What Does Research Tell Us About Health Care Policy?

What Does Research Tell Us About Health Care Policy?

The science has been clear for more than a decade: those who are uninsured face worse care, are more likely to get sick, and have higher mortality rates than those with coverage. The health care bill being considered in the Senate would make the problem worse, not better.

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Accessing Accessibility: Physical Hurdles in STEM

Accessing Accessibility: Physical Hurdles in STEM

My name is Marina Z. Nakhla, and I am a first-year Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program at California State University, Northridge. I was born with congenital limb abnormalities, resulting in a bilateral above-knee amputation when I was fourteen months old.

Elementary, middle, and high school were very difficult for me...

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March for Science Statement on the United States’ Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

Science was ignored today. The decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement stands in stark opposition to the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is a real and active threat to communities around the world and to future generations. In addition, the fact that this decision was made without the input of a Presidential science advisor -- a position that, like most of the key scientific leadership positions in the Administration, remains unfilled -- is deeply troubling to all those who care about the role of science in informing policy.

The United States’ withdrawal from this global agreement is completely out of step with the views of a majority of Americans in all 50 states who support participation in the Paris Agreement, as well as the findings of social scientists that show action on climate change can bolster economies. It surrenders America’s role as a leader in the fight against climate change and betrays our responsibility to not only the more than 190 countries that joined together for this unprecedented action to protect our health and prosperity, but also the already vulnerable communities that will suffer disproportionately in the face of inaction.

Further, the decision ignores the voices of the more than one million people in 600 communities around the world who marched to support the role of science in policy-making.  

The March for Science is committed to mobilizing scientists, science advocates and concerned citizens to support evidence-based action on issues at the intersection of science and policy, including climate change. In the absence of leadership from the current Administration, we urge decision-makers in towns, counties, cities and states across the United States to join with the nearly 200 countries around the globe to heed the science on climate change and continue to take action to address this global threat to public health, global economies, and national security.

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Cutting the EPA’s Budget Harms the Country’s Ability to Address Asbestos Risks

This article is by Emily Walsh, Community Outreach Director at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.


Before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created, smog covered cities, factories dumped chemical waste haphazardly, and rivers caught fire. That’s when Americans spoke up and voiced their concern over environmental pollution and health hazards. In response to public outcry, elected officials from both sides of the aisle helped create the EPA to write and enforce scientifically backed regulations and standards. Though there is always more work to do, land, water, and air quality have significantly improved for all Americans in the nearly 50 years since the EPA was founded, all while the U.S. economy has grown.

Continued progress is in jeopardy due to the mammoth cuts in the Administration’s proposed 2018 budget. Under this proposal, the EPA would lose about 31% of its budget, the equivalent of $5.65 billion. A hit of this size could potentially derail important ongoing initiatives, including those aimed at cleaning up and monitoring the use of asbestos -- the mineral that is a leading cause of the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma.

Unknown to many people, asbestos is not fully banned in the U.S. Currently the mineral can be included in new products with historic asbestos use like car parts, insulation, and roofing tiles as 1% of the item’s components.

This might change soon as asbestos was selected in 2016 as one of the first 10 chemicals to be reviewed by the EPA for a risk evaluation under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, an amendment of the 1976 Toxic Substance Control Act. As a part of this process, the EPA must assess if each chemical “presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment” within three years.

Fortunately, the proposed 2018 budget would include additional funds to conduct this assessment. However, if asbestos is found to be a risk to public health -- a conclusion that has broad scientific consensus -- the EPA programs needed to reduce and remove the toxin would be included in these proposed budget cuts, similar to current cuts to the environmental toxins lead and radon. We’ve also seen troubling statements from the Administration on asbestos and its link to cancer. Additionally, the Regulatory Accountability Act, currently awaiting a Senate decision, would create a series of roadblocks in the name of accountability and transparency and prolong a ban even further, even if deemed unsafe by the EPA.

A world without the full strength of the EPA would not be a pretty one. There is a reason Americans were spurred into environmental activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Had asbestos been banned decades ago when it was already well known as a carcinogen, tens of thousands of lives might have been spared today. Mesothelioma survivor and advocate Heather Von St. James has witnessed the death of too many friends to this preventable disease. We must continue to fully support and fund the EPA’s vital work to serve as a protector of Americans’ health and safety.

So what can you do? Call your Congressmen. Write letters. Attend town hall meetings. Appropriators will be working on the details of the budget throughout the summer, before the end of the fiscal year in September. There is plenty of time for you to share your opinion and make your voice heard that science is here to stay!

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance is an organization focused on providing reliable information, resources and connections to those with mesothelioma and their loved ones as well advocating for a complete ban on the toxin asbestos.

March for Science Statement on the FY17 Omnibus Bill

Today, with the release of the FY17 Omnibus Bill, we were heartened to see that the Congress has listened to advocates for science -- like those who participated in the March -- and protected many of the important programs that have recently come under fire.

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Now That We Have Marched for Science, What’s Next for Science Advocacy?

Now That We Have Marched for Science, What’s Next for Science Advocacy?

This post is co-written by Christin Glorioso, president of Academics for the Future of Science (AFS); and Gary McDowell, executive director of The Future of Research (FoR).

It is an unprecedented time for science enthusiasm. Last fall, science was barely mentioned in the election. But yesterday, April 22nd, thousands of people marched for science all over the world. But there is still one recurring anxiety - what now? We don’t want to go the way of other grassroots movements by having all this enthusiasm fizzle and not be directed.

Academics for the Future of Science (AFS) and Future of Research (FoR) are two grassroots science policy non-profit organizations run by early-career scientists. We are offering some easy ways to continue to bring more science and evidence-based policy into the world post March:

  1. Sign up for science advocacy...

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Marching for (Climate) Science - Words from Partners

Below, hear from some of our March for Science partners - the NYU Climate Working Group, Cool Effect, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Association of University Professors, and 350.org - about why they march both for science and in support of the consensus on climate change.

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Introducing the "People for Science" Project

One of the most amazing things to come out of the March for Science has been the stories. Stories of scientists. Stories of teachers. Stories of survivors. We often forget that it's people who drive forward, apply, and benefit from science and the incredible, independent campaigns run by Satellite Marches around the world put the human face on science that it needs.

March for Science is collecting these images and stories to create a scrapbook of the people who do, love, and teach science

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Supporting Professional Advocacy Societies

Regardless of your own background, the success of societies that promote women, underrepresented minorities, and/or marginalized groups in STE(A)M is a success for everyone. As the world continues to be shaped by science and technology, it's more essential than ever that we ensure those making critical decisions and discoveries are representative of their full community. To make that happen, anyone can do three things: (1) listen to needs, (2) give your time and/or share the message, and (3) donate or support the organization.

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Statement on the Reported Assault of Reverend Yearwood

We are deeply disturbed by the reported assault against Rev. Yearwood, President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, on his way to the #MarchforScience in Washington, DC on Saturday.

We call on relevant law enforcement authorities to take appropriate steps to investigate the situation and undertake necessary reforms.

We must also acknowledge that the risks of participating in public demonstrations are not the same for all marchers, and marchers who come from historically marginalized groups may face risks that are not equally shared by others. The March for Science has and will continue to cultivate resources that support all marchers, and address the risks communities within our movement face.

We are grateful to Rev. Yearwood for his participation in the March, and we are proud to stand with Rev. Yearwood and the Hip Hop Caucus. You can read Rev. Yearwood's full account here: Marching For Climate While Black. 

 

"I Marched For Science" - Introducing A Week of Action

In the week following the March for Science (April 23-29), we will promote daily actions that serve our mission for supporters around the world to engage in together. This Week of Action will continue the momentum from the march and promote sustained, coordinated science advocacy.

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"I Marched For Science"

Civic engagement is vital for shaping a future in which science is fully integrated into public life and policy. On April 22, you marched for science. Now, tell your friends, communities, colleagues, and leaders why.

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March for Science North Pole Edition

March for Science North Pole Edition

Today thousands of science supporters, all over the world, March for Science. They even march at the North Pole! This piece, which was first published on 2Degrees, is from Bernice Notenboom who is currently performing research at the North Pole.

"During the last three weeks I have supported scientists by marching to the North Pole, an extreme expedition of 224 km facing -40°C temperatures while still collecting data on the ice to support NASA/ESA and arctic scientists...

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Everyone Can Advocate for Science: Tips for Immigrants Supporting Science

Everyone Can Advocate for Science: Tips for Immigrants Supporting Science

This piece is by Gary McDowell the executive director of Future of Research covers how immigrants on a visa can advocate for science. 

Many scientists are looking to become more politically engaged or to advocate—whether it be through marching for science, or contacting elected representatives and attending town halls. As someone here on a Green Card, who likes to actively engage and wants to advocate, I wondered what I can and cannot do in the US...

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Why Scientists Care so Much About Gnats, Weeds, and Brewer’s Yeast

Why Scientists Care so Much About Gnats, Weeds, and Brewer’s Yeast

This post is by Nicole Haloupek and Cristy Gelling on behalf of the Genetics Society of America. The road from a discovery to its impact on society is rarely straight. Few of the scientists in these stories could have predicted how their work might one day be applied. Today’s investment in some seemingly obscure, weird quirk of a model organism may tomorrow surprise us with a wealth of new possibilities. 

"In the late 1970s, a pair of biologists chatted over a microscope, working together to examine some mutant fruit fly embryos. The mutants in view were stumpier and spikier than usual; the scientists agreed these defects were worth further study. As they focused on their tiny subjects, they could not have known that this moment would eventually lead to...

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