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Georgia Residents: Investment In Global Health Research Is Vital To State’s Economy

June 30, 2011

Global health R&D is central to jobs, income in state

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Georgia residents think spending money on research to improve health globally is important for economic development in Georgia, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Research!America.

Eighty-one percent say global health is an issue about which Georgia residents should be concerned, and Georgians place a very high value on their state’s leadership in research to improve health here and around the world: 96% say it is important for Georgia to be a leader in health research and development, and 81% say their state already is a leader in this area. Bioscience is one of the state’s fastest-growing industries; from 2001 to 2005, the number of Georgia bioscience firms grew by 38%, versus 13% in other industries.

Georgians also recognize the importance of advancing global health R&D through public-private collaboration, such as product development partnerships: 92% think the different types of institutions conducting global health research in the U.S. should work together to develop new treatments and cures. The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) is an important asset to the state in this regard, bringing together Georgia’s research universities, business community and state government to create opportunities to grow Georgia’s economy through scientific discovery.

Research!America’s chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, said: “Global health research is one of Georgia’s greatest investments. It creates growth and partnership opportunities among Georgia’s universities, businesses and public sector stakeholders””including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention””that fuel the state’s economy, all the while helping to improve health for Georgians and people everywhere.”

Porter added, “While Georgia ranks ninth in population, it ranks just 15th in federal R&D funding. There is tremendous potential to grow the R&D enterprise in Georgia for the sake of jobs, economic activity and public health here and abroad.”

Georgians recognize that global health is America’s health: three-fourths say that Americans will be better off if the U.S. government invests in research designed to improve health around the world, and nearly as many (72%) believe Americans should worry about global diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera that mostly affect poorer countries.

Georgia residents’ strong support for global health research extends to public health and prevention. Nearly nine in 10 say it is important that the federal government play a role in research for prevention and wellness. Almost two-thirds recognize the CDC as the government agency whose primary responsibility is disease prevention and health promotion, and 91% say the CDC is important to Georgia’s economy.

This week, Research!America is convening journalists for a daylong tour of the CDC. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in discussions with CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, and other senior CDC staff to learn about the important role the CDC plays in protecting the health of the nation and the world. More about the CDC’s role in global health is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6024a4.htm?s_cid=mm6024a4_w.

“It is clear from the poll findings that Georgia residents strongly support investment in public and global health research. The presence of the CDC in the state, along with leading academic and private sector research-based institutions and businesses, is rightly a point of pride for the residents of Georgia. This should send a strong message to local and national policy makers about the need to further strengthen their commitment to R&D,” said Mary Woolley, Research!America president and CEO.

Further findings from the Georgia poll include:

    * 77% think it is important for Georgia to offer incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally.
    * 93% say it is important that global health research is conducted to help prevent drug resistance around the world.
    * 87% say they are concerned that American troops overseas are exposed to global diseases, and 88% think American civilians benefit from health research conducted by the U.S. military.

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