Woolliscroft tells Congress medical research needs reliable funding


Medical School Dean Dr. James O. Woolliscroft told a U.S. House roundtable Tuesday that the lack of reliable federal funding levels for medical research is causing “angst” among his faculty.

At the kickoff for the 21st Century Cures initiative led by Reps. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, Woolliscroft also said the regulatory burden overlaid on faculty and staff has created “unfunded mandates” that are not helping create more medical discoveries.

Medical School Dean Dr. James O. Woolliscroft (left) talks with U.S. Rep. Fred Upton before Tuesday’s roundtable about how Congress can help the medical community.  (Photo by Mike Waring,Washington Office)

“The job of someone like me is to facilitate serendipity,” Woolliscroft said.  “Partnerships with industry and others are difficult to develop because of the regulatory burden.”

Beginning what will be a multi-month effort to find ways to speed up cures to help patients, Upton said the goal is for Congress to listen to the experts.  He said the roundtables and other hearings will focus on “discovery, development and delivery” of more medical cures and treatments.

“We all agree that we can always be doing more to help biomedical innovation,” Upton said. “Today’s roundtable is a unique opportunity to begin this conversation with many involved parties and leading thinkers.”

“We can either work together or we can fall further behind,” said DeGette.  She and Upton are members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which Upton chairs and which has direct jurisdiction over much of the medical technology ecosystem.

Other participants in the roundtable included Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.


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