Bipartisan agreement is hard to come by on Capitol Hill. Yet, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) shares on this month’s The Pulse how Republicans and Democrats are coming together to propel advances in biomedical research and to bolster funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, Davis reports that the $32 billion in NIH research she is championing, as well as the $8.75 billion 21st Century Cures Act which was recently approved, could serve as job creators in San Diego.
Each year, scientists in laboratories throughout the San Diego region receive about $800 million in NIH funding. But in recent years, Davis says, “there’s been a significant drop in the number of grants” and budget cuts have slowed both the economy and medical advancements. Davis spearheaded the drive for the large infusion of funds into the NIH’s 2016 budget and believes a conference solution can be struck, since an even higher funding level is being proposed in the Senate.
Davis also touts the 21st Century Cures Act which passed the House with bipartisan support in July. The Act directs money towards high-risk, high-reward research, “focusing on illnesses and diseases we know we are not far from curing,” according to Davis. “As a nation, we have to do better,” making the investment in biomedical research and becoming the best trained and equipped biomedical workforce in the world, she says.
A social worker who migrated into politics after volunteering with the League of Women Voters, Davis finds that women need what she calls “rehearsal time” before they can take the risk and run for office. “They need opportunities to develop skills and confidence as well as a network of people who push them forward.” Furthermore, Davis says, “We need more women to run for office and inspire younger women to join us. After all, you can’t be what you cannot see.”
The one skill her office looks for when hiring? “Writing skills,” she says. “To respond to 1,500 constituent letters and emails each week, writing skills are critically important.”
Listen here: Susan Davis Champions NIH Research Funds, 21st Century Cures, and Women in Congress (The Pulse audio)
To listen to previous episodes of the Pulse, visit our archives page on UCTV’s Career Channel.