Published 3/1/2015

Patients Join Advocacy Effort on NIH Funding

Since 2004, the AAOS Research Capitol Hill Days have brought together physicians, researchers, and patients to advocate for the future of musculoskeletal care, specifically increased research funding for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This year, nearly 30 surgeons and researchers and 18 orthopaedic patients will be meeting with members of Congress on Thursday, March 5.

The doctor/patient advocacy teams include participants from the AAOS and eight orthopaedic specialty societies: the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the American Association of Hand Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, the Orthopaedic Research Society, the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and the Scoliosis Research Society. Patients ranging in age from adolescents to retirees will share their personal stories about how their musculoskeletal care affected their lives.

Although annual direct and indirect costs for bone and joint health in the United States exceed $950 billion, research funding for musculoskeletal conditions is less than 2 percent of the NIH budget each year.

The NIH budget of $30.311 billion for the current fiscal year (FY) expires Sept. 30, 2015. President Obama’s FY 2016 budget would eliminate sequestration and provide $31.3 billion in funding for NIH—a 3.3 percent increase over current funding levels, but still more than 22 percent below the FY 2003 level in constant dollars. Research Capitol Hill Day participants will be urging Congress to appropriate $32 billion in FY 2016 for the NIH.

For more information, visit www.aaos.org/researchdays