Policy Activities Go to the Cloud

The ASCB Public Policy Committee is taking two important activities that were always in-person to the Cloud. In so doing, it is opening these programs to a wider number of ASCB members.

For decades, trips to Capitol Hill for meetings with members of Congress and their staff were always part of ASCB leadership meetings held in Washington, D.C. or during Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C.. In fact, weeks before the start of the Covid -19 pandemic, over 60 annual meeting attendees spent the last day of the 2019 meeting on Capitol Hill with their representatives and their staff. It was the largest Hill Day the ASCB has ever held.

Because of the pandemic, Congressional offices, like the rest of the world, have discovered the benefit of virtual meetings. Having virtual Hill Day meetings has allowed the ASCB to make the Capitol Hill Day advocacy activities available to more of our members. It also means that we have been able to meet with Congressional offices we would never have been able to meet with otherwise.

Hill Day participants meet with staff from U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN)

The first Virtual Hill Day was in March, 2024 with ASCB members from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University who met with members of the Indiana Congressional delegation. On May 23, 2024 ASCB members from Ohio met with Representatives and Senators from Ohio. During the Hill Day meetings, ASCB members explain both the scientific and economic benefits to their state of federal funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and why continued support for science was so important. Hill Day participants also discussed the important role international scientists play in the American biomedical research community and outlined the current problems some international researchers have coming to the U.S. to attend meetings or work with their U.S. collaborators.

If you and some of your colleagues are interested in holding a Hill Day of your own, contact Kevin Wilson, ASCB’s Vice President of Policy, Governance, and Meetings. He can help you organize a day of meetings with your representatives.

Meet the Funders
At the 2019 and 2022 annual meetings in Washington, D.C. the Public Policy Committee sponsored Meet the Funders sessions which allowed annual meeting participants to meet and talk with program officers from various federal science funding agencies. ASCB’s Cell Bio meeting won’t be in Washington, D.C. for the near future, so the Meet the Funders session has been transformed into a series of virtual meetings throughout the year. The first in the series was with program officers from the National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) and had over 60 registrants. For information on future sessions, visit ASCB’s Events Page.

Meet the Funders sessions and ASCB Hill Days are ASCB Member only events. If you wish to attend, become a member of ASCB today.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email: kwilson@ascb.org