Report: NIH and Global Health Research are a Major Boon to All State Economies
WASHINGTON, June 18 --The National Institutes of Health has a legacy of great medical accomplishments, including victories over diseases like measles, rubella, and whooping cough. Now a report from a national health care advocacy organization reveals how NIH funding to states creates jobs, helps develop communities that are focused on advanced biomedical research, and sustains America's leadership in medical research.
Titled "In Your Own Backyard," the report from Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers, details the actual benefits of NIH research awards to all 50 states. In 2007, the NIH awarded almost $23 billion in research grants and contracts. This funding created more than 350,000 new jobs nationwide, generated more than $18 billion in wages from those new jobs, and spurred more than $50 billion in business activity in the states.
The Families USA report, however, describes a downside. Several years of flat funding of the NIH by Congress is now crippling research into global health threats, stunting economic activity, and jeopardizing U.S. preeminence in biomedical research.
"The importance of NIH funding in communities across the nation can't be overstated," Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, said today. "NIH awards to states spur vital medical research, while at the same time injecting millions of dollars into local economies, creating jobs and new wages. This should be called a win-win-win, because it helps our state economies, our nation's health, and the health of people around the globe."
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases (NIAID), made the argument last fall that global health threats are truly global.
"With regard to infectious diseases, there is virtually nowhere in the world from which we are remote and almost no one from whom we are truly disconnected," Fauci said in an article in "Nature Medicine."
Between 80 and 90 percent of the federal dollars NIH sends to states funds research that takes place at universities, medical research centers, hospitals, and research institutes in every state in the U.S. The Families USA report analyzed the impact of these awards on all 50 states, using Department of Commerce methodology known as The Regional Input-Output Modeling System, or RIMS II.
Overall, every $1 million that NIH invested generated an average of $2.21 million in new state business activity. The five states that generated the most economic activity per dollar were Texas ($2.49), Illinois ($2.43), California ($2.40), Georgia ($2.36), and Colorado ($2.34).
More than 175,000 jobs were created in six states: California (55,286), Massachusetts (30,864), New York (27,877), Maryland (21,299), Pennsylvania (21,262) and Texas (20,148).
The downside of this economic impact, however, is that cuts to NIH funding translate into cuts to states and local communities, and the report notes that federal funding for NIH has not kept pace with inflation.
"The total purchasing power of NIH has fallen by 13 percent since 2003," Pollack said. "This funding decline hurts our nation's efforts to improve health here and across the globe, and it hurts efforts to lure and keep scientists that will produce tomorrow's medical breakthroughs.
"This decrease in NIH funding comes at a time when states are facing challenges to their own economies, and when the nation faces rising health threats from potential pandemics, potential terrorist biomedical attacks, and the rise of drug-resistant diseases like tuberculosis," he said.
"New threats continue to arise, and we dare not let our guard down," Pollack said. "Investment in NIH funding is an investment in the health and economic well-being of our nation, and it is an investment we should protect."
NOTE: A full copy of the report, "In Your Own Backyard: How NIH Funding Helps Your State's Economy," is available on the Families USA Web site, www.familiesusa.org. The report provides fiscal year 2007 data for each state, including NIH funding, total jobs created and supported by this funding, total wages from new jobs, average wage per job created, and total new business activity.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.