For energetic leadership and enduring advocacy in support of biomedical research.
As an energetic advocate of biomedical research, Senator Mark Hatfield has made outstanding contributions. Dedicated to the proposition that the health of Americans is a national priority, Mark Hatfield has fought continually to increase research appropriations for the National Institutes of Health, and he has succeeded.
During the six years of Senator Hatfield's chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, funding for the National Institutes of Health increased by over $2.5 billion, an average of almost 10 percent per year. These funds enabled 107,000 research projects to receive NIH grants, supported an expansion of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and substantially increased the allocation for research on Alzheimer's disease.
Senator Hatfield's vigorous leadership has been crucial in the battle against proposed cuts in the NIH budget. Affirming the central role of the National Institutes of Health in the mission of biomedical research, he declared that "the NIH is the cornerstone of improved quality of life in this nation."
Throughout his career, Mark Hatfield has sought to reorder our nation's research priorities to focus on activities that enhance life. Taking the time to become informed about particular diseases, he introduced legislation to create a National Advisory Council on Rare Disease Research which would formulate a strategic plan to establish a national research database. He has also emphasized the need to support research on Parkinson's disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
During the 103rd Congress, Senator Hatfield achieved enactment of a National Center for Sleep Disorders Research within the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and introduced a bill to create a permanent bioethics advisory board as a forum for discussion of ethical issues in biomedicine. In a period of dwindling resources, the Hatfield-Harkin bill, his most farsighted piece of health legislation, would establish a Fund for Health Research, a stable, non-appropriations-based source of additional research dollars from tax checkoffs and insurance premiums.
Mark Hatfield believes that funding for medical research not only improves quality of life, but offers our nation the highest rate of economic return of any federal program.
To Mark Hatfield, for energetic leadership and enduring advocacy in support of biomedical research, this 1995 Albert Lasker Public Service Award is given.