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Individuals in forum discussion

Research!America in the News

More than 450 people turned out for the forum “Medical Research: The Right Prescription for Economic Growth” at the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center in Rootstown, Ohio on Monday, June 6. Research!America convened the event.

Following are excerpts from the media coverage on June 6, along with links to full articles.

Akron Beacon Journal

To stay a leader in medical research, Ohio needs money and team players, forum speakers say
By Jim Mackinnon
June 6, 2016

Medical research is among the key drivers of both the Ohio and national economies. And Ohio residents say the state should continue to be a leader in medical and health research, according to public opinion poll results released Monday at the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown….“Your fellow citizens want Ohio to be a leader,” said Mary Woolley, president and chief executive officer of Research!America, a nonprofit education and advocacy alliance that commissioned the poll done by Zogby Analytics. The firm surveyed 802 Ohio adults in May….

To look at the Ohio survey, go to:

Joe Kanfer, chairman and CEO of Akron-based GOJO Industries, maker of Purell hand sanitizer, said more medical research is needed, including looking at how to change people’s behaviors so they decrease the possibility of becoming sick.

GOJO’s research findings show that good hand hygiene can reduce school absenteeism caused by illness, Kanfer said. Companies can also reduce work absenteeism by encouraging good hand hygiene, he said. (There was a bottle of Purell on each forum table.)

“Shake hands with someone in the room and you will take their microbiome [microorganisms] home with you,” Kanfer said.

Closing out the program was Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, former head football coach at Ohio University and former executive vice president of student success at the University of Akron.

“One science we can’t do without is ‘team science,’” Tressel said. “We better figure out a way to do things better…. Can we selflessly figure out a way to do this together?”

Business Journal Daily

Dr. Jay Gershen, President, NEOMED

By Josh Medore
June 7, 2016

….Dr. Jay Gershen, president of NEOMED, said the impact of medical research on Ohio comes in the form of thousands of jobs; one estimate reported that every $1 million spent on medical research creates 18 jobs. Last year, $700 million alone came to Ohio through grants from the National Institutes of Health.….

“The key to competing in this global world is doing a great job from the education standpoint, from the government standpoint – because they’re so involved in research – and from the business community,” said Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel. “To come together and share ideas and learn from each other is very healthy.” When schools conduct their own research, added Ohio University President Rod McDavis, it can extend beyond just medical students. In Athens is a strong collaboration between the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, he said.

“When you get people together from different disciplines, you get creative ideas about how to improve the human condition,” McDavis said.

When medical research funding is adequate, it has the power to transform the economy in the area and, potentially, the state. Between the research centers in the state – such as University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic – and the 14 public research universities, Ohio is a spot to take advantage of the opportunity.

“What’s important is making northeast Ohio a corridor of medical research. I do believe we can do that. We have some of the greatest universities,” said Rep. Jim Renacci, R-16 Ohio. “We have some of the greatest medical facilities. Putting together those organizations and getting the power of that joint effort will be unbelievable.”

Crain’s Cleveland Business

Survey: Ohioans support funding medical research
By Lydia Coutre
June 7, 2016

Sixty-three percent of Ohioans believe that state funds should be used to support scientific research at public universities, according to a new public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America.

“This kind of activity and commitment by the state and by its academic and business leadership is embraced by the general population,” said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, a national nonprofit that works to make research to improve health a national priority. “They want this to be happening. They’ll support it. They say they’ll even pay more in taxes to support it.”

In fact, 66% of state residents strongly or somewhat support paying an additional $1 per week in taxes if it would support the U.S. investing more in research to improve health. This is up from 54% in 2011, the last time Research!America conducted the survey of Ohioans….

“If we invested more, we would get more,” said Walter Koroshetz, panelist and director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “We are resource-limited in terms of what we can do in this country now. We have the manpower, the people who want to do this.”

…. Jim Tressel, president of Youngstown State University, said he’s convinced Ohio has the factors in place to make this happen.


NEOMED Conference Pushes for Renewed Research Funding
By Jeff St. Clair
June 7, 2016

…. Research!America President Mary Woolley says the survey shows 78 percent of Ohioans back more government spending on medical research.

“There’s been an attitude by some in Congress that we can take medical progress for granted; it’s always happened, it will continue to happen, and that is just patently not true,” says Woolley….The event included eight university presidents, members of Congress from both parties, and some of the biggest players in the region’s health industry, all united around the theme of boosting health research.

NEOMED President Jay Gershen launched the conference by reminding attendees that medical research is good for Ohioans and good for Ohio’s economy.

Woolley says that after years of cuts to federal research spending, the public is calling for solutions to the healthcare challenges facing them.

“We need to know what’s going on here. What about Ebola? What about Zika? What about Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, the opioid abuse issue? We’ve got to stop saying, ‘We’ll get there eventually.’ We have to get there now.”

Cleveland Jewish News

NEOMED event underlines Ohio support for medical research
By Carlo Wolff
June 9, 2016

….[Research!America president and CEO Mary] Woolley noted support for medical research among Ohioans has increased over the past five years. She noted biomedical research is going on in 80 of the state’s 88 counties, and that there are more than 2,500 bioscience companies in the Buckeye State.

“There is a considerable amount of state pride going on,” she said, noting more than half of the survey’s respondents could name a research institution in “education-rich” Ohio. The Zogby Analytics poll of 802 adults at least 18 years old was conducted in May. It also noted that Ohioans feel the state is a leader in agriculture….

Woolley’s presentation paved the way for a panel blending academia, the government and industry. Representing the last: Joseph S. Kanfer, chairman and CEO of GoJo Industries, the Akron-based manufacturer of Purell, a hand sanitizer.

Kanfer suggested that prevention and intervention are critical to health, citing a recent collaboration between the CDC Foundation and GoJo on “Clean Hands Count!,” an educational outreach effort to promote hand hygiene.

In a separate interview, Kanfer said a political climate characterized by short-term budgets and cost-cutting isn’t conducive to solving “serious, long-term problems like health care problems … you can’t solve them overnight. So you have to have the patient capital to spend now for tomorrow.”

He also noted that increasing resistance to antibiotics, which leads to 23,000 deaths a year, and the 83,000 people who die yearly from hospital-acquired infections, are areas well worth exploring.