Members of ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) took to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 29, to speak with members of Congress and their staff about issues critical to the cancer care community. During the Hill Day, members of the LDP urged lawmakers to:
- Cosponsor the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act, H.R. 820/S. 292, which would improve efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences, improve the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors, and expand pediatric biorepositories for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The U.S. House of Representatives passed the STAR Act in late 2016, but the Senate did not take action on the bill before the end of the legislative session.
- Support inclusion of the RACE for Children Act, H.R. 1231/S. 456 in the upcoming Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee reauthorization. Development of new drugs for children with cancer has not kept up with the pace of innovation for adult cancer drugs, as children are often excluded from clinical trials. The legislation would make updates to better align with current science and expand treatment options for children with cancer.
- Support strong, sustained investment in the NIH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to ensure progress against cancer. ASCO is urging Congress to pass an omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 that includes a $2 billion increase for the NIH as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June 2016. ASCO is also requesting $36 billion in FY 2018 for the NIH and a supplemental $300 million for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
The Hill Day was part of a three-day session in Alexandria, Virginia, where LDP members received advocacy training, learned more about ASCO’s departments, and participated in other leadership training sessions. The year-long LDP is intended to provide a small group of mid-career oncologists with leadership skills, increased exposure to the roles and mission of ASCO, and a path to move into leadership positions within the society. Applications for the 2018-2019 cycle will open July 1, 2017.
Follow ASCO in Action for updates on ASCO’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.