Washington Update

Save the Date: Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, April 14, 2015

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ADEA invites you to make your voice heard during ADEA/AADR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. This one-day event is co-hosted with the American Association for Dental Research (AADR).

ADEA/AADR Hill Day on April 8, 2014

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The American Dental Education Association/American Association for Dental Research, ADEA/AADR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill will be held on April 8, 2014. The event will take place in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2168, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. This one-day event has been designed to provide the dental education and dental and craniofacial research communities an opportunity to advocate before Congress in support of our issues. There will be a short program on issues of importance to academic dentistry, with guest speakers from the academic and dental and craniofacial research community, and greetings from several members of Congress. Immediately following the program, participants will proceed to members’ offices for meetings. Your participation is invaluable, as an expert in the field of academic dental education and/or dental and craniofacial research, to educate members of Congress. The value of constituents personally interacting with members of Congress cannot be overstated—there is no substitute for direct constituent contact; as we say in Washington, “if you are not at the table—you are on the menu.” Therefore, we trust everyone will make plans to participate in this important event. Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill is open to all ADEA members. If you cannot attend, please encourage a colleague or students from your institution to attend the event. ADEA will assist in arranging hotel accommodations and provide information regarding congressional members who represent your institution in order to facilitate scheduling meetings—please contact Yvonne Knight, J.D., ADEA Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Governmental Relations at KnightY@adea.org for further information. We look forward to seeing you in Washington.

Upcoming Retirements Cost House Democrats Decades of Experience

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A growing number of the most senior members of the House Democratic caucus have announced their retirements from the GOP-led House. These include Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the longest serving member of Congress in history.  Waxman and Miller are the last remaining members of the 1974 class that sent a surge of Democrats into the House after Watergate, increasing their majority at the time to more than two-thirds.  Dingell entered Congress in 1955 and held multiple chairmanships of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman is among nine announced retirements of House Democrats to date. With his departure, Democrats will be losing more than 150 years of House experience, reports CQ Roll Call Editor David Hawkings. Two more senior House Democrats, Rep. Nick Rahall Jr. (D-WV) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), are both facing tough midterm re-elections in Republican-leaning districts, says Hawkings, and if they lose, another six decades of experience will also depart. Even assuming they win, there will be no more than seven House members remaining who chaired committees at the time when Democrats were last in power. Both Waxman and Miller are key allies of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Waxman was one of the most prominent legislators of his time, focusing on both environmental legislation and health care, while mounting a successful challenge against Dingell for chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 111th Congress, positioning him to play a crucial role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps Waxman’s most public moment came in 1994, when he brought the heads of the country’s major tobacco companies to Washington to testify on the dangers of tobacco. Their claim under oath that tobacco was not addictive became a key moment in the national fight to regulate cigarettes. There is no obvious successor to Waxman’s ranking membership — the two most likely contenders are Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA).  Miller has spent his entire 39 years on the House education committee, serving as the top Democrat on the panel since 2001. He played major roles in overhauling the federal student loan program to increase higher education access.

NIH names first Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity

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The National Institutes for Health (NIH) has appointed its first Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, Hannah Valantine, M.D.  Dr. Valantine, who will start work this spring, formerly served as Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at Stanford School of Medicine and Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. The appointment of a diversity officer at NIH is the result of a recommendation by the Biomedical Research Workforce Diversity Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). That group determined that the NIH needed a new position dedicated solely to achieving greater diversity at NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, which comprises 27 institutes including the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “Recruiting and retaining the brightest minds regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability and socioeconomic status, is critically important not only to NIH, but to the entire U.S. scientific enterprise,” said NIH director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Hannah possesses the experience, dedication and tenacity needed to move NIH forward on this critically important issue.”

Murthy Nominated as U.S. Surgeon General

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President Obama has nominated a new Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, who co-founded and is president of Doctors for America. The group of 16,000 physicians and medical students advocate for the Affordable Care Act and other legislation aimed at improving health. It was originally known as Doctors for Obama when it was founded in 2008. The White House announced the nomination of Murthy on November 14. He has been an attending physician and instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School since 2006. Murthy would succeed the acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, who took over in July after Dr. Regina Benjamin completed her four-year term. The Surgeon General, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is the chief public health officer in the United States, and head of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a group of 6,500 health professionals who are on 24-hour call in case of public health emergencies. The position can also serve as a bully pulpit for Surgeon Generals who wish to promote more healthy work and lifestyle habits among Americans, including bringing attention to the lack of oral health care in America, which has been done by a past Surgeon General. Murthy also helped to found two technology companies related to medicine: Trial Networks, a cloud-based platform for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials; and Epernicus, a networking site for research scientists, Reuters reports. In 2011, he was appointed to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, an advisory prevention group created under the ACA. Murthy received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, an MBA from Yale School of Management and his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine.

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