Senator Collins Honored by Research!America for Her Strong Advocacy for Biomedical Research

Click HERE for a high-quality photo of Senator Collins with Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), Research!America Chair Michael N. Castle, Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld, MD, and Research!America Vice Chair Kweisi Mfume

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins was honored at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner and was presented with the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy.  The award recognized her leadership in increasing federal funding for biomedical research on treatments, means of prevention, and cures for diseases that affect nearly every American family, particularly diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.


“There is simply no investment that promises greater returns for America than our investment in biomedical research.  I have championed efforts to increase funding for the NIH by $4 billion over the past two years, and we are on track to provide an additional $2 billion this year.  Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, with their devastating human and financial costs, are powerful examples of the urgent need to keep our momentum going,” said Senator Collins. “I am so encouraged that Congress is working in a bipartisan way to increase research funding, and I am proud to stand with Reseach!America, whose work is transformative and brings tangible hope to so many Americans.”


“Through her outstanding commitment to advancing research to benefit patients and their loved ones, Senator Collins has made a significant impact in strengthening our nation’s research enterprise,” said Research!America Chair Michael Castle.  “Her determination to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s disease for the millions of Americans impacted by this dreadful illness is truly an inspiration for those dedicated to improving the treatment and prevention of deadly and disabling conditions.”


As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and as the founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force and the Diabetes Caucus, Senator Collins has strongly advocated for increased funding for biomedical research. 


In 2011, Senator Collins authored the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN).  NAPA convened a panel of experts, who determined that $2 billion per year in research funding is needed to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by the year 2025.  As a result of her advocacy, the proposed Senate funding bill for FY18 provides a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, the largest in history.  The proposed funding would bring the total for Alzheimer’s research to $1.8 billion – well within reach of the $2 billion goal.  The funding Senator Collins has secured is being used by researchers across the country, including by scientists at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and The Jackson Laboratory.


In addition, since founding the diabetes caucus in 1997, Senator Collins has successfully worked to more than triple the funding for diabetes research from $319 million to more than $1 billion in 2017.  As a result of Senator Collins’ leadership, the government funding bill last month included a full two-year reauthorization of the Special Diabetes Program.


In a letter congratulating Senator Collins on receiving this prestigious award, Dr. Ronald C. Peterson, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, wrote, “Your work including the authorship of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was absolutely fundamental in promoting research on Alzheimer’s disease.” 


Dr. Edison Liu, president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, also wrote a congratulatory letter to the Senator, noting that she is a “great friend to science and to the research community.” 


Research!America’s 2018 Advocacy Awards dinner honors outstanding individuals and organizations in advocacy for medical, health, and scientific research. The Whitehead Award, named in honor of Research!America founder Edwin C. “Jack” Whitehead, recognizes exemplary leaders, particularly those in public office, who have demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing medical and health research as a national priority and who galvanize others in support of science.