Nation Must Invest in Biomedical Research/Health Workforce, AAHC President Tells Congress

Stronger Economy and Healthier Population Ensures a Sounder Future

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Prioritized funding for biomedical research and the healthcare workforce is critical to our nation's economy and wellbeing, Dr. Steven A. Wartman, president and CEO of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), told the House Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies in a submitted written statement.  Wartman urged policymakers to "continue to demonstrate bipartisan commitment to a strong economy and improved health" as they deliberate pertinent funding measures.

Wartman presented findings and recommendations to the Subcommittee on the economic impact of biomedical research, noting that "in order to preserve the many benefits of a thriving research community, including American competitiveness abroad, we must continue to invest in the growth of the sector.  Sustained growth of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is crucial to this endeavor." 

Wartman also argued that access to health care is being threatened by an increasingly inadequate health professions workforce and called on Congress to sufficiently "fund workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration" and, at a minimum, "maintain the current funding scheme and number of slots for graduate medical education."  He also called for $3 million in appropriations for the National Health Care Workforce Commission, noting the importance of "a comprehensive national strategic vision for health workforce policy and planning" because "the nation's health workforce cannot meet the current needs in underserved areas and the future needs of an aging population."  The Commission is the "right body to develop that vision," according to Wartman.

Recognizing the fiscal pressures of this current environment, Wartman told legislators that "investing in the nation's biomedical research enterprise and in the development of a robust health workforce is critical to ensure a stronger economy and healthier population in the future" adding that the AAHC looks forward to working with Congress to prioritize spending in FY2013 "and into the future."

The AAHC, representing more than 100 academic health centers nationwide, is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation's health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.   Testimony and information on the workforce is available at: www.aahcdc.org.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers



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