The article states this is the 6th year in a row that funding has declined for the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The grants and funds available at the NIH are more difficult to secure as well. The NIH has set up it’s own Foundation as well, looking for donations. Last week I posted about 5 new members being added to the board, including Peter Neupert from Microsoft who has been in the news much of late promoting the Microsoft HealthVault, the free Web 2.0 program for storing personal health records.
Vanderbilt also has done some great work as well with technology with their recent project with Microsoft Server 2008 using technology to alert clinicians immediately to the onset of Sepsis. More can be read here. If you are not familiar with Sepsis and how it kills, take a look at this recent article about a woman who survived, but lost both her hands and feet.
Hopefully future budgets for needed science and research will get better and more plentiful, as this is what healthcare for the future is riding on. This also drives home the importance of private foundations and institutions like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and organizations like “Stand Up to Cancer”, that are working diligently to help fill in some of the gaps in both research and charity contributions. BD
Researchers at academic medical centers are facing a tenuous future as years of flat federal funding and now a plummeting economy begin to take a toll on research. Doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College have to rely more on private financial support for scientific research because federal funding has remained flat in recent years. Researchers were hopeful President-elect Barack Obama would restore some of what was lost on the federal level, but the flagging economy has raised doubts about that possibility.
During the past five years, funding from the National Institutes of Health — a primary source of grants for scientists across the country — has hovered around $29 billion, and because the budget has not kept pace with inflation, purchasing power has declined about 13 percent.
Vanderbilt has funneled about $25 million of its own money into early stage research funding annually, which usually leads to about $400 million a year from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. But while Vanderbilt's contribution has not yet wavered, doctors there say they need to be prepared to add more in the future. But that's difficult in tight economic times, when donations are fewer and smaller, and even private foundations, such as the Gates Foundation, whose money is tied to the stock market, are seeing dismal returns.
"I'm concerned not just about Vanderbilt but about the whole country losing its bench of young biomedical researchers," he said.
"Every university is facing this crisis — it's difficult for young people to launch a research career," Townsel added.
Peter Neupert, Corporate Vice President, Health Solutions Group, Microsoft and 4 Others Join the Foundation for NIH