AAMC Urges Support of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018

June 11, 2018 at 8:43 am | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently released a statement urging people to support the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 5818, S.2843). The act, sponsored by Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), would provide support for:

“…an additional 1,000 graduate medical education positions over the next five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management, strengthening the health care workforce serving on the front lines of the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

You can read more about the act and watch a series of educational webinars by going to this page on the AAMC website. You can also send a letter to members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor the bill by going to this page and filling out a short form.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]


MLA Submits Comments to EPA Opposing Proposed Rule to Strengthen Transparency in Regulatory Science

May 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Medical Library Association (MLA) and Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL) submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the proposed “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” rule. Generally speaking, the rule would require the EPA to base policy decisions only on scientific studies that make their data publicly available. Critics argue that many well regarded studies are prevented by law from releasing some or all of their underlying data and that, by adopting the rule, the EPA would be relying on partial evidence.

The comment period closes on May 30, 2018.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

National Guideline Clearinghouse Loses Funding

April 30, 2018 at 8:32 am | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

According to an announcement from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) website will be shut down on July 16, 2018 due to lack of funding. No new guidelines are being accepted for inclusion. AHRQ has noted that they are receiving “expressions of interest from stakeholders interested in carrying on NGC’s work” but no final plans have been made at this time.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

National Library Legislative Day

April 20, 2018 at 9:45 am | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The America Librarian Association (ALA) has announced that National Library Legislative Day will take place on May 7-8 in Washington, D.C. Attendees spend one day learning about issues and advocacy techniques and the next day meeting with members of Congress to rally support for library-related issues. Some of the issues of concern for this year include:

  • Network neutrality
  • Access to federally funded research (the FASTR act)
  • the Open, Permanent, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Act
  • the Federal Depository Library program
  • Plus several more

Anyone interested in participating in Washington, D.C. should register for more information. Can’t make it to D.C.? You can participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day. Suggested activities include calling Senators and Representatives, hosting and event, or using social media to advocate for issues.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

Legislative Update from MLA

March 27, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mary Langman, Director of Information Issues and Policy for MLA, released the following legislative update on March 22nd. It provides a detailed overview of recent activity on issues of interest to health sciences librarians.



22 March 2018
Mary M. Langman, Director, Information Issues and Policy

This report addresses issues of interest to the health sciences library community. Links to statements the association has signed onto are provided throughout the document. For more information visit the public policy center and public policy blog on MLANET.


Washington Overview

Issues of importance to the health sciences library community, including NIH and NLM funding, have been slow to move forward since the 115th Congress took office last year.

Senator Thad Cochran, (R-MS) has announced that he will retire April 1 because of ill health. His retirement leaves an opening for the chair position on the Appropriations Committee, and creates two Senate races in Mississippi later this year. Senator Roger Wicker, the junior Republican senator from Mississippi, is running for re-election this year. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has named Cindy Hyde-Smith, the state’s commissioner of agriculture and commerce, to the seat being vacated by Cochran. It has been reported that the Senate Appropriations Committee will nominate a new chair the week of April 9th. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is expected to take the reins of the committee just as the Senate’s fiscal year 2019 appropriations process begins.

Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations

As of March 22nd, the House approved a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that provides NIH and NLM with significant funding increases above FY 2017 levels. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure on March 23rd.

If enacted, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 would provide:

  • NIH — $3 billion increase
  • NLM — 5% increase.


For NIH the agreement provides $37,084,000, an increase of $3 billion, or 8.8 percent above FY 2017. The agreement includes $496 for the 21st Century Cures Act, and increases funding for the All of Us precision medicine initiative by $60,000,000.


For NLM, the agreement provides “$428,553,000: Provided, that of the amounts available for improvement of information sysems, $4,000,000 shall be available until September 30, 2019; Provided further, That in fiscal year 2018, the National Library of Medicine may enter into personal services contracts for the provision of services in facilities owned, operated, or constructed under the jurisdiction of the National Institutes of Health.”


The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 follows a series of continuing resolutions that have been enacted since shortly before the beginning of Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017). Congressional deadlock over issues of border security and new surveillance technology, a deal on the Gateway tunnel-and-rail project connecting New York and New Jersey, gun control, and efforts to lower ObamaCare premiums delayed passage of the FY 2018 funding bill.


Pages 93 and 94 of Senate Report 115-150) “encourage the National Library of Medicine, in coordination with the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), to update its terminology in line with new research to more accurately reflect the long-term effects of chronic Lyme disease.”


MLA/AAHSL FY 2018 Funding Recommendations, made during the April 2018 Capitol Hill meetings and in Joint MLA/AAHSL L-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee testimony, asked Congress to provide:

  • NLM—at least $412,097,000 in FY18 with additional increases in future years
  • NIH—at least $36 billion (a $2 billion increase above the FY17 funded amount)

Actions Taken to Bolster Funding

  • MLA/AAHSL statement supporting NLM’s fiscal years 2018 funding and

recognizing the medical library community’s role in supporting NLM’s programs and services (May 2017)

Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations

MLA/AAHSL Funding Recommendations will be finalized before the April 4th Capitol Hill meetings. The following tentative recommendations are based on funding numbers provided to NIH and NLM in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (as of March 22nd) and recommendations of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research:

  • NLM—at least $428,553,000 in FY19 with additional increases in future years
  • NIH—at least $39.1 billion (a $2 billion increase above FY 18, based on the assumption that the FY 18 omnibus bill passes with an allocation of $37.1 billion)

The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research is circulating a draft of its annual funding recommendation for NIH. The current recommendation is $36.1 billion, a $2 billion increase above FY 2017. MLA and AAHSL always sign onto this community letter. Depending on the outcome of FY 2018 funding allocations, the recommendation could increase.

Institute for Museum and Library Services

The Administration’s FY 2019 budget proposal to eliminate the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is widely opposed by the library community. IMLS supports the full range of libraries, including health sciences libraries. Many health sciences libraries have benefited from IMLS leadership and training grants over the years. IMLS funding supports more than $183 million for libraries through the Grants to States program, the National Leadership Grants for Libraries, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and Native American Library Services.


  1. 2271, The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017, a bill that would reauthorize the IMLS, was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) in December, and has 14 cosponsors including: Sen. Cochran (R-MS); Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY); Sen. Wicker (R-MS); and Sen. Peters (D-MI). MLA issued an action alert asking the membership to urge for support of S. 2271. Librarians received positive feedback from their elected officials in support of this legislation.


Public Access Policies


The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) (H.R. 3427 and S. 1701) was re-introduced in this session of Congress. House and Senate companion bills were introduced in the 113th and 114th sessions of Congress and had bipartisan support; however, legislation was not enacted. FASTR would have required federal agencies with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million to develop a federal research public access policy, following common procedures for the collection and deposit of research papers, that is consistent with and that advances the purposes of the agency. It makes each policy applicable to researchers employed by the federal agency whose works remain in the public domain and to researchers funded by the agency.

MLA and AAHSL support FASTR because it will strengthen the NIH Public Access Policy. The primary difference between the House and Senate bills is that the Senate bill extends the maximum allowable embargo period from six to twelve months.

Representative Mike Doyle (D) PA-14 introduced H.R. 347 which has four cosponsors including Rep. Jim Jordan (R) OH-4. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 1701 which has 2 cosponsors.

OSTP Directive

Evaluating Current Federal Public Access Policies

Last year, Representatives Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) asked  the Government Accountability Office (GAO), to evaluate the status, effectiveness and benefits of current federal public access policies. Their request builds upon previous legislative efforts between these members to ensure taxpayers, who are footing the bill for federal research, have adequate access to the published results free of charge. The GAO is working on this initiative but no reports have been released to date.

Noting the 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum and various legislative proposals that called for the development of public access policies by federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures, and efforts to create Federal data policies to enable shared serices, data engagement, and forward-leaning data practices, the Representatives asked the GAO to consider the following questions:

  1. What is the status of implementation of federal public access policies? What challenges, if any, are agencies facing in fully implementing their policies? What is the overall effectiveness of the agency policies in providing the public with free online access to federally funded research results?

    2. To what extent is there consistency and/or variation across agencies in the nature of the policies (e.g. flexibility in the embargo period), and in the mechanisms used to implement their policies (e.g. central versus distributed repositories)? To what extent are agency archival solutions enabling integration and interoperability with other federal public access archival solutions and with related archives maintained by publishers and universities?

    3. What challenges, if any, is the stakeholder community facing in complying with agency policies? To what extent does any variation across agencies affect ease or rate of compliance by federally funded researchers? How well are agencies working with researchers, publishers, and other stakeholders to streamline compliance?

    4. How are agencies choosing to pay for their plans? Are they identifying adequate resources to fully implement their plans? To what extent are agencies leveraging private sector resources to implement their plans?

    5. To what extent do the terms of use applicable to research results made available through federal public access policies enable productive reuse of the research and computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies?

    Federal agencies that have agreed to use PubMed Central to support their public access policies include:

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Community Living (ACL)
HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
HHS Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – part of the Department of Commerce
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Net Neutrality

In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to deregulate broadband internet service companies and overturned the net neutrality rules approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015. The rules were aimed to preserve the open internet and ensure equal access to content on the internet. Opponents said the rules unfairly subjected broadband internet suppliers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter to utility-style regulation.

In February, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partisan decision on net neutrality and to fully restore the 2015 Open Internet Order. The Senate CRA resolution of disapproval stands at 50 supporters, including Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Rep. Doyle’s resolution in the House of Representatives (H.J.Res. 129) currently has 152 co-sponsors. On February 22nd, the FCC’s rule repealing net neutrality was published in the Federal Register, leaving 60 legislative days to seek a vote on the Senate floor on the CRA resolutions. In order to force a vote on the Senate resolution, Senator Markey will submit a discharge petition, which requires a minimum of 30 Senators’ signature. Once the discharge petition is filed, Senator Markey and Senate Democrats will demand a vote on the resolution. More information, including a list of Congressional supporters, can be found here.

Last fall, MLA issued an action alert asking members to contact their members of Congress and urge them to support the net neutrality protections approved by the FCC in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016.


Next Generation Data Science

The Medical Library Association (MLA) submitted comments to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in response to its Request for Information (RFI) on Next Generation Data Science Challenges in Health and Biomedicine. MLA members Tanja Bekhuis, AHIP and Shirley Zhao, members of the MLA Scholarly Communications Committee and Data SIG co-authored the document.

MLA’s comments and recommendations will help formulate strategic approaches to prioritizing the next phase of NIH’s investment in biomedical data science.

The Association addressed that:

  • health sciences librarians are well positioned to work with researchers to ensure that research data is FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable), and maximized to benefit health care;
  • there is need for increased capacity for data support services among health sciences libraries;
  • specialized skills in data management are now essential for health sciences information professionals; and
  • there is need for expanded educational formats, focused community building, and structured training designed specifically for information professionals.

MLA recommended:

  • developing a Data Sciences Specialization in partnership with NLM to meet the continuing education needs of its membership as well as to augment the current set of specializations that MLA offers;
  • developing strategic partnerships with federal agencies in addition to NIH, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, in keeping with team science and to develop training modules in the digital humanities relevant to social and behavioral medicine;
  • partnering with NLM to evaluate information that will help identify areas of knowledge and gaps within the knowledge base of the health sciences library community and to develop curriculum and professional development opportunities; and
  • working with NLM to provide partnership opportunities for the health sciences library community and the NNLM Evaluation Office to evaluate the impact of these courses and training programs.

MLA’s comments and recommendations are based on evidence derived from MLA members and the health sciences literature as well as studies to develop biomedical and health research data management training for librarians, current training modules and other continuing education programs.

Title 44 Reform (Federal Depository Library Program)

MLA President Barbara A. Epstein, AHIP, FMLA thanked Representatives Gregg Harper (R) MS-03 and Robert Brady (D) PA-01 for introducing H.R. 5305, the FDLP (Federal Depository Library Program) Modernization Act of 2018.  The legislation will modernize the FDLP and provide for no-fee permanent across to government information.

The bill was introduced after months of hearings, stakeholder meetings, and library association negotiations with the Committee on House Administration. The  Act seeks to:

  • Establish a national collection of Information Dissemination Products (IDPs) and to provide no-fee permanent public access to the collection
  • Carry out a cataloging and indexing program
  • Carry out a by-law distribution program
  • Collaborate with offices of the Federal government, Federal Depository Libraries, and library associations and consortia

MLA was pleased to join the American Association of Law Libraries in sending recommendations for Title 44 reform to the House Committee on Administration last fall.

In their statement to the U.S. House Committee on House Administration the MLA and AALL addressed:

  • MLA and AALL’s commitment to a thriving Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)
  • The role of health sciences and law libraries in supporting public access to FDLP information
  • Making changes to the program that embrace fundamental principles of public access
  • Recommendations for change and transformation that benefit all types of libraries


[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

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