Cancer Initiatives Take the Stage at the State of the Union

President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address on March 1. In this address, President Biden called for a reinvigorated focus on cancer research to “end cancer as we know it.”

APHON thanks President Biden for including cancer research in his State of the Union address. The reignited Cancer Moonshot and childhood cancer initiatives—the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act and the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative (CCDI)—have the potential to end cancer as we know it. APHON is actively advocating for the continued funding and support of each of these ongoing initiatives.

As part of this momentum, APHON joined nearly 100 other cancer organizations in signing a letter urging Congress to fund Cancer Moonshot initiatives. The letter was organized by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. A press release issued on February 28 supported President Biden’s reignited Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Childhood Cancer and Nursing Funding Priorities Signed into Law

Congress passed the $1.5 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2022 omnibus funding agreement, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15. APHON proudly reports that the appropriations that APHON (along with the Alliance for Childhood Cancer [Alliance] and the Nursing Community Coalition [NCC]) strongly supported were included and have become law.

These childhood cancer–related programs and funding—supported by both APHON and the Alliance—were included in the agreement:

  • The Childhood Cancer STAR Act received $30 million, and CCDI received $50 million, which constitutes full funding for both in FY 2022.
  • The National Institutes of Health received $45 billion for FY 2022, an increase of $2.25 billion over levels enacted in FY 2021.
  • The National Cancer Institute received $6.9 billion for FY 2022, an increase of $353 million over FY 2021 funding. The funding included $194 million for the Cancer Moonshot.
  • The omnibus agreement provided $1 billion to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health within the Office of the Secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services. Funding is available for 3 years.
  • The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act received $12.6 million for FY 2022.
  • The Peer Review Cancer Research Program received $130 million for FY 2022, a $15 million increase over FY 2021 funding. The omnibus agreement makes funding available for projects in each of these research categories, as requested by APHON and the Alliance in our joint letter to the Department of Defense: pediatric, adolescent, and young adult cancers; pediatric brain tumors; neuroblastoma; sarcoma; germ cell cancers; blood cancers; lymphoma; and thyroid cancer.

These nursing-specific programs and funding—supported by both APHON and the NCC—were included in the funding allocations:

  • Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs received $280.472 million, a $16 million increase over levels enacted for FY 2021.
  • The National Institute of Nursing Research received $180.862 million, an increase of $5.905 million over FY 2021 funding.

APHON thanks Congress, the Biden-Harris Administration, and our coalition partners for this inspiring progress on the funding of research on childhood cancer and development of the nursing workforce, as well as general nursing research.

Access an overview of the omnibus funding agreement.

APHON’s Participation at PQLC 2022 and Advocacy for PCHETA

As an active member of the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC), APHON participated in PQLC’s 2022 Annual Meeting in January. The primary purpose of the PQLC is to help ensure that the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) becomes law. As part of the meeting, guest speakers from the offices of several PCHETA sponsors were invited: Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23) and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Staffers provided a strategic update on progress toward passing this bill in the 117th Congress (2021–2022), the current session.

Following the meeting, APHON collaborated with the PQLC in advocating for PCHETA by working to have it incorporated into a different piece of legislation aimed at preparing for pandemics and strengthening health infrastructure. Specifically, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) released a discussion draft of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act). This bipartisan act focuses on strengthening the nation’s public health, medical preparedness, and response system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

APHON signed on to the letter to the Senate HELP Committee calling for PCHETA to be included in the PREVENT Pandemics Act. The bill also contains strong mental health provisions, which APHON heartily supports.

APHON Calls on Its Members to Contact Congress to Help End the Nursing Shortage Crisis

The APHON Advocacy Committee, via the Legislative Action Center and VoterVoice, issued a call to action encouraging members to contact Congress about ways to help end the nursing shortage crisis.

This call to action is a grassroots continuation of APHON’s advocacy for the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act (S. 246/H.R. 851) and the Senate HELP Committee’s draft legislation, the PREVENT Pandemics Act.

Pilot Sickle Cell Disease Learning Community Launched by ASH Research Collaborative

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) and ASH Research Collaborative have created the Sickle Cell Disease Learning Community, with the goal of improving the course of life and quality of life of those living with sickle cell disease.

The Sickle Cell Disease Learning Community is associated with the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is informed by many stakeholders, including patients, families, clinicians, and scientists.

Congressional Briefing on COVID-19 and Cancer

In early February, APHON advocacy leaders participated in the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) virtual congressional briefing announcing the release of the AACR Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Cancer Research and Patient Care. The briefing included remarks from Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), who underscored both the substantial gains that cancer research has made (thanks to federal funding) and the need for continued advocacy in this area. Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that can be used to improve cancer research and patient care in the future were also noted during this informative briefing.

Letter to House and Senate Reiterating Funding Requests for Title VIII and NINR

Through APHON’s membership in the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC), APHON signed on to a letter to House and Senate appropriations leaders reiterating vital federal funding requests. The NCC letters urged Congress to include at least $314.472 million for Title VIII Nursing Workforce and Development and at least $200.782 million for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) for FY 2022. This effort continues APHON’s 2021 advocacy for nursing program funding.