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DRRC Commends HELP Committee on Approval of Research Bill

11-Feb-2016 The Brain Injury Association of America, which is on the steering committee of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC) joined other DRRC members in commending the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) for its approval a modified version of S. 800, the “Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at the NIH Act” to improve, coordinate, and enhance medical rehabilitation research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), the bill is enthusiastically supported by the DRRC membership because it is time to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at the world’s premier medical research agency.

We applaud the efforts by Senators Kirk and Bennet to include in the bill many of the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research established by NIH in December 2012. We are particularly supportive of the provisions in the bill designed to enhance strategic coordination within the Director’s office at NIH and with other agencies to update and streamline rehabilitation research priorities. We also support the provisions in the bill which specify that the Research Plan must be updated every five years following a scientific conference or workshop; provide for progress reports; and include a definition of medical rehabilitation research that reflects the importance of an individual’s ability to improve their functional status after illness or injury.

We urge the full Senate to pass S. 800 and send the bill to the House of Representatives to enact H.R. 1631 as revised by the Senate bill. Enactment of this legislation will send a powerful message that our Nation can and must improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and chronic conditions by enhancing medical rehabilitation research at NIH and, by so doing, improve the provision of rehabilitation services and devices.

The DRRC is a coalition of nearly 40 national nonprofit organizations committed to improving the science of rehabilitation and disability. The DRRC seeks to maximize the return on the federal investment in rehabilitation and disability research with the goal of optimizing the health and function and quality of life of persons with injuries, illnesses, disabilities, and chronic conditions. 

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