NYC Medical Schools Join Forces, Challenge Scheduled NIH Budget Cuts

If Congress does not address the fiscal cliff before January, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget will be immediately cut by 8.2%. 

All the medical school deans from New York are sending a letter to the Congressional Delegation, urging them to prevent cuts from sequestration. Dean Goldman’s letter to the Columbia medical campus is pasted below.

CUMC Dean Lee Goldman will hold a press conference at 10:45 a.m. on Monday to announce the letter. Joining Dean Goldman will be Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, along with several patients and Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. We will post a link to a web video or audio from the press conference here on Monday, and members of the Columbia community are encouraged to attend.

To contact your Senators and Member of Congress and urge them to prevent disastrous cuts to the budget of the NIH, please click the link (http://bit.ly/UyxNhK).

The university has requested that members of the CU community use their home address and Columbia email address when filling out the form.

Dean's message from November 20, 2012:

Dear Colleague:

I write to ask you to contact your Senators and Member of Congress to urge them to prevent disastrous cuts to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Please click here to do so.

Now that the election is over, President Obama and Congress are turning their attention to addressing the budget deficit and preventing the nation from heading over the fiscal cliff. Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, if Congress does not act by January 3rd, 2013, an automatic sequester will be imposed on the federal budget. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that this would mean an immediate 8.2% cut to the NIH budget.

Although the agency has not yet determined how it would implement this cut, there is no doubt that it would have a devastating effect on biomedical research here at Columbia and across the country. The Centers for Disease Control, the National Science Foundation, and other health and research agencies would be similarly affected.

Now is the time to weigh in with your elected representatives and let them know this cannot happen. Research!America has set up a website that will allow you to do so easily. There is suggested text, but you should feel free to add your own thoughts on the issue. When filling out the form, please use your home address and Columbia email address.

The decision on whether and how to avoid sequestration will be made in the next few weeks, so it is imperative that we act now. Faculty, students, staff, alumni, patients, and friends must make their voices be heard. Otherwise, we risk losing support for this vital agency. 

Please feel free to contact Ross A. Frommer, Associate Dean for Government & Community Affairs, if you have any questions or need any additional information. You can reach Ross at (212) 305-4967 or at raf2002@columbia.edu.

When funding for the NIH has been at risk in the past, Columbia has stood up and let Congress know this is unacceptable. Now we must do so again. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Lee Goldman, MD, MPH