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Date: May 1st, 2009

2009 Task Force on Aging Research Funding Urges Congress and the President to Restore a National Commitment to Medical Research

Calls for at least a 7% increase in NIH funding for FY 2010

Washington, D.C. - More than 65 disease groups, not-for-profit patient advocacy organizations, and foundations urge Congress and President Obama to restore a national commitment to medical research on behalf of America’s aging population. In a report released today, the 2009 Task Force on Aging Research Funding calls for at least a 7% increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year (FY) 2010 to halt the erosion of the nation’s research base and facilitate medical discoveries to fight diseases and disabilities that disproportionately affect older Americans.

Over the last five years, federal funding for NIH has been stagnant and spending on medical research has declined by as much as 17%. The economic stimulus enacted by President Obama earlier this year gives NIH a substantial two-year infusion of resources, but it is only a temporary measure. Investments in medical research are especially crucial as the baby boom generation ages. If this population ages with the same risks of chronic health problems as today’s elderly, the healthcare burden in the U.S. will cripple an already fragile healthcare system.

“We need to keep our aging population healthier, more vital, and independent longer,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of the not-for-profit Alliance for Aging Research, which spearheaded the Task Force. “A financially healthy NIH is critical to a healthy economy, and to the health of its people,” Perry added.

Almost 70 national organizations contributed to and endorsed the report, which is being disseminated to Members of Congress and other policy makers. Since 1988, the Task Force Report has served as a tool to assist policy makers in establishing the funding levels necessary to advance biomedical research and improve the health of the aging populations. To access a copy of this report or to learn more about the Task Force, visit www.agingresearch.org.

The 2009 Task Force Report on Aging Research Funding was made possible by an unrestricted grant from Retirement Research Foundation.

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Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Aging Research is a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the health and independence of aging Americans through public and private funding of medical research and geriatric education. The Alliance combines the interest of top scientists, public officials, business executives, and foundation leaders to promote a greater national investment in research and new technologies that will prepare our nation for the coming senior boom, and improve the quality of life for today’s older generation.