has awarded the ASM Congressional Science Fellowship to David K. Visi for 2015 – 2016.  David will work on the staff of a member of Congress or congressional committee during his fellowship year. 

David earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of North Texas in the Spring of 2015 working in the lab of Michael S. Allen.  His doctorate focused on the microbial constituents in the retting of Hibiscus cannabinus for incorporation into a green biocomposite, which included utilizing next-generation sequencing of 16S genes as well as establishing the initial computational pipeline. Recently, he was the 2015 Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Science with the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP).  During his time as a fellow he worked on the establishment of a committee on an assessment of the ARPA-E program, initiated a prospectus on nuclear regulatory policy, and helped finalize a consensus report, “Empowering Innovation: Role of Innovation System for American Leadership in Developing Increasingly Clean Technology.”  David is looking forward to his time as ASM’s fellow, “I aim to bridge the gap in science understanding by engaging with both the public and politicians.  I want to offer good, sound, nonpartisan advice concerning science policy.”

The American Society for Microbiology has supported Congressional Fellows since 1977.  The ASM Congressional Science Fellowship Selection Committee selects a postdoctoral to mid-career microbiologist to spend one year on the staff of an individual congressman, congressional committee, or with some other appropriate organizational unit of Congress.   Prospective Fellows must be citizens of the United States, members of ASM for at least one year and must have completed their Ph.D. by the time the fellowship begins in September.  The Congressional Science Fellowship is supported in part by the Frobisher Fund, a bequest made to ASM by Martin Frobisher.  Contact the Office of Public Affairs at publicaffairs@asmusa.org for more information on the ASM fellowship or go to the ASM web page for a program description:  http://www.asm.org/ASM-CSFellowship.  The deadline for applications for the 2016 – 2017 fellowship is February 19, 2016. 

ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Awards
During the asm2015 General Meeting in New Orleans, LA the winners of the ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Award were honored at the Annual Minority Microbiologists Mixer.  The Mixer was hosted by the Chair of the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM), Dr. Dwayne Boucaud.  The reception was attended by members of the committee and the leadership of ASM, including ASM President Dr. Tim Donohue. 

The ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Award program offers travel funds to increase the participation of underrepresented minority (URM) groups in the ASM General Meeting. The following outstanding 2015 awardees were introduced at the ASM General Meeting:

Thessicar E. Antoine, Ph.D., Georgia State University, Viral Immunology Center
Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Ph.D., Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Campus
Camille A. Hardiman, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health
Laurice J. Jackson, Tufts University
Abria Magee, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
Lindsey L. O'Neal, University of Oklahoma, Department of Microbiology
Ashley S. Parker, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Nina M. Poole, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
Elizabeth Roberts, Ph.D., Southern Connecticut State University
Natasha Weatherspoon-Griffin, Ph.D, University of Nevada Las Vegas

The ASM General Meeting Minority Travel Award program selects post-doctoral scholars and graduate students from underrepresented minority groups in the microbiological sciences or faculty from Minority Serving Institutions. Each grantee is offered funds to defray expenses associated with travel to the ASM General Meeting.  The grants are supported by the American Society for Microbiology.  For more information go to the ASM web page:  http://www.asm.org/asmgmminoritytravelgrant.

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
The June issue of the Minority Microbiology Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities (CMIIM). You can read the newsletter by going to this link:  http://www.asm.org/index.php/public-policy/135-policy/documents/newsletters/minority-microbiology-mentor-newsletter/93550-mmm-6-15.

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