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    What's Next in Health Research?

    Top leaders talked about key issues in health and medical research at Research America’s 2015 National Forum Sept. 10th at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Featured speakers included Dr. Stephen Ostroff, acting commissioner of the FDA; Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases; and Barbara Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association. Watch video highlights and read more about the event below.

    Hello everyone, and welcome. I’m Valarie Basheda, WebMD’s Director of News and Special Projects. Today we’ll be watching the National Health Research Forum, a once-a-year gathering of top leaders talking about innovations in health and medicine research. We’ll be livestreaming the event taking place at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

    The event will get started shortly before noon.

    Writer Bara Vaida is at the Newseum for WebMD and will be sending updates during the event.

    The event features three expert panels, each followed with a Q&A from the audience. The first one will get underway around noon, and will include Gary Gibbons, MD, Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He’ll be talking about where science is taking us in modern medicine.

    Here are Bara Vaida’s updates from the first panel:

    • NIH is developing incredibly rich data sets of patient information by using mobile technology to collect blood pressure, heart rate and sleep rates, says Gary Gibbs, director of NIH’s Heart Lung and Blood Institute. By making this data available widely the NIH can help accelerate new therapeutic discoveries.
    • Researchers need to frame the importance of a discovery in a way that enables policy makers to understand the significance of NIH funds, says Sudip Parikh, Batelle vice president and general manager of health & analytics. Parikh says he previously worked for Sen Arlen Specter, R-PA, and would explain the meaning of NIH funded discoveries so that the senator was comfortable voting for more NIH funding.
    • The costs of technologies being used in research such as Big Data and genome mapping will get cheaper, making it more likely that researchers will be able to test more possible outcomes, increasing the chances of there being a 1 in 3 success rate instead of 1 in 30, says Ron Mobed, CEO of Elsevier. “Researchers tell me there is just so much more information available and that could change success dynamics,” says Mobed.
    • Elsevier wants to do what it can to get medical and science journals available digitally so that researchers have “everything they need to know” to reproduce study results, says Mobed.
      The NIH makes reproducibility a key part of the grant making process to ensure the integrity of the research that it is funding, says Gibbons.
    • A way to get the public more comfortable with their medical information being used by researchers is to enable consumers to own that information first and let them decide how and where they want it to be used, says Gibbons.
      In the UK, surveys show people are willing to share their data if they feel they own it. So companies are working on mobile techniques to enable people to do so, says Mobed.

    The second panel will focus on public health. It will include: Richard Kronick, Ph.D., director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph., executive vice president & CEO, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; Barbara Newhouse, president & CEO, The ALS Association; Anne Schuchat, M.D., director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC, Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., FACP, managing director, Tuckson Health Connections.

    Here are Bara Vaida’s updates from the second panel:

    • Biggest public health threats today:
      • The inability to prevent and control chronic diseases, Lucinda Maine of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
      • The interconnectedness of diseases, says Anne Schuchat of the CDC.
      • The need for more research explaining how social context impacts genes resulting in chronic diseases, says Reed Tuckson of Tuckson Health Connections.
      • The need to increase the safety of healthcare delivery in hospitals and other healthcare settings, says Richard Kronick of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
    • Healthcare communities, with inpatient and outpatient services like nursing homes and ambulatory facilities, need to do more to work together to reduce overuse of antibiotics, says Schuchat.
    •  AHRQ is spending million in 2015 to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs and is making progress but the spread remains a “challenge” says Kronick.
    •  Regarding shifting public opinion on vaccinations, 2015 was an “extraordinary” year in that parents with children who couldn’t get vaccines, like those with leukemia or were under 1 year, spoke out about them as “innocent bystanders” and polls are showing that opinion is shifting, says Schuchat.
    • No chapter of ALS association takes credit for ice bucket challenge, it was the work of 3 young men who took what they knew about sports strategy and turned it into a public platform for educating the public about ALS, says ALS Assn CEO Barbara Newhouse.
    • Americans are living longer, but they are living longer, sicker and policy makers and the media aren’t talking about it and they need to, says Tuckson.

    The last panel will focus on regulatory science. Panelists include:

    • Marc Boutin, J.D., chief executive officer, National Health Council
    • William Hait, M.D., Ph.D., global head, Janssen Research & Development
    • Stephen M. Ostroff, M.D., acting commissioner, Food and Drug Administration
    • Amy Comstock Rick, J.D., president & CEO, Food and Drug Law Institute
    • Larry Shapiro, Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, Washington University in St. Louis

    Here are Bara Vaida’s updates from the third panel:

    • FDA’s critical priority is to keep up with the pace of technological change, says Stephen Ostroff acting FDA commissioner.
    • He says the rate of drug approval has increased because there is so much more pre discussion between regulators and companies before application is filed with the agency.
    • FDA is continuing to work on finding the right quantitative model to balance risk versus benefit in permitting high-risk treatments to patients, Ostroff says.
    • FDA is comfortable with 21st century cures bill that is pending in Congress and that they’ll continue to be able to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new medical devices but remains concerned it won’t have all the funds that it needs to fulfill all the things that will be required of the agency under the legislation, Ostroff says. He says the agency will keep pushing congress for more funding.
    • The FDA is hiring. It needs more people with experience in analytics, informatics and analyst it’s that can integrate data from different scientific disciplines, says Ostroff.

    Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate you being with us and hope you found today’s event informative.

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