A Executive Summary Meeting on June 22-24, 2000
                                      August 1, 2000

Dr. Charles A. Blake
Secretary, AACBNC
Dept. Cell Biology and Neuroscience
University of South Carolina
School of Medicine
Columbia, SC 29208   

Dear Charlie:  

I am enclosing the minutes of our last Caucus
meeting. We had good attendance from our chair
associations (including Joe Besharse, Michael
Friedlander, Paul Lazarow and Dick Marchase), and
overall we had excellent dialogs with all of our
guests. We reiterated our strong support with key
Congressional leaders (or their chief advisers) for
increasing the NIH budget for FY2001 so as to
double its funding by 2003.  

We made contact with Dr. Cech, the new President of
the Howard Hughes Institute, and discussed
enlarging their pool of eligible awardees. We
proposed increasing the initiation of R01 grants with
the anticipated boost in the NIH budget with Dr.
Kirschstein, the Acting NIH Director. We urged
reconsideration of some of the new modifications of
grant applications with Dr. Ehrenfeld, Director, NIH
Center for Scientific Review, thereby allowing for
more new starts of R01s. During the visit by Morton
Kondracke, we contemplated joint drives for
increasing Congressional allocations to the NIH for
health research, as well as for medical centers
suffering from Congressionally-imposed financial
cut-backs. We considered means to increase faculty
participation in the AAMC with Dr. Korn, its VP. Mary
Woolley, Research!America President, brought us
up-to-date on the strong public support of health
research, as revealed by new surveys, and again
stressed the importance of having scientists
contacting their local US representatives to show
them health research activities in their own

Please disseminate this information about our
meeting, which your Association is supporting, to all
your chairs so that they are familiar with our
activities.If you prefer to receive this information by
E-mail for easier dissemination, please let me know
right away.  

Thanks and best wishes,  

Sincerely yours,

George Mandel, Ph.D.
Association of Anatomy,
Cell Biology and Neurobiology

Association of Chairmen of
Departments of Physiology  

Association of Medical and
Graduate Departments of

Association of Medical School
Microbiology and Immunology

Association for Medical School

Association of Pathology Chairs

Association of Professors of
Human and Medical Genetics

Association of Professors of
Human and Medical Genetics

H. George Mandel, Ph.D.
Professor and former Chairman
Department of Pharmacology
The George Washington
Medical Center
2300 Eye St., NW
Washington, DC20037
Tel:(202) 994-3542
Fax:(202) 994-2870  

Vice Chairs:
Diana S. Beattie, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Biochemistry
West Virginia University
School of Medicine
Morgantown, WV26506

Antonio Scarpa, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Physiology and
Case Western Reserve
School of Medicine
10900 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106-4970
Fax: 216-368-5586
Executive Summary                                 
Meeting on June 22-24, 2000

The Caucus, comprised of presidents and other officers of associations of chairs of
the basic science departments of U.S. medical schools, held a meeting in the
Department of Pharmacology, The George Washington University Medical Center,
Washington, D.C., on June 22-24. Sixteen representatives attended.

In a continuing Caucus effort to double the
NIH budget within 5 years, we visited
members of the U.S. Congress
concerned with budget allocations for NIH. Previously
we had been briefed by David Moore, AAMC’s Associate VP Office of Governmental
Relations; Pat White, AAI Public Affairs Officer; Howard Garrison, Director of Public
Affairs, FASEB; Ray Merenstein, Vice President, Research!America; and Kevin Mathis,
Director, Campaign for Medical Research. These highly experienced individuals
provided background for our planned visits, stressed how important it is to thank our
political leaders for having selected the NIH for the remarkable budgetary increase of
the past two years. Additional data from new surveys showing the country is
enthusiastic about increased health research were also provided. They also
reminded us that presidential candidate Bush has supported the doubling of the NIH
budget. We were advised to mention the recent
Caucus Letter to Science  (attached)
establishing that for FY 1998 only 20.2% of unamended unsolicited new R01 research
grant applications were funded, i.e., 80% were rejected and required reapplication.

We visited the offices of Sen. Stevens (Chair, Senate Appropriations Committee);
Sen. Specter (Chair, Senate NIH Appropriations Subcommittee); Representative
Porter (Chair, House NIH Appropriations Subcommittee, who personally came to see
us); Rep. Young (Chair, House Appropriations Committee); and Rep’s. Istook and
Bonilla (House NIH Appropriations Subcommittee). We also saw  Mr. Tony McCann (R)
and Mark Mioduski (D), senior staff members, House NIH Appropriations
Subcommittee. Since the legislators usually return to their home districts on Fridays,
except for Congressman Porter, we saw their health/science specialists who are most
closely involved with NIH issues. Although at this time the Senate has proposed a 15%
budgetary increase for the NIH, the House has only provided about a 5% raise.  
Nevertheless, there was optimism that the final FY2001 NIH budget would allow for
the full 15% increase.

During their visit with the Caucus, we were extremely impressed with the approaches
Dr. Thomas Cech, President, and Dr. David Clayton, Vice President for Science
Development, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, have taken to deal with various
problems perceived by the scientific community. Attempts are being made to achieve
greater geographic diversity in the selection of scientists for the HHMI Awards. We
also raised the concern that HHMI was mainly honoring individuals who have already
received major distinctions for their work, rather than selecting some less well-
recognized individuals who have, however, demonstrated great promise.

Our clinical members also raised the issues concerning physician scientists who
now, because of the decline in clinical and teaching hospital income, find it difficult to
generate the preliminary data necessary for developing a competitive grant
application. We urged the HHMI to develop a program providing protected time for
junior physician scientists to become funded productive research investigators.  

With Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, Acting NIH Director, we addressed the planned
disbursement of additional funds from an anticipated increase in the FY2001 NIH
budget. It had been reported that NIH proposed to use a large share of the additional
monies for increasing the size of existing grants and needed infrastructure support,
while limiting the number of new R01 starts. We recognized that adjustments were
due investigators whose budget proposals previously had been unduly rescinded
because of financial constraints. We expressed our strong conviction, however, that
the NIH should increase its emphasis on funding of additional grants with any budget
increase.  We stressed that many promising research leads cannot be tested
because of lack of funding. Because the quality of applications has been rising, we
would like to see the payline increased to accommodate a higher percentage of
excellent investigator-initiated R01 projects.  Efforts should also be made to curtail
the requirement for reapplication unless absolutely necessary.
The Caucus expressed to Dr. Ellie Ehrenfeld, Director, NIH Center for Scientific
Review, and also to Dr. Kirschstein, concerns about the diminished opportunity of
study section members to examine budgets in the newly redesigned grant
applications. It was felt that the new review system went too far in focusing
exclusively on merit, and that actively involved scientists often could suggest
realistic cost trimmings.  Nonessential budget items limit funding of additional R01’s.
Budget review, now by handled by NIH personnel, appears to be hampered by
admitted limitations in the size of the NIH staff. However, we agreed that study
sections should not micromanage budgets. Similarly, we proposed that applications
again provide information on concurrent research support, data now no longer
available to reviewers. Elimination of scientific or budgetary overlap with other
funded grants should permit payment of additional grants. Review of the new
modular budget concept was also advocated to avoid possible cost inflation.
Appreciable savings may be possible by reconsideration of the new guidelines, and
any resulting savings could be used instead to help more new investigators pursue
their best ideas in the laboratory.

Mr. Morton Kondracke, a well known radio and TV personality, joined us because of
similar interests in promoting more health research through an increased NIH
budget. We also discussed the current financial problems of teaching hospitals,
which, because of the Balanced Budget Amendment and changes in the Medicare
program, have had disastrous consequences for so many medical centers.  This
money crunch has had major impact on clinical and basic science research and
teaching at these institutions, and has not been addressed.  We proposed to stay in
touch with Mr. Kondracke because he is such an excellent spokesman for these
causes of mutual interest.

During our dinner with Dr. David Korn, Senior Vice President of the AAMC, we
discussed our interest in increasing faculty input in the deliberations of the AAMC.
Mechanisms were proposed to permit basic and clinical departments from each
medical school, probably through their chairs, to have a stronger voice in the AAMC
structure. We recognized that both Dr. Jordan Cohen, AAMC President, and David
had been considering this issue, and we were happy to note that changes have
already been accomplished for an increased role of faculty in the activities of the

Saturday morning we heard from Caroline Trupp Gil, Department of Science Policy,
American Chemical Society, who described the Society’s many public affairs activities
including rapid dissemination of information on budget and legislative actions
focused mainly on the National Science Foundation, the US Dept. of Energy. and the
National Institute of Standards and Technology. We concurred that these
organizations should have increased financial support. Mary Woolley, President of
Research!America, described  recent surveys indicating that the public was most
interested in doubling health research support.  She also stressed the valuable
assistance that patient advocacy groups could render scientists in their efforts to
promote NIH research. Tony Mazzaschi, Director, CAS Affairs, AAMC, provided
Congressional testimony on the NIH’s extramural grants program. He also discussed
data on the relative distribution of grants by disciplines. All stressed the urgency of
having scientists’ voices heard by their elected representatives, especially in their
home districts, and to have NIH support mentioned in announcements of medical

Our next meeting is being planned for spring 2001.

Respectfully Submitted,

H. George Mandel, Ph.D.
Meeting Attendees – June 22-24, 2000
Dr. H. George Mandel (5), Professor and former Chairman, Dept. of Pharmacology,
George Washington University School of Medicine, 2300 Eye Street, NW,
Washington, DC  20037,   Tel:  202-994-3542,   Fax:  202-994-2870,

Association of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Neurobiology Chairpersons
Dr. Richard B. Marchase (4), Professor and Chairman, Department of Cell Biology,
Dept. Cell Biology, 1530 3rd Ave. S, Univ. Alabama / Birmingham MCLM 692,
Birmingham, AL 35294-0005, Tel: 205-934-1294,  Fax: 205-934-0950,

Dr. Joseph C. Besharse (1),Professor and Chair, Dept. Cell Biol Neurobiol &  
Anatomy, Medical College of WI, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI  
53226-0509, Tel: 414-456-8261,  Fax: 414-456-6517,

Dr. Paul B. Lazarow (2), Professor & Chairman, Dept. Cell Biol. & Anatomy, Mt. Sinai
School Medicine, 1190 5th Ave., Box 1007, New York, N.Y. 10029-6574, Tel:
212-241-1505,  Fax: 212-860-1174,

Dr. Michael J. Friedlander (5), Professor & Chair, Dept. Neurobiology, Univ. Alabama
Birmingham, 1530 3rd Ave. South  Circ516, Birmingham, AL 35294-0021, Tel:  
205-934-0100,  Fax: 205-934-6571,

Association of Pathology Chairs
Dr. Mordecai P. Blaustein (3), Professor & Chairman, Dept.  of Physiology, University
of Maryland School of Medicine, 655 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD  21201-1559,
Tel:  410-706-7242,  Fax: 410-706-8341,

Dr. Antonio Scarpa (4), Vice Chair, NCBBSC , Prof. & Chairman, Dept. Physiol. &
Biophysics, Case Western Res. Univ., School. Of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Ave.,
Cleveland, OH 44106-4970, Tel: 216-368-5298, Fax: 216-368-5586,

Association for Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs
Dr. John J. Docherty (3) Professor & Chairman, Dept. Microbiol.& Immunol.,
Northeastern OH Univ., College of Medicine, 4209 State Route 44, P.O.Box 95,
Rootstown, OH 44272, Tel: 330-325-6133, Fax: 330-325-5914,  

Dr. Catherine L. Squires (1), Prof., and Chair, Dept. Molec. Biol & Microbiol., Tufts
Univ. Sch. Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111-1800, Tel: 617-636-6947,  

Association of Medical & Graduate Departments of Biochemistry
Dr. Diana S. Beattie (3), Vice Chair, NCBBSC, Professor and Chairman, Dept.
Biochemistry, W. VA Univ. .Sch. Medicine, P.O. Box 9142, Morgantown, WV  
26506-9142, Tel: 304-293-7522, Fax: 304-293-6846,

Dr. Robert Roskoski (3), Prof.&Head,,Dept.Biochem. & Mol..Biol, LSU Health Sciences
Center, 1100 Florida Ave, Box 129, New Orleans, LA 70119-2799, Tel: 504-619-8568,
Fax: 504-619-8775,

Dr. William L. Smith (1), Prof.,and Chairperson, Dept. Biochem., Michigan State Univ.,
Room 513, East Lansing, MI, 48824-1020, Tel: 517-353-0804, Fax: 517-353-9334,

Association of Medical School Pharmacology
Dr. Thomas C. Westfall (1), Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and
Physiology, St. Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 S Grand Blvd., St. Louis,
MO 63104-1083, Tel: 314-577-8553, Fax: 314-577-8554,

Dr. Arthur P. Grollman (4), Prof. & Chairman, Dept. Pharmacology, SUNY at Stony
Brook, BST 8, Rm 140, Stony Brook, NY, 11794-8651, Tel: 631-444-3080, Fax :

Association of Pathology Chairs
Dr. Fred Sanfilippo (2), Professor & Director, Department of Pathol., 415 Johns
Hopkins Med. Inst., 600 N. Wolfe St. , Baltimore, MD  21287-6417, Tel:  410-955-9790,
Fax:  410-955-0394,

Dr. George K. Michalopoulos (5), Prof. & Chairman, Dept. Pathol., Univ. Pittsburgh
Sch. Medicine, S410 BST, 200 Lothrop St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261, Tel: 412-648-1040,  
Fax: 412-648-9846,

(1)  President      (2)  President-Elect      (3)  Past President      (4)  CAS Representative
(5)  Public Affairs Representative
and Elliot S. Vesell.  Science Vol. 285, 10 September, 1999.

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