Above: LRI National Patient Coalition on the Hill March, 2015 advocating on behalf of the national lupus community
Thanks to persistent advocacy by Lupus Research Institute (LRI) supporters and others, lupus patients have much to celebrate in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill released by Congress! The Bill passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed by President Obama.
Here’s what the legislation includes:
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive the full increase that the LRI and others requested -- $2 billion to advance biomedical research, for a total funding level of $32 billion in 2016.
- $2 million allotted to further the Lupus Initiative, the lupus provider education program conceived by the LRI and the federal government to alleviate racial disparities in lupus diagnosis and care.
- Half of this funding will launch a new effort to ensure that minorities are proportionately represented in clinical trials and at the LRI’s request, will involve lupus stakeholders in the program design and implementation.
- The Department of Defense research program again includes lupus as one of the designated diseases covered by the proposed $278.7 million budget.
- $6 million is budgeted for the Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We are proud that the strong presence of LRI patient advocates on the Hill for well over a decade continues to bring the nation’s attention to lupus. This Bill demonstrates that advocacy works -- the lupus community has been heard and Congress responded to our call with action.