Karen Goraleski, formerly with Research!America (a Burness client) and now the new Executive Director, at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, has worked with domestic and global researchers for dozens of years helping them brave the new waters of advocating for more health research funding. She recently published an editorial in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene reminding health researchers of the reasons why it is important that they get out of the labs and clinics to speak with conviction about health research. One of the most important things she reminds scientists is that the power of the trusted scientist in this advocacy process is enormous. She quotes The Honorable John Porter, the former U.S. Congressman who chaired the subcommitteethat funds all federal health programs, including NIH, speaking to scientists from his editorial in Science:
…If all you do is vote, you’re definitely not doing enough. Get off your chair, do something outside of your comfort zone, and make a difference for science. All of us must be creative about what we can do to make a difference for the things we believe in. Now is the time.
Scientists’ voices are so often missing from the messages because of fear of crossing the lobbying line, because there is no incentive to raise a voice, or because someone else is advocating for them. Ms. Goraleski says this is short-sighted and “leaves the funding for your work in someone else’s hands.”