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The Impact of economic stimulus money on medical research at UCSF

09/21/10     San Francisco, CA

Event hosted by AHCJ's SF Bay Area Chapter

Is federal stimulus spending creating the millions of new jobs promised by President Obama? Are mechanisms against fraud and to promote transparency in place? The debate over the massive Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is becoming louder and brasher 18 months after its passage and two months before the mid-term Congressional elections.

According to the official government website (www.recovery.gov), $202 billion for 12,000 contracts, grants, and awards were issued as of June 30. Of the total, $10 billion was directed to the National Institutes of Health. It is spending the funds on thousands of medical research projects and scientific infrastructure awarded to individual scientists, one grant at a time.

The initiative has brought full-employment to scientists at the University of California, San Francisco. As of July 31, its researchers were awarded 280 ARRA-funded grants valued at $66.2 million. It laboratories are humming with researchers who are creating the next generation of genetically inspired drugs and personalized therapies.

The situation offers excellent health care reporting opportunities that combine economics, politics, and medical science. If you have never covered UCSF, this is your opportunity to learn how.

UCSF will showcase three ARRA-funded projects that exemplify the range of groundbreaking research under way on its campuses. Principal investigators for three multi-million dollar projects will describe how their discoveries may save lives and stoke the economy.

Our speakers

  • Kristen Bole, biotech news manager, UCSF Public Affairs, will provide an overview of ARRA funding at UCSF and introduce you to the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT), a web-based method for identifying groundbreaking projects at UCSF and other medical research institutions.

  • Neil Risch, PhD, director of the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics, received a $25 million grant in partnership with Kaiser Permanente to fund the research and creation of the largest genetic health care database ever undertaken. Through this project, UCSF will conduct a genome-wide analysis of DNA samples from 100,000 Kaiser Permanente member volunteers, representing decades of historical clinical, medication and health-related information on the largest and most diverse genetic population ever studied. The project will support 22 staff and research positions at Kaiser and UCSF in the first year alone, as well as providing key funding to nine current faculty and physician researchers in the two institutions.

  • S. Claiborne Johnston, MD, PhD, physician and director of the UCSF Stroke Service, received a $12.4 million cooperative agreement to evaluate an acute intervention in patients with transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which occur about 250,000 to 350,000 times each year in the US. Johnston will lead a multicenter clinical trial to find effective therapies to reduce the overall burden of stroke on patients with TIA. These funds also will create four full-time research positions at UCSF, six others at partnering institutions, and positions for 25 full-time coordinators throughout the trial sites.

  • Geoffrey Manley, MD, PhD, a neurotrauma surgeon at San Francisco General Hospital and co-director of the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center, received a $4.1 million Grand Opportunity award to fund a potential framework for all future Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) research, TBI is one of the greatest unmet needs in public health and is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Manley will lead an effort to test and refine standards for data collection in TBI studies, suitable for use across the broad spectrum of TBI, and use emerging technology to explore novel approaches for TBI classification and outcomes. These funds also are creating 14 full-time positions and eight part-time jobs.

A question and answer session will follow the presentations.

Tuesday, Sept. 21
6-8 p.m. (panel will begin at 6:30)

UCSF Mission Bay Campus
Byers Hall Room 212
1700 Fourth Street (corner of 16th)
San Francisco

Enter via Genentech Hall (adjacent building) from the quad and check in at the security desk. Street parking is available; paid parking is in the lot/garage across the street. [Map | Directions]

Light refreshments will be served. This event is FREE; all AHCJ members, local health journalists, journalism students are welcome.
Please RSVP to
Bay.Area.AHCJ@gmail.com.