Natasha Burse advocates for cancer research funding at 2024 AACR Early Career Hill Day

Carolina Nursing Postdoctoral Fellow Natasha Burse, DrPH, MS, was selected by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to participate in the 2024 AACR Early Career Hill Day (ECHD) on Capitol Hill on February 27, 2024.

The event, hosted annually by the AACR, aimed to advocate for continued and sustained federal funding for cancer research, with Burse joining other early-career researchers from institutions nationwide.

Burse’s participation in the AACR Early Career Hill Day involved attending meetings with legislative staff representing Senators Tedd Budd, Ron Johnson, and Tammy Baldwin, as well as House of Representatives Mark Pocan and Wiley Nickel. During these meetings, Burse conveyed the importance of robust and predictable federal funding for medical research, particularly emphasizing the need for support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Reflecting on her experience, Burse stated, “This event was an amazing honor and invaluable opportunity to advocate for federal funding for NIH and NCI, supporting researchers across the United States. The advocacy training that we received before the event was vital in effectively conveying the message to Congress and urging their support.”

She continued, “During the meetings with the legislative staff, I shared my experiences as a cancer survivor, why NIH and NCI funding is important, and the impact of this funding on my career as a young scientist. Effective communication between scientists and policymakers is essential for advancing medical research. In addition, I developed a greater appreciation for individuals who frequently participate in policy and advocacy efforts.”

The AACR Early Career Hill Day aligns with the broader message to Congress delivered by participants, urging continued support for NIH and NCI funding. The message advocated for the highest possible increase to the NIH base budget in Fiscal Year 2024, with a recommended appropriation of at least $51 billion. Additionally, participants called for a $2.6 billion increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute, as recommended in the NCI Director’s Professional Judgment Budget.

For more information about the AACR Early Career Hill Day and the advocacy efforts of Natasha Burse and her fellow participants, please visit