Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Republican Conference Chair and Co-Chair of the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus, addressed members of the Society of Neuroscience this week. The Society is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system, and Rep. McMorris Rodgers urged them to partner with Congress to identify ambitious goals the entire country can support -- such as finding cures for Alzheimer's disease and other neurological diseases.
"History teaches us that it is the ambitious goal that drives policy and innovation. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy didn't say that he was going to increase NASA's budget by 82 percent. He told us, "We are going to the moon,'" said Rep. McMorris Rodgers. "I urge you to partner with Congress to help decrease neurological diseases in America. Together, I know we can make it happen."
McMorris Rodgers outlined several ideas including "turning our best and brightest" loose on these problems with an emphasis on the scientist rather than on overly structured and incremental programs; rewarding research collaboration; and streamlining duplicative research efforts. She touted the Allen Brain Institute in Washington State as an example of a research organization that has embraced these ideals and contributed greatly to the understanding of neurological disease.