NEW YORK, NY – December 17, 2011 – A top legislative priority of the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) — funding for a nationwide lupus education effort for health providers — is included in the Fiscal 2012 omnibus appropriations bill (HR 2055) has passed in the House of Representatives and Senate and has gone before the President for signature.
The legislation allocates nearly $1 million to continue the current federal lupus education initiative begun in 2010, aimed at providing healthcare professionals with necessary, evidence-based information and training resources to diagnose lupus promptly and treat effectively.
The Lupus Initiative engages a wide continuum of stakeholders — including healthcare providers, educators, national patient organizations and schools of health professions — in working together to improve lupus diagnosis and treatment through professional education.
"On behalf of the entire lupus community, the Lupus Research Institute extends its deep gratitude to Members of Congress for supporting the Lupus Initiative. Their vision will improve both initial and continuing medical education in this country in an effort to reduce racial and health disparities in lupus diagnosis and treatment," said Margaret Dowd, LRI President and CEO.
Affecting more than 1.5 million Americans, lupus is a chronic, complex and prevalent autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system creates antibodies that can attack any organ or tissue — the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints. Nine out of ten lupus sufferers are women, mostly young women between the ages of 15 to 44, and women of color are especially at risk. There is no one test to diagnose lupus, and because its symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases or conditions, it can take months or years to identify and treat.
The appropriations bill also contains other funding targeted to lupus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is allocated more than $4.4 million to continue the Lupus Patient Registry, a comprehensive registry study assessing the prevalence and incidence in the United States of all types of lupus among high-risk populations.
The Defense appropriations section of the bill includes lupus along with 21 other disease conditions in the $50 million Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, a competitive application research activity run by the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, MD.
The Lupus Research Institute, Leader in Research Funding
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the world's leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity in the hunt for solutions to this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the LRI mandates sound science and rigorous peer review to uncover and support only the highest ranked novel research to prevent, treat and cure lupus.
The LRI is dedicated to finding new and safer options for treating the disease by improving the design of clinical studies and promoting broad participation in clinical trials. Visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org for more information about the Lupus Research Institute.
The LRI's advocacy arm is its National Coalition, a powerful network of state and local lupus organizations united to prevent, treat and cure lupus by advocating for lupus on Capitol Hill. The Coalition unites lupus groups from both coasts and the nation's major urban centers — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.