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ADA Diabetes Advocacy update
January 23, 1999

ADA has learned that for the second consecutive year, diabetes research will be getting a bigger budget boost than the overall NIH budget.

For the last two years/budget cycles, ADA and diabetes advocates have waged a "no-holds-barred" campaign for a cure. We've sent thousands of emails, letters and phone calls, delivered 1/4 million signatures to President Clinton and worked with advocates to generate support in key congressional districts.

This aggressive approach is starting to produce results.

We have learned from NIH sources that the agency plans to spend $443 million on diabetes research in 1999. This represents a $70 million, or 20.1%, increase over the amount appropriated last year. Overall, the NIH appropriation grew by "just" 14.9%.

This "better than average" growth for diabetes stands in marked contrast to 1987-97. That's when the NIH budget grew three times faster than the diabetes budget (see attached table). That's when inflation grew faster than the diabetes research budget. That's when money flowed to "high-profile" diseases with louder, better organized constituencies.

But thanks to aggressive diabetes advocates, that's slowly starting to change. Over the last two years, the diabetes research budget has grown 30.2% compared to 23.4% for NIH overall. In fact, the diabetes budget has grown almost as much in the last two years (30.2%) as it did from 1987-97 (35.1%)!

Had the trends of 1987-97 continued, with diabetes growing 1/3rd as slow as NIH, the diabetes budget would have increased just 7.8% in 1998-99 instead of 30.2%. That's means $70 million more a year is going to diabetes research because of your advocacy. That's results.

For years the diabetes community was a "collaborator" in the system. To ADA Chair of the Board Jane Camporeale, that seemed to mean "accept what you're given and be happy." As a result, there was no incentive for Congress and NIH to make diabetes a top priority, and it shows.

But we're not "collaborators" anymore. Now that diabetes advocates are starting to make some noise and asking tough questions of their elected leaders, money is starting to flow our way for a change. And we're going to keep up the pressure.

Camporeale says that this coming year "we will continue to press our case both on Capitol Hill and in members' districts by reminding House members of their campaign commitments." During the 1998 elections, 265 members of the 106th Congress returned a survey in support of a $1 billion budget for diabetes research.

This is especially important since the Diabetes Research Working Group is set to release its final report in late February. ADA has learned that the report will reportedly include hundreds of scientific projects that are in dire need of funding. It will also reportedly recommend that Congress and NIH provide $800 million for diabetes research in year 2000 and $1.5 billion a year by 2003.

If we're going to reach these lofty goals, we'll have to keep on the pressure. We must continue to be noisy and demand that our leaders pay attention to diabetes and make the significant increases in funding needed to find a cure. It's worked so far, it will work in the future.

We'll be in touch over the next few days and weeks to tell you how you can help raise more noise for a cure. Many thanks for your continued support of diabetes advocacy and the American Diabetes Association. Keep up the great work.

Diabetes research and NIH budgets
Annual growth rates

 Diabetes Research
Growth rate
NIH Overall
Growth Rate
Source: ADA

Joe LaMountain
National Director of Advocacy
American Diabetes Association
1660 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
(f) 703-549-8748

Posted 23 January 1999

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