Congressional Reception Brings Together NIDDK Supporters

Grant Olan
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On June 23, 2015, ASN co-sponsored a Friends of NIDDK congressional reception in Washington, DC, to formally launch the new advocacy coalition. Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-Chair Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) spoke at the reception, which also featured National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Director Griffin P. Rodgers, MD.

” I want to thank you for your work on this coalition, and I can assure you that it will pay off,” Dr. Rodgers said. “We combat some of the most common, consequential and costly diseases … and we are committed to doing basic, clinical, and translational research. As we plan, we will continue to seek your broad input. To that end, I look forward to working with all of you not only now but into the future.”

Friends of NIDDK was established in 2013 with the goal of bringing all NIDDK stakeholders together to raise awareness about NIDDK-funded research and to build support for increased funding to maintain current projects and support new initiatives. ASN serves on the Friends of NIDDK Executive Committee, along with the American Diabetes Association, American Gastrological Association, American Urological Association, and others. To date, Friends of NIDDK includes more than 40 member organizations.

Earlier this year, Friends of NIDDK met with staff from the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over NIDDK’s budget to discuss the breadth of research funded by the institute and its impact on our nation’s health. For 2016, Friends of NIDDK requested $2.066 billion for NIDDK, approximately an 8% increase over its 2015 budget and a 6.2% increase over President Obama’s 2016 budget request.

NIDDK is the fifth largest institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and coordinates research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health. NIDDK’s mission is to “conduct and support medical research and research training and to disseminate science-based information on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutritional disorders, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases, to improve people’s health and quality of life.”

NIDDK funds the lion’s share of kidney research at NIH. In fact, NIDDK is the largest funder of kidney research in the world. “The research NIDDK funds promises to unlock mysteries about the causes and progression of kidney disease that could lead to new cures and therapies for this silent killer that strikes 1 in 10 adults in the United States,” ASN Research Advocacy Committee Chair Frank C. Brosius, MD, stated. “ASN looks forward to working with the Friends of NIDDK advocacy coalition to galvanize support for NIDDK research and funding.”