Representatives from over 30 cancer advocacy organizations participated in the OVAC planning discussion this past Friday, Dec. 15th. It was also a pleasure to hear from NCI Director Dr. Ned Sharpless early in his tenure as newly appointed Director of the NCI (National Cancer Institute) at the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Dr. Sharpless is passionate about cancer research and OVAC members had a unique opportunity to hear of his priorities moving forward in 2018 and beyond. KCAN will continue to look for ways in which we as a coalition can work with Dr. Sharpless and his staff to highlight the important work being done at NCI.
Although Congress’ work on the FY 2018 appropriations are not yet complete, OVAC members made good progress discussing our FY 2019 appropriations requests. However, we did make some key initial decisions should Congress complete a budget deal and pass an omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2018. Moreover, based on our discussion we are making an addition to our advocacy agenda:
- Although we do not have the final numbers for NIH and NCI, there was consensus that OVAC will pursue a $2 billion increase for NIH plus CURES funding ($215M) for FY2019. OVAC will pursue a proportional increase for NCI based upon final FY 2018 numbers when they become available.
- For the CDC DCPC programs in FY 2019, OVAC will continue to request the same levels as in FY 2018. Funding levels for the HRSA Title VIII Nursing Programs as well as FDA are still to be determined.
- There was consensus that OVAC express support for the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) for $15 million within our appropriations narrative.
- Our Labor-HHS (Health and Human Services) requests will continue to be a priority for the coalition and the focus of our advocacy days, however, we will continue to find advocacy opportunities for our non-Labor-HHS requests including the CDMRP and FDA OCE.