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Become advocates for health research, UB medical school commencement speaker will tell new grads

Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, says that with sequestration as a reality, new med school grads face unprecedented challenges – and opportunities – as they launch their careers

Release Date: April 30, 2013

“My message for UB’s medical students is, ‘Make room in your careers to become advocates for research for health. You are the future of health.’”
Mary Wooley, president and CEO, Research!America
Photo of Mary Wooley.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – The 149 students who will graduate from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on May 3 have a responsibility to help influence U.S. health care and research policy in the future.

That’s the message that Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America and the UB medical school commencement speaker, will give to students at the graduation ceremony in a speech titled, "Poor prognosis for U.S. medical research: Careers in the balance and the public's health at stake.” Research!America is the nation’s largest not-for-profit alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority.

The UB medical school graduation will take place at 1:30 p.m. in the Mainstage Theatre in the Center for the Arts on the UB North Campus. UB President Satish K. Tripathi and Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the UB medical school, will deliver remarks. Ethan Gable is the student speaker. 

At the ceremony, 143 students will receive MDs, four will receive MD/PhDs and two will receive MD/MBAs. Forty-one of the 149 are from the Western New York region.

For press arrangements, including advance interviews with Mary Woolley and on May 3 before 10:30 a.m., contact Ellen Goldbaum at 716-645-4605 and 716-771-9255 onsite.

“Every UB graduate must use his or her influence to help shape policy that will impact health care delivery and the entire research ecosystem,” says Woolley. “My message for UB’s medical students is, ‘Make room in your careers to become advocates for research for health. You are the future of health. Your personal future will be heavily influenced by the public and political realities of our nation.’ ”

The new graduates are entering a “daunting” environment, she says.

“They will be challenged to work in a context no preceding class of graduates has experienced in this nation,” she says. Woolley is referring not only to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act but also to “sequestration,” 10 years of across-the-board spending cuts for federal agencies that took effect March 1, causing the National Institutes of Health to lose $1.5 billion this fiscal year.

“If left unchecked, sequestration could bring the nation, and certainly our nation’s prowess in science and innovation, to its knees,” she adds.

“As graduates of a major research university that receives NIH funding, UB students understand the importance of strong government support for research, from bench to bedside, from innovation to application,” she says. “They have seen the excitement and promise of research but also the reality that limited resources force some innovative research projects to be eliminated or delayed, slowing the discovery process and the availability of new therapies for life-threatening illnesses.”

Woolley is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and serves on its Governing Council. She serves on the National Academy of Sciences Board on Life Sciences and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She is a founding member of the Board of Associates of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and is a member of the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Woolley is also a member of the National Council for Johns Hopkins Nursing. She has served as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation and as a consultant to several research organizations. For more information about Research!America, visit www.researchamerica.org.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum