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Discusses critical funding for health care research and innovation, role of women in the STEM field
MURRAY: “Advancing medical innovation is good for families’ health and for our economy”

Senator Patty Murray examines medical equipment during a tour of the Thomas Building Training Lab with Technology Access Foundation (TAF) Academy students Ericka Pegues and Favour Orji. 

(Seattle, WA) Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), met with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center President and Director Dr. D. Gary Gilliland and other leaders in the local health research and education communities to discuss the need to invest in innovative research and development, and how to increase the role of women in Science, Technology, Education, and Math (STEM) fields. Included in the discussion were geneticist Dr. Mary-Claire King of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Caroline King, chief policy officer of Washington STEM, and transplant biologist Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb, founder of Fred Hutch’s Summer High School Internship program. 

“It is very clear here in Washington state that medical innovation is at a critical moment right now. Researchers and physicians are looking at prevention and treatment in a whole new way, and medical advances have changed the way we tackle devastating diseases like cancer and cystic fibrosis.” said Senator Murray. “In addition to investing appropriately in research and development, we also need to make sure we are encouraging the next generation of innovators—especially women, who are underrepresented in STEM.” 

Senator Murray and these medical innovation experts were joined by two students from the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) Academy and Fred Hutch interns Ericka Pegues and Favour Orji. TAF Academy partners with Fred Hutch to provide students with experiences, scientific content, and professional mentoring that will increase their likelihood of attending college and obtaining a graduate degree in science. The program, originally proposed by Fred Hutch researcher Torok-Storb, is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH. 

Senator Murray has been a strong supporter of National Institutes of Health, and struck a deal to roll back sequestration evenly across defense and non-defense discretionary spending for two years in 2013 with the Murray-Ryan budget deal. The agency lost $1.71 billion during sequestration prior to the deal – cutting the number of grants awarded and the number of patients admitted to the NIH Clinical Center. Senator Murray has also been a major proponent of STEM education, and worked in 2010 to write and pass the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Act, which included provisions to expand science and math programs throughout our education system.