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SRS Congressional Briefing and Visits to NIH a Success

Sleep Research Society
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Congressional Briefing was extremely successful with a robust attendance comprising of congressional staff, the sleep patient community, representatives from the Department of Transportation, and the biomedical research community.
Dr. Phyllis Zee introduced the white paper on strategic opportunities in the sleep field and incited congressional staff to take an active position in supporting sleep research. Dr. Martin Walker, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, showcased current research studies which are testing the ability to determine the sleepiness of a commercial motor vehicle driver. Dr. Allan Pack drove the message home with an enthusiastic presentation on current research showing the impact sleep disorders have on transportation.
Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-17) made a few remarks on the debilitating effect that sleep disorders have on health, and shared a few personal stories from his time getting diagnosed with sleep apnea by Dr. William Dement, to totaling his car due to falling asleep at the wheel. His remarks were well aligned with the presentations and the audience enjoyed his presence.
In tandem with the briefing, we also organized several visits with various agencies so that SRS members could learn about the current sleep research portfolio at each agency, and make strategic recommendations based on the need in the field. The visits were set up with several institutes at NIH, including the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Visits were also set up with Dr. Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), both Chairs of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and Dr. Amanda Hunt, also a sleep and circadian researcher, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development.