By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy

Nurse Becomes Acting Surgeon General

After former President Obama’s surgeon general was asked to resign by the Trump administration, the White House appointed Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN, as acting surgeon general. Trent-Adams is one of the first nurses to be appointed surgeon general. Her position isn’t expected to be permanent; however, it is a major acknowledgement of the nursing profession by the current administration. Trent-Adams was a nurse in the Army, a research nurse at the University of Maryland, and served as the deputy associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration prior to joining the surgeon general’s office. The Trump administration also recognized Trent-Adams’s ability, leadership, and dedication to the U.S. Public Health Services Commissioned Corps as the former chief nursing officer of the Public Health Service.

With nearly 25 years of experience, Trent-Adams will take the helm and be the current voice of public health.

Representative Roybal-Allard Calls for Funding Scientific Research

“Given the many strides we have made as a society over the years, it is sometimes easy to take our vibrant scientific field for granted,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) said in an opinion article for The Hill. She listed the numerous accomplishments made by scientific researchers in the past century, noting their ubiquity and necessity in our daily lives. In her article, Roybal-Allard recognized the potential lack of funding for new scientific endeavors in the most recent budget proposal.  

Because some members of the U.S. Congress enjoy the luxury of having some inside-the-beltway political newspapers publish their opinion pieces on a frequent basis, Roybal-Allard took the opportunity to draw attention to the need for federal funding in scientific research. Although the National Institutes of Health has its champions, Roybal-Allard made a compelling case for health services research, noting that it “moves us from the discovery phase of science to the delivery phase. It determines how to get the right medications and treatments to the right patient at the right time.”

She also argued in favor of funding the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is often a target for cost savings. Oncology nursing professionals should encourage this kind of public support for healthcare issues from our elected leaders. ONS recently continued with its coalition efforts, urging Congress to support research funding.

Gottlieb Nomination for FDA Commissioner Sent to Senate

On April 27, 2017, the Senate’s health committee put forward the nomination of Scott Gottlieb, MD, for commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the nomination process, he is now under consideration for the position by the full Senate. Gottlieb has served in several previous positions in the FDA, including deputy commissioner, senior advisor to the commissioner, and the director of medical policy development.

Much has been in flux without a permanent FDA commissioner. Although Gottlieb has a lot of bipartisan support for his appointment, some in the Senate are uncomfortable with his ties to big pharmaceutical companies. This is causing a holdup in the vote, but it should have a positive outcome soon. He is expected to be confirmed shortly.

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