(Washington, March 10, 2010) – Enhance National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported research to improve health, spur economic growth and innovation and science. American Heart Association patient advocates and researchers today delivered that message to members of Congress during the association’s Research Saves Lives Fly-In Lobby Day.

Many heart disease and stroke survivors have benefited from advances as a result of NIH-supported research. However, despite progress and promising research opportunities, there is still no cure for heart disease or stroke. About 70 patients and researchers from across the country met with their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to urge them to appropriate $35 billion for the NIH for FY 2011 to capitalize on the momentum achieved under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Act provided a $10 billion investment to the agency over two years.

“NIH-supported research has led to significant breakthroughs in the treatment and prevention of heart disease and stroke,” said Clyde Yancy, M.D., President of the American Heart Association. “Needed funding increases for the NIH will help us advance to the next wave of scientific discoveries, advance health and support the economy.”

Currently, NIH invests only four percent of its budget on heart research and a mere one percent on stroke research. The President’s FY 2011 budget request for NIH cardiovascular research is ten percent below the FY 2010 level, including the Recovery Act funding, and 12 percent below the FY 2009 level.

NIH-supported research also fosters economic growth and innovation at the state and local levels and worldwide. Each NIH grant generates on average seven jobs. “Medical research has a profound impact on local communities, contributing to job growth and economic development,” Yancy added.

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Contact: Suzanne Ffolkes

                Director of Media Advocacy