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ADA asks Congress to reconsider $5.8 billion in NIH cuts

March 24, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The Association is asking Congress to reconsider the Trump Administration's proposal to cut $5.8 billion of funding from the National Institutes of Health's fiscal year 2018 budget — a 20 percent reduction from the 2016 enacted budget.

In a letter to House Committee on Budget Chair Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member John Yamuth, D-Ky., the ADA urged the committee to reject the proposed $5.8 billion in cuts.

"These proposed cuts could significantly undermine oral health research and access. We are counting on your leadership to stop these proposed cuts from moving forward in Congress," wrote ADA President Dr. Gary L. Roberts and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin.

The ADA is also worried about the White House's proposal to push for NIH reorganization, which could "adversely affect" the independence of individual institutes.

"As an independent agency within NIH, the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research is the largest institution in the world dedicated exclusively to research to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health," Drs. Roberts and O'Loughlin wrote. "The health of the mouth and surrounding craniofacial (skull and face) structures is central to a person's overall health and well-being. Left untreated, oral diseases and poor oral health conditions make it difficult to eat, drink, swallow, smile, communicate and maintain proper nutrition. Scientists also have discovered important linkages between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes and pancreatic cancer."

In the last 50 years, investments in NIDCR-funded research have led to improvements in oral health for millions of Americans. These research areas include community water fluoridation saving the American public at least $38 for every $1 invested, dental sealants reducing childhood cavities and emerging opportunities to assess the efficacy of a human papilloma virus vaccine for oral and pharyngeal cancers.

"Dentists, researchers, students and the American public rely on the research funded by NIDCR, which has led to the creation of more effective and efficient ways to improve oral health and lessen the economic burden that oral health conditions place on Americans," Drs. Roberts and O'Loughlin concluded.

Follow all of the ADA's advocacy efforts at ADA.org/Advocacy.