The Government and Public Affairs Committee guides and evaluates SfN advocacy activities and strategies that promote neuroscience research. Initiatives include educating policymakers about advances in research, their implications for public policy, their societal benefit, and continued scientific progress.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Recommend strategies to achieve increased funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
- Build and deploy a grassroots network to engage SfN members in advocacy at both state and federal levels. Alert members to contact Congress on key legislative issues.
- Develop SfN policy positions on stem cell research, evolution, and mental health parity, among other issues.
- Visit members of Congress to advocate for biomedical research funding and other priority legislative issues.
- Collaborate with other international societies and partners in Mexico and Canada to support advocacy initiatives.
- Participate in a variety of health and science advocacy coalitions.
- Collaborate with patients, professional groups, political leaders, corporate partners, and other interested parties to advocate for the value of robust science funding.
- Provide training at the local level about advocating for science funding.
The Government and Public Affairs Committee is part of the Public Outreach Committee Cluster, which also includes the Committee on Animals in Research and the Public Education and Communication Committee.
The Government and Public Affairs Committee engages in and evaluates SfN Advocacy activities and strategies to promote global neuroscience research. Activities include engaging and encouraging SfN membership to advocate their policymakers about scientific knowledge and recent developments in neuroscience research and their implications for public policy, societal benefit, and continued scientific progress.
- Track U.S. federal legislation affecting neuroscience including biomedical research appropriations.
- Coordinate with international partners to monitor the funding and regulatory environment regarding neuroscience across the globe.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the various coalitions in which the Society participates.
- Serve as a source of information to Council on legislative or policy changes that could affect the conduct of neuroscience research.
- Propose actions to Council that broaden and strengthen the coalitions supporting biomedical research throughout the advocacy community.
- Recommend strategic partnerships with a broad array of organizations and individuals that support biomedical research.
- Recommend to Council advocacy collaborations with international partner organizations, such as counterparts in Canada, Mexico, and umbrella organizations like FENS and IBRO.
- Recommend strategies to support increased federal funding for NIH, NSF, and other U.S. federally-funded research agencies.
- Provide committee representation to the board of the Coalition for Life Sciences (CLS), maximizing SfN's input in policy discussions and CLS's overarching plans to increase biomedical research funding.
- Include a member of the Board of Directors from the American Brain Coalition Board on the committee when a seat is available.
- Organize the Public Advocacy Forum each year at the annual meeting.
- Work for robust and predictable increases to appropriations for federal agencies supporting neuroscience research.
- Organize advocacy training for neuroscientists at the local level on how to effectively educate the public and advocate to policymakers on behalf of neuroscience.
- Notify U.S. members when they should contact their Congressional representatives on key issues, including participation in SfN's annual Hill Day.
- Recruit strategic partners among industry leaders and additional members of the science and voluntary health communities, to put research to work for better health and quality of life.
- Continue a leadership role in a broad array of organizations to bring together patient and professional groups in support of a shared agenda of expanding research.
- Form strategic relationships with key political leaders who could and will help advance the cause of biomedical research.
Generate Policy Recommendations
- Generate and recommend public position statements and legislative alerts on behalf of SfN about legislative or policy changes that affect the conduct of neuroscience for Council review.
Coordinate and Communicate
- Ensure that relevant policy related information is communicated to the SfN membership.
- Coordinate activities with the other committees in the Public Outreach Cluster, which also includes the Public Education and Communication Committee and the Committee on Animals in Research. The chair will serve as the committee's representative on the cluster steering committee.
The committee is composed of standard committee members who serve a three-year term, including representatives from Canada and Mexico and liaison members from the Membership & Chapters Committee, the Committee on Animals in Research, the Neuroscience Training Committee, and two SfN-appointed representatives to the board of the Coalition for Life Sciences (CLS), and the representative(s) to the board of the American Brain Coalition (ABC). The incoming chair serves as an ex officio member of the committee. Committee members and the chair are recommended by the Committee on Committees and approved by Council.
The committee has two yearly meetings. The first occurs in the spring in Washington, DC, and is conducted in conjunction with visits to Capitol Hill. The second occurs during the annual meeting, during which planning for the next Public Advocacy Forum is done. Additional correspondence is conducted by e-mail and conference call, as needed, throughout the calendar year to address issues that arise between meetings of the full committee.
Government and Public Affairs Committee
McMahon, Lori L
Medical University of South Carolina
Carmichael, S Thomas
UCLA Sch Med
Visscher, Kristina M.
University of Alabama, Birmigham
Anderson, Kristin Rae
National University of Ireland
Voglmaier, Susan M
Univ California San Francisco
Godale, Christin Margaret
University of Cincinnati
Pierce, Marsha L
Bamji, Shernaz X
University of British Columbia
Glimcher, Paul W
New York University
De-Miguel, Francisco Fernandez
Universidad Nacional Autonoma Mexico, UNAM
Greene, Robert W
UTSW, Peter O'Donnell Brain Institute
Sherman, S Murray
Cline, Hollis T
The Scripps Research Institute
McMahon, Lori L
Medical University of South Carolina