Late last night, House and Senate appropriations leaders announced their intention for the 2016 federal government funding bill to include the largest increase in history for Alzheimer’s research funding, bringing the total of Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to nearly $1 billion per year. We are deeply grateful to our congressional champions for moving to increase Alzheimer’s research funding by $350 million per year, the largest such increase in history.
Five years ago, Alzheimer’s research funding at the NIH stood at $448 million per year. At the recommendation of bipartisan House and Senate negotiators, the FY2016 budget will include an unprecedented $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, bringing the total to $936 million. This marks more than a doubling since the Alzheimer’s Association worked with Congress to unanimously pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) five years ago this month.
We will always give credit to our congressional champions who ultimately make these developments happen. Those who championed these developments deserve our deepest thanks, and they will hear that from us loud and clear.
But make no mistake. This doubling simply would not have occurred without the work of the Alzheimer’s Association, our advocates and supporters, and our sister organization, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. And this accomplishment is all the more remarkable because we succeeded in a period of government austerity when others in Washington advised us that such advances would just not be possible.
We have driven the discussion about Alzheimer’s in America to the priority level that the impact and scale of the disease require to change its course. Americans now recognize Alzheimer's as a top priority for increased research funding. Our world leading scientific program has validated the need for much greater funding levels and convinced Congress that if they provide the funds, those funds can be immediately deployed to launch ground breaking research. And, most importantly, that such research can rewrite the future. Many of these are projects that only exist today because the Alzheimer's Association funded new approaches, such as beta amyloid imaging, when others would not. These funds announced tonight will also be used to research more effective care and support delivery for those who have dementia and their caregiver.
Of course, at the core of tonight's particular development is our public policy strategy. We initiated this current push to make Alzheimer’s a priority in Washington, first by creating, and then by advancing NAPA through Congress, thanks to you, our Ambassadors and team members!
We then leveraged the NAPA passage to ensure the creation of a strong National Alzheimer’s Plan and the specification of annual research milestones to reach the plan’s first goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025. Then, as we convinced Congress to begin to pass significant increases in Alzheimer’s research, we successfully advocated last year for enactment of the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act (AAA). Triple A requires the scientists at the National Institutes of Health to develop and release to Congress an annual budget specifying what’s needed in the year ahead to meet the 2025 goal. Like NAPA, AAA was conceived, created and championed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
These laws and the supporting work that accompanied them laid the path for tonight's historic development, and they have set the new path, along with our sustained, dedicated advocacy efforts, for more such advances in the years ahead. We must double funding yet again to reach our 10 year vision, driven by science, of at least $2 billion per year in federal Alzheimer’s research funding.
In the days ahead, the omnibus funding bill must now be approved by the House and Senate and then be signed by the President. Upon his signature, these funds will begin to be released immediately to fund new, groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research.