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Government News
APA Calls for Budget Increase For Mental Health Institutes
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 9 page 1-13

With the war on Iraq hanging over the nation last month, members of APA’s Academic Consortium urged their legislators on Capitol Hill to avoid making biomedical research a war-time funding casualty.

President Bush proposed only a 2 percent increase in the Fiscal 2004 budget for the National Institutes of Health, which is a sharp contrast to his Fiscal 2003 proposed budget increase of 16 percent, which Congress approved. APA and the Ad Hoc Group on Medical Research Funding played a role in nearly doubling the NIH budget between 1998 and last year and are advocating for a 10 percent increase in Fiscal 2004 to sustain that effort.

Bush proposed a budget increase of between 3 percent and 4 percent for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), according to an APA Fiscal 2004 appropriations summary. Last fiscal year, Bush proposed between an 8 percent and 9 percent increase for each institute.

The NIMH is the primary source of research grants for psychiatrists who conduct mental health research at their local institutions, said APA President Paul Appelbaum, M.D., in an interview with Psychiatric News.

The NIMH last year reported a $1.3 billion research budget that provides support to investigators at universities in the areas of basic science, clinical research, including large-scale trials of new treatments, and studies of the organization and delivery of mental health services, according to a press release from NIMH.

Speakers at APA’s consortium—including co-chairs Lewis Judd, M.D., David Kupfer, M.D., and Appelbaum—complained that the president’s proposed Fiscal 2004 increases for NIMH, NIDA, and NIAAA barely kept up with inflation and would jeopardize funding of current and new research grants.

This year’s consortium was attended by slightly more than 40 people including representatives of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and American Association of Chairmen of Departments of Psychiatry (AACDP). This was the first time the ACNP and the AACDP were officially represented at the consortium.

Appelbaum told Psychiatric News at the consortium that he was concerned the president’s proposed budget for NIMH would further deter new clinical researchers from entering academia. "If the federal funding pipeline dries up, clinicians will view academic research careers as too risky financially to undertake especially when they have outstanding medical school debts and other financial obligations," he said.

Judd and Kupfer exhorted consortium members to emphasize to their legislators on Capitol Hill the tremendous contribution NIH funding has made in translating research advances into psychiatric treatment. Kupfer reminded them to mention their own research projects and to contact their legislators throughout the year. ▪

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Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Gary Miller (R-Calif.) pose with psychiatrist Lewis Judd, M.D. (left), co-chair of APA’s Academic Consortium.

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Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) talks with Renee Binder, M.D. (left), chair of APA’s Committee on Judicial Action, and APA Government Relations staffer Patricia Moody (center).

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Legislators mingle with consortium participants at the Capitol Hill reception. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) is seen with APA member Timothy Mueller, M.D., and Dorothy Sayer of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

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Rep. Timothy Murphy (R-Pa.) talks with consortium co-chair David Kupfer, M.D. (right).

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Judd presents Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) with a plaque honoring her strong support of federal investment in biomedical and behavioral research.

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Judd presents Kennedy with a plaque honoring his leadership on mental health issues and his support of the campaign to double the budget of the National Institutes of Health over five years.

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Judd recognizes Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) for championing the causes of veterans with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

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Reps. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) and Gary Miller (R-Calif.) pose with psychiatrist Lewis Judd, M.D. (left), co-chair of APA’s Academic Consortium.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) talks with Renee Binder, M.D. (left), chair of APA’s Committee on Judicial Action, and APA Government Relations staffer Patricia Moody (center).

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Legislators mingle with consortium participants at the Capitol Hill reception. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) is seen with APA member Timothy Mueller, M.D., and Dorothy Sayer of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Rep. Timothy Murphy (R-Pa.) talks with consortium co-chair David Kupfer, M.D. (right).

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Judd presents Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) with a plaque honoring her strong support of federal investment in biomedical and behavioral research.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Judd presents Kennedy with a plaque honoring his leadership on mental health issues and his support of the campaign to double the budget of the National Institutes of Health over five years.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Judd recognizes Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) for championing the causes of veterans with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

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