Upstate News

March 27, 2007
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

College of Medicine dean testifies before U.S. House panel, urging support for hike in NIH funding, and training programs

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Steven J. Scheinman, M.D., senior vice president and dean of the College of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, testified today, March 27, 2007, before the U. S. House of Representatives panel urging lawmakers to support an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and health professional training programs.

“Upstate Medical University joins the Association of American Medical Colleges, as part of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, in urging you to support a 6.7 percent increase in funding for the NIH in each of the next three years,” Scheinman noted in testimony prepared for his appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The hearing was held at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Scheinman stated that since 2003 the NIH budget has risen just 1.6 percent a year and its purchasing power has fallen by 13 percent. “The number of competing research projects that the NIH is able to fund per year has fallen by 10 percent in the last four years,” he said. “The President’s proposed budget would erode this further, effectively removing over a half-billion dollars from the NIH below the level of fiscal year 2007. The opportunity to transform medical treatment in the 21st century from curative to preemptive care will be delayed, and health care costs will continue to rise,” he said.

Scheinman’s testimony also supported the funding of health professional training programs, calling attention to SUNY Upstate’s AHEC (Area Health Education Center) and RMED (rural medicine) educational programs. “These programs have been highly successful in energizing the community and feeding the pipeline of fresh and talented professionals,” he said.

“The president’s proposed elimination of all Title VII health professions education programs, with the exception of $10 million for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, is a huge concern,” said Scheinman. “Those training programs are crucial to the development of a well-prepared, well-distributed, and diverse health care workforce. These programs are effective, they are measurable and they make a real difference in the lives of patients and families.”

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