Dear ASM Members:
We’ve heard much about fiscal policy in our national political dialogue in these past weeks, but I want to make you aware of a budget issue that hits very close to home, affecting funding for scientific research and public health programs. As a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and failure by the Congressional Committee on Deficit Reduction to reduce the Nation’s debt by $1.2 trillion, automatic across-the-board cuts to both defense and non-defense discretionary spending, known as sequestration, are set to be enacted on January 2, 2013. We are facing potentially crippling cuts to important domestic programs, including government-funded scientific research that could affect many of our ASM members.
Our Public and Scientific Affairs Board has been very active in communicating our concerns about indiscriminate cuts that would have adverse impacts on scientific research and public health. Public Affairs staff have met with Senate staff and also participated in a White House conference call with Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and representatives from the Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about the potential impacts of sequestration on science programs.
Members of Congress have also pointed out the potential adverse effects of the automatic budget cuts. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, released a report on July 25 detailing the severe consequences of indiscriminate cuts to many nondefense programs. In addition, a letter signed by 78 members of the House expressed concern to House and Senate leaders over "draconian cuts to important domestic programs" (including research and public health programs) that would occur as a result of across-the-board cuts. Please see our Public Affairs website for the latest updates as we continue to monitor these important funding issues.
One more thing-ASM members will soon be getting 2013 renewal information. We’ve implemented a new three-tier membership structure that will allow you to select the category of membership benefits that best meets your needs. Find out more at www.asm.org/advance.
Jeff F. Miller, Ph.D.
Science Café Highlights Microbiome Project
MicrobeWorld live-streamed an ASM Science Café held at ASM headquarters in August focusing on newly released results from the Microbiome Project. The event drew approximately 100 guests and resulted in three new ASM members. The video of the live stream entitled My Microbes, Myself can be found on MicrobeWorld.org.
This Week in Microbiology Podcast
Four new episodes of This Week in Microbiology have been released:
ASM-NSF Leaders Inspiring Networks and Knowledge (LINK) Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the Education Board a $1M grant to establish the ASM-NSF Leaders Inspiring Networks and Knowledge (LINK) Program, a four-year initiative that will build connections between NSF investigators and developing scientists.. A key component of the LINK program will be supporting NSF investigators to mentor developing scientist participants of the Board’s two largest events - the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) and the Annual ASM Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE).
Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education Available in PubMed
The Education Board’s open-access, peer-reviewed Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE) has been selected for indexing by PubMed Central, the full-text digital archive of biomedical and Indexing in PubMed Central attests to the journal’s pedagogical and scientific credibility. To access current and past issues, view instructions for authors, or sign up for eTOC alerts, visit http://JMBE.asm.org.
ASM International BioResource Centers
The Committee on Global Exchange is working with the Committee on Sustainable Development to establish a network of ASM BioResource Centers that will provide ASM resources and onsite training to microbiologists and other beneficiaries in resource-constrained countries. The program will be funded through the ASM-CDC Cooperative Agreement, with CDC in-country offices agreeing to contribute a small proportion of their PEPFAR funds for the establishment of such centers in key locations. ASM is also enhancing the existing ASM BioResource Centers in Global Outreach countries.
Newly Appointed Ambassadors
ASM recently appointed 38 new Ambassadors to the expanding International Ambassador Network. Many served previously as ASM Country Liaisons. This dedicated and prestigious network of volunteers continues to play a vital role in ASM’s global initiatives by providing the Society with local ASM representatives worldwide. Please visit ASM.org for a complete list of names and countries now represented.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy New Digital Offering
The Journals Department has compiled a digital publication offering of selected highly read and cited AAC articles. A link for downloading the collection to computers and mobile devices is posted to both ICAAC Online and AAC websites. The collection is ASM Journals' first experiment with Cenveo Publisher Services’ new Mobile dPub™ technology.
Practical Guidance for Clinical Microbiology (PGCM) Replaces Cumitechs
Formerly Cumitechs, the first PGCM, Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Diarrhea, is being drafted; it is anticipated that it will be published in 2013 in an ASM peer-reviewed journal. In addition, a survey will be launched in early September to the members of Divisional Group I and non-members who have purchased a Cumitech asking for their input on the future PGCM topics. The survey responses will help prioritize the PGCM development schedule.
ASM Supports New Agricultural Research Coalition
The ASM became a founding member of the newly formed Supporters of Agriculture Research (SOAR) created by Roger Beachy, former Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The group is an umbrella coalition that includes organizations and societies who support the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFR) and will advocate for increased funding and awareness of AFRI and competitive grants funding for microbiology and other sciences at the USDA. The SOAR website can be found at http://supportagresearch.org/.
ASM Comments on FDA Guidance for Industry on Animal Drugs
The PSAB sent a letter to the FDA commenting on its draft guidance for industry that is intended to phase out the nontherapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. Under the initiative, certain antibiotics would not be used for production purposes, such as enhanced growth or to improve feed efficiency in an animal. These antibiotics would still be available to prevent, control or treat illness in food-producing animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. The ASM expressed concerns about the voluntary nature of the program and the lack of focus on non-drug measures that could reduce the need for antibiotics overall. Read the ASM letter here.
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