Medical Research and Academic Medicine

Federal investment in medical research and the biomedical research workforce is a  national priority and the beginning of hope for patients suffering from serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. By far the largest source of federal research funding comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, nearly 55% of all extramural research (grants to outside scientists) sponsored by the NIH is conducted at AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals. NIH-funded research has pioneered many of the advances that help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. This partnership has resulted in major advances in health from reduced mortality from heart disease and stroke to more precise ways to diagnose and treat cancers.

The Issue

NIH-funded research conducted at the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals has led to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of human health and disease and has provided better diagnostics, treatments, cures, and ways to improve health and save lives. Continued advances require sustaining robust, predictable increases in the NIH budget.

Though strong bipartisan support in Congress has led to significant recent funding increases, NIH’s budget—adjusted for inflation—remains lower than it was a decade ago, while the health challenges and complexity of medical research have increased.

In addition, medical discovery and advancement requires effective research across a continuum from basic science to clinical, health services, and health systems research.

The Solution

While the country faces enormous economic challenges, NIH is an essential element in ensuring the health and well-being of the American people, and provides benefits to our local, regional, and national economies. When considering the many different solutions to restore the nation’s fiscal health, lawmakers should work together toward a solution that guarantees sustained, predictable real growth in federal support for medical research funded by the NIH. 

It is also vital to support research, health agencies, and initiatives across the spectrum. These include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

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Research at Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals

Medical schools and teaching hospitals are the only places in the health care system where medical research, doctor education and training, and patient care come together. 

Learn more about medical research at medical schools and teaching hospitals

Economic Benefits of Medical Research

Federal- and state-funded research conducted at the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals contribute $25.4 billion in total GDP and over 300,000 jobs to the U.S. economy,  according to a study conducted for the AAMC by RTI.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

F&A costs, also known as indirect costs, are expenses incurred as a result of conducting research funded by grants. F&A reimbursements help support the infrastructure costs that institutions incur as a result of conducting research (e.g., precision climate control, lab construction and maintenance, lights, water, internet access, etc.)

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National MD-PhD Programs Outcomes Study

The National MD-PhD Programs Outcomes Study tracks the careers of MD-PhD dual-degree program graduates over 50 years (1964–2014) and highlights results of a research project that explored their career paths. 

Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research

The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research is a coalition of more than 300 patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, that supports enhancing the federal investment in the biomedical research conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


The Value of NIH-Funded Research at Medical Schools and Teaching Hospitals
An infographic explaining how sustained, meaningful growth in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, and the research at medical schools and teaching hospitals that it funds, is an investment that results in saved lives, better health, economic growth, stronger local and regional economies, and U.S. global leadership in science and technology.

AAMC Statement on Committee Passage of House FY 2020 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill
AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued a statement on the passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bill by the House Appropriations Committee, which includes increased funding for several priority programs and agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), training, pipeline, and diversity programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and others.

Celebrating Biomedical ResearchAAMCNews
The AAMC, in association with the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research and other organizations from the patient, provider, scientific, and academic communities, held a Capitol Hill Reception in the Kennedy Caucus Room on June 20 to celebrate the life-saving achievements in biomedical innovation supported by the NIH and to thank Members of Congress for their meaningful, sustained commitment to the NIH. 

Academic health centers save millions of livesAAMCNews
Medical schools and teaching hospitals educate the next generation of physicians, conduct cutting-edge research that saves lives, and care for the sickest and most medically complex patients. That’s the value of academic medicine.