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Proposed NIH funding cuts would 'ripple through our community'

Mar 17, 2017

Credit www.thinkprogress.org

The National Institutes of Health could face some major changes if the proposed budget from the Trump administration released earlier this week progresses. The budget calls for a $5.8 billion cut to NIH funding, 20 percent less than what it currently receives.

Major changes in the amount of money the NIH receive could mean changes for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center, but receives 70 percent of its funding from the National Institutes of Health.

“A cut of this magnitude, if it indeed turns out to be enacted, is a very serious thing—both for ongoing research and for training of the next generation of scientists," says Dr. Martin Zand, co-director of Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Rochester is one of 64 hubs like it in the country.

“[We] train researchers to take basic science discoveries and turn them into clinical therapies—to bridge that gap,” Zand says. “Our goal is to improve the health of our community and people seeking medical care at large.”

In 2016, the NIH divvied up $500 million of its $33.1 billion budget to these hubs, referred to as Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards. 

Major cuts in funding could mean downsizing research programs, putting studies on hold, and people losing jobs, Zand says.

“Those job losses, if people are indeed laid off because of funding cuts, will ripple through our community. That will be an unfortunate thing for Rochester,” says Zand.

The budget blueprint said the funding cuts “includes a major reorganization of NIH’s Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.”

“We hope that the cuts will not be as proposed, but that remains to be seen,” Zand says.