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RPA sign-on letter to President Trump regarding the impact of the proposed federal hiring freeze on the public health and biomedical research workforce

Creation/Revision Date: February 27, 2017



February 27, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

As organizations representing clinicians, public health, scientists, allied health professionals, nurses, veterinarians, patients and advocates, we urge you to be mindful of the essential role of the federal public health and biomedical research workforce as you consider long-term policy regarding federal hiring. We are encouraged by reports that jobs that respond to public health and medical emergencies (such as the opioid epidemic, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika), as well as jobs related to food, drug and medical device safety are exempt from the current federal hiring freeze, and we appreciate your recognition that these jobs are essential to public safety and national security. We ask that the long-term federal hiring strategy reflect the need for a strong workforce not only to respond to public health emergencies, but throughout the public health continuum to help prevent them, to protect the public from ongoing health threats, and to promote healthy communities.

Maintaining public health workforce capacity before an emergency occurs is necessary to ensure that an emergency is rapidly and accurately identified and that an effective response is triggered swiftly. Public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) take the lead in preparedness and response activities for major national and global public health emergencies, as well as for everyday threats including foodborne illness. CDC staff also lead important efforts to prevent serious illnesses and chronic diseases, including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistant infections, heart disease, diabetes and many other diseases that pose a serious threat to public health and safety.

The healthcare and services, health workforce and health centers supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration in communities across the country are the first line of defense in preventing, detecting and responding to public health outbreaks and natural disasters at the local level. HRSA programs and staff working with other federal partners are critical to ensuring frontline capacity to manage public health emergencies. HRSA helps local service providers and health centers to be ready to respond through emergency preparedness and steps in during times of need, such as to support services for women and their babies affected by Zika and to control the HIV and hepatitis C outbreaks in Scott County, Indiana.

Biomedical research and public health go hand in hand. During an outbreak, public health responders need tools like vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to save lives. We rely upon the National Institutes of Health to lead this critical research. While over 80% of NIH funding is awarded to external researchers, researchers at NIH conduct groundbreaking research on diseases and conditions that pose serious threats to public safety, including cancer, birth defects and infectious diseases. Further, NIH staff provide important coordination and support for more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions.

Finally, staff at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are necessary to ensure the safety, efficacy and availability of life-saving therapeutics and devices to respond to pandemics, bioterror attacks and other public health emergencies, as well as more routine threats to public safety, including a host of serious diseases and conditions. In addition, FDA’s staff plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of our food supply, including helping to prevent foodborne illness.

Once again, we thank you for recognizing the essential role of the federal workforce in responding to public health emergencies and the recognition that many public health and biomedical research jobs are critical to protecting public safety and national security. Moving forward, we look forward to working with you to protect and strengthen the workforce across the public health continuum. We would welcome the opportunity to help inform your longer term federal hiring policies.

Sincerely, 
 

AcademyHealth
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
African American Health Alliance
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Alabama South, LLC
AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth & Families
The AIDS Institute
AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta
Alabaster
Alliance for Aging Research
Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
Alzheimer's Mississippi
Alzheimer’s Orange County
American Academy of HIV Medicine
American Association for Dental Research
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
American Association of Immunologists
American Brain Coalition
American College of Clinical Pharmacy
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Federation for Aging Research
American Gastroenterological Association
American Geriatrics Society
American Heart Association
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
American Medical Women's Association
American Podiatric Medical Association, Inc.
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
American Sexual Health Association
American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Nutrition
American Society of Hematology
American Society of Nephrology
American Society of Transplantation
American Society of Transplant Surgeons
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
American Statistical Association
American Thoracic Society
American Veterinary Medical Association
Americans for Democratic Action
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, George Washington University
APLA Health
Argentum – Expanding Senior Living
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs
Association of Minority Health Professions Schools
Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Association of Public Health Laboratories
Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health
Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
AVAC
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
Caring Ambassadors Program, Inc.
The Cave Institute
Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Children's Environmental Health Network
CHOW Project
Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc.
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
Consumer Federation of America
Cooley’s Anemia Foundation
Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
Council on Social Work Education
Dementia Alliance International
Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center
Endocrine Society
Every Child By Two
Gerontological Society of America
Harm Reduction Coalition
Healthcare Ready
HealthHIV
Healthy Teen Network
Heart Failure Society of America
Hep Free Hawaii
HIV Dental Alliance
HIV Medicine Association
Immunization Action Coalition
Infectious Diseases Society of America
International Association of Forensic Nurses
Iowa Public Health Association
The Jeffrey Modell Foundation
Lung Cancer Alliance
March of Dimes
Meharry Medical College
Microbion Corporation
Midwest Asian Health Association
Morehouse School of Medicine
National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors
National Association of County and City Health Officials
National Association of Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations
National Black Justice Coalition
National Blood Clot Alliance
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Coalition of STD Directors
National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians
National Environmental Health Association
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Hispanic Medical Association
National League for Nursing
National Medical Association
National Minority AIDS Council
National Safety Council
National TB Controllers Association
Nile's Project MRSA
Noah Homes
Obesity Action Coalition
Obesity Medicine Association
The Obesity Society
ONCORD, Inc.
One Health Commission
OraSure Technologies
OWL-The Voice of Women 40+
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Peggy Lillis Foundation
Population Council
POZ Military-Veterans USA INTL
Prevention Access Campaign
Prevention Institute
Project Inform
Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities Coalition
Renal Physicians Association
Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition
Society for Health Psychology
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Society of Critical Care Medicine
Spero Therapeutics
Society of General Internal Medicine
Southern HIV/AIDS Strategy Initiative
Treatment Action Group
Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine
Youth Movement Against Alzheimer's