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AAPM Issues Statement Urging Congress to Oppose NIH Cuts

World's premier professional organization for the field of medical physics urges Congress to stop steep cut to NIH funding


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ALEXANDRIA, V.A., March 31, 2017 -- The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), a professional nonprofit organization supporting medical physicists, has released a statement calling on Congress to reverse President Trump's proposed cuts to FY 2018 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The "extraordinarily" steep cut of 18.3 percent, approximately $5.8 billion, would bring NIH's budget back below 2003-level funding and would threaten the United States' preeminence in the medical research arena, resulting in the loss of life-saving discoveries that otherwise would benefit Americans, according to the statement.

The NIH is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is the nation's medical research agency, making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. The NIH conducts its own scientific research, as well as providing major biomedical research funding to non-NIH research facilities, investing (this year) $32.3 billion in medical research for the American people.

"NIH has been instrumental in moving discoveries from the research lab to patients, with tremendous progress in the last decade," said Melissa Martin, President of AAPM. "Moreover, the agency has created the architecture -- the building blocks, if you will -- for future advances, but this foundation relies on robust, steady and predictable funding."

"Medical physicists are involved with NIH- supported research in molecular imaging, outcomes modeling and dosimetry, and other areas, all with enormous potential for advancing treatment of cancer and other diseases and improving patients' lives," said Bruce Curran, AAPM's Chair of the Board. "We fear the proposed cuts would disrupt this research, as well as other valuable research, and discourage promising scientists from entering research careers. NIH funding has a very dramatic, positive impact on healthcare and patients, and that benefit must be nurtured and sustained."

The AAPM statement has been published on their website and can be found here.

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MORE ABOUT AAPM

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) is the premier organization in medical physics, a broadly-based scientific and professional discipline encompassing physics principles and applications in biology and medicine whose mission is to advance the science, education and professional practice of medical physics. Medical physicists contribute to the effectiveness of radiological imaging procedures by assuring radiation safety and helping to develop improved imaging techniques (e.g., mammography, CT, MR, ultrasound). They contribute to development of therapeutic techniques (e.g., prostate implants, stereotactic radiosurgery), collaborate with radiation oncologists to design treatment plans, and monitor equipment and procedures to insure that cancer patients receive the prescribed dose of radiation to the correct location. Medical physicists are responsible for ensuring that imaging and treatment facilities meet the rules and regulations of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and various state regulatory agencies. AAPM represents over 8,500 medical physicists. www.aapm.org