Category Archive for ‘Advocacy’

Supporting BRAIN: Research for Cures

A promising start In April 2013, President Obama announced the BRAIN Initiative, an effort intended to take brain research to the next level and advance understanding of perhaps the most important and least understood object in biomedical science today—the human brain. The initial announcement was made with great fanfare, though relatively little funding was promised at that point to support the initiative. Since then, however, many government agencies and private foundations and institutions have dedicated funding and resources to this important effort to understand the brain and its disorders better. Hundreds of funded grants have already begun to produce results, for example, improved ways of turning neurons on and off in experimental animals and a design for a brain-scanning helmet, allowing PET scans of people while they are active. The need to push forward So far, the BRAIN Initiative has had strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Each year since its inception, […]

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George Mason Students Start Cure Alliance Campus Chapter

Students at George Mason University (GMU) have rallied to Cure Alliance’s mission of education and advocacy and recently launched the inaugural campus chapter of Cure Alliance, Cure Mental Illness (CMI) GMU. Mason has responded enthusiastically. Within a few short weeks of establishing the group, over a hundred undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines including Neuroscience, Psychology, Nursing, Social Work, and Global & Community Health contacted CMI to ask how they could contribute. Our members are energetic, bright, motivated, and bring diverse experiences to the table. Many are currently engaged in research projects, have worked as clinicians in mental health care, or are active participants of community groups that support mental health. Many have been personally affected by mental illness and see the organization as a means to positively impact their lives and alleviate the suffering of loved ones. Opportunities for CMI members abound. At Mason, students can directly participate in […]

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Suicide Research: Let’s Fund The Agenda To Reduce Suicide

What can suicide research tell us? Ultimately, we want research to tell us how to reduce suicide and suicide attempts. A lot of approaches exist for preventing suicide—some we’ve tried and some are just proposals or ideas. But which ones work best? Better guardrails on bridges? Better training for emergency room personnel? What other places in the healthcare system are the best intervention sites? What about the purported wonder drug ketamine, which still carries a lot of question marks? There actually exists a strategic plan for answering these and other questions. A national strategy and a research agenda The U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (a public-private organization) developed a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, including goals and objectives that dictate actions. The first national strategy document was created in 2001 and the second (most recent) one came out in 2012. One of the goals of […]

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Reflections on Mental Health Month

May was Mental Health Month here in the U.S. Some call it Mental Health Awareness Month, but we like Mental Health Month, because we want the focus to be squarely on mental health and mental illness, not just awareness. Awareness about mental health is important, of course, and so is decreasing the stigma of mental illnesses. But ultimately, both of those goals fall short of relieving the symptoms of the millions of people that live with mental illnesses without effective treatment, or with effective treatments that carry bad side-effects. Over the past month, Cure Alliance for Mental Illness ran a social media campaign sharing images with words that expressed our desire for cures for mental illnesses—we called it Hope4Cures and it started some important discussions. About the word “cure,” one person wrote to us on Facebook, “I just don’t like that terminology in regards to mental illness and mental health. […]

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Be the Hope for Cures!

Green is the color of spring and of mental health—and May is Mental Health Month. It’s the time of year when we join with other voices to make some noise about the last frontier in health. Cure Alliance is marking Mental Health Month by kicking off our campaign “Hope for Cures.” The part you can play is to be a spokesperson for hope—see below for how you can help. Why do we hope for cures? Cure Alliance for Mental illness was founded on the conviction that our society should put more resources into finding cures for mental illnesses. Today’s treatments for these brain disorders are not adequate, since they don’t work for many people, and even when they do work, they carry undesirable side-effects. This means that too many people living with mental illness have to settle for partial recovery. We should not accept this current reality as forever given […]

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21st Century Cures

Improving the cycle from discovery to treatment A bipartisan group of House representatives, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), has released draft language for a sweeping health-related bill, the 21st Century Cures Act,  designed to speed up the process from research discoveries to real treatments and cures for people who need them. You can read the almost 400-page draft online, or the 6-page summary and discussion, which is a lot easier to get through! The proposed document is the result of months of discussion between legislators and constituents—including patients, physicians, researchers, hospitals, insurance companies, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and others. Another round of feedback is in process. The current draft includes 5 sections, entitled: Putting patients first by incorporating their perspectives into the regulatory process and addressing unmet medical needs Building the foundation for 21st century medicine, including helping young scientists […]

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Letter of Support for Accelerating Biomedical Research

Cure Alliance has written a letter of support for Senator Tom Harkin’s Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, which seeks to restore investment in research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which have seen their funding decrease steadily in real dollars in the past decade.   Also access the letter by clicking below: Letter supporting Senator Harkin’s Accelerating Biomedical Research Act

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