Congress Set to Approve $13 Million for Lupus
Lupus Awareness Month got off to an exciting start yesterday as Congressional leaders released a spending bill that includes $13 million in new funding specifically to advance lupus research, education and awareness! The funding is part of a larger omnibus spending bill that funds the government for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends September 30.
This is great news and is an extremely important step forward in the fight against lupus. The bill includes:
- $5 million to establish the first line item for a Lupus Research Program at the Department of Defense (DOD). This is a significant accomplishment! The new program will help us coordinate and strategically direct funding to the most promising lupus research projects. It also means that lupus researchers will not have to compete for scarce dollars against researchers from other disease areas. The program is dedicated entirely to lupus! For more than a decade, the Lupus Foundation of America (Foundation) has led the fight for a dedicated lupus research program at DOD, including testifying before Congress and authoring a white paper describing the connection between lupus and military service.
- $6 million to continue funding for the National Lupus Patient Registry and Patient and Provider Education Programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bill supports research examining the costs associated with lupus and its impact on quality of life, as well as continuation of programs to raise awareness, increase knowledge, and enhance the skills of those with lupus and their health care providers. Congress now has provided nearly $50 million in funding for the registry program!
- $2 million to continue funding for the National Health Education Lupus Program at the Office of Minority Health. This funding will help advance clinical trials and the development of new treatments by supporting the implementation of a clinical trial education action plan that will help speed enrollment in clinical trials. Total funding for the program is now over $12 million!
The omnibus bill also provides over $34 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase over last year! The NIH and the pharmaceutical/biotech industry are the largest sources of lupus funding and we will continue to work with the NIH to direct vital grant funding to lupus research.
None of this would have happened without the grassroots outreach by lupus activists throughout the year! YOU made it happen. We are also deeply grateful to the Congressional Lupus Caucus Co-Chairs – Rep. Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL), Rep. William Keating (D-MA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) – and the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees who championed funding for these vital programs.
Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up to become a lupus activist to stay up-to-date on the latest news from Washington and to learn when your outreach to Congress can make the most impact in the fight against lupus.
Keep the Momentum Going! Join Us In Washington, D.C.
The Foundation’s National Policy Summit has been critical in the fight against lupus. Join us in Washington, D.C. June 26-27 and help us realize even greater accomplishments! Registration is now open. Help us educate Members of Congress about the true nature of the disease and why more must be done to advance our cause on Capitol Hill. Visit www.lupus.org/summit to register and learn more.
Sandra C. Raymond
President & CEO
Lupus Foundation of America