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, more than 50 percent 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

Recent federal budget constraints and cuts are eroding NIH’s ability to support promising research and cultivate the next generation of researchers. The NIH budget has failed to keep pace with biomedical inflation for the past decade and has declined by more than 22 percent ($6.1 billion) since 2003 after adjusting for inflation.

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. 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. 

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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. 

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Economic Benefits of Medical Research

Federal- and state-funded research conducted at the nation's medical schools and teaching hospitals added $45 billion to local economies in 2011, according to a study conducted for the AAMC by the national economic consulting firm Tripp Umbach.