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Update on Strategic Plan: Advocacy Efforts from Dr. Drummond

Sleep Research Society
Friday, January 6, 2017

Today, I start a series of blogs where I will outline recent efforts to advance the strategic priorities of the SRS. As you
know, Janet Mullington and Allan Pack led us through a comprehensive strategic planning process. For the last 2+ years,
SRS leadership, including the Board, our Committees, and our Task Forces have been working hard to implement that
plan. We thought it would be helpful to keep everyone abreast of how we are doing.

Today, I want to review our 2016 efforts toward government advocacy. On our Strategic Map, these efforts fall under
objective B: Maximize Impact of Advocacy and Outreach. The efforts are led by our Sleep Research Advocacy Task Force
(Allan Pack, Chair), our partners in Washington, the Health and Medicine Counsel of Washington, and the Executive
Committee. In 2016, our efforts focused on 2 main areas: 1) meeting with decision makers in Washington to discuss
their priorities and ours around sleep and circadian research; and 2) providing input to a number of government and
non-government agencies related to sleep and circadian research and health issues. A partial list of our 2016 activities is

Meetings with Decision Makers
Over a series of visits, we meet with several lawmakers and successfully encouraged sleep/circadian priorities inserted
into appropriations and other bills. You will be pleased to know the sleep/circadian community has multiple advocates in
DC who share our concerns for increased funding, as well as for implementation of evidence-based policies. While we
are not always as successful as we would like on either front, we have had tangible wins, including the DoD naming sleep
as a priority area for their Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program each of the last 2 years.
We also continue to meet and work with several NIH institutes and centers, including NCSDR, NHLBI, NIDDK, NIAAA,
NINDS, NIGMS, NIA, and NCI. Our biggest success with NIH was a NIDDK RFA that directly resulted from a collaborative
workshop we held with them at SLEEP2015.
Outside of NIH, we have also met and/or worked with PICORI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), and DARPA. We had a particularly strong working relationship with NHTSA as
they developed a national drowsy driving program.

Input and Feedback to Agencies
Agencies often ask for public input into their strategic priorities and programs and/or feedback on proposed policies.
The SRS has tried to reply to as many of these requests as possible, to ensure sleep and circadian science is well
represented throughout national policy. In 2016, we provided input to the following agencies and for the following

  • NCAA: input on Mental Health Best Practice guidelines for athletes and coaches; we will continue to work with the NCAA in 2017.

  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS): comment on their strategic planning document, specifically as it relates to the need for sleep and circadian rhythms to be a key part of the Precision Medicine Initiative.

  • NHLBI: input into the planning process for the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR)

  • NIMH: feedback on the State of Mental Health Research document, which will inform their strategic priorities

  • US Preventive Services Task Force: feedback regarding the need to screen for OSA

  • Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board (SDRAB): nominated board members

  • American Time Use Survey: provided suggestions for how sleep-related questions and data collection can be improved

  • NHTSA: feedback on the proposed Highway Safety Program Guidelines related to distracted and drowsy driving

  • NIAAA: feedback on their draft strategic plan

  • National Sleep Foundation: feedback regarding their statement on sleep need as it relates to safe driving

  • Health People 2030: nominated members for the task force

Advocacy is, without a doubt, a long game. As you can see, though, we stay as active as we can in keeping sleep and
circadian issues at the forefront of decision makers’ minds. We could not accomplish these efforts without the selfless
dedication of scores of SRS members and, of course, without the support of our members.

These efforts to increase awareness and funding opportunities are one of the benefits of SRS membership and could not
happen without membership dollars. If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2017, please do so and
encourage your colleagues and students to join, as well. The more support we have, the more we can accomplish.

Thank you, and Happy 2017

Sean P.A. Drummond, PhD
SRS President