Dear SRS Members,
It was great to see so many of you at SLEEP 2019 in San Antonio. I hope you found it as rewarding a meeting as I did. At the General Membership Meeting that took place, I provided an update on the progress we have made over the past year in achieving the goals set forth in our society’s strategic plan. During the past year, we made significant progress in a number of strategic goals including Advocacy, Diversity, Fundraising, Support of Trainees, Scientific Offerings, Society Stewardship, Public Outreach and Education, and Member Communications. Over the next three months I will take time to highlight the progress made on each of these goals.
Significant progress in advocacy efforts was achieved over the last year. We expanded our advocacy program by increasing the amount of money devoted to sending representatives to Capitol Hill and NIH, while also including patient advocates in our effort. Our task force, in partnership with Project Sleep led by Julie Flygare, were able to convince Representative Schiff of Orange County, CA to author a letter to the appropriations committee requesting our three advocacy priorities. This letter was signed by more than 30 representatives in support of our priorities! The request included: a $250k line item to the CDC budget in support of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project we are carrying out jointly with the AASM; an increase in NIH research dollars devoted to sleep; and keeping sleep as a Department of Defense area of funding. In addition, we held a workshop to mobilize and organize researchers and patient advocates to create awareness of underfunded sleep and circadian disorders. This program, which is intended to be the first of many such efforts, focused on Circadian Rhythm Disorders.
To further our public outreach/education goal, we set aside money to support the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project that had lost CDC funding. The Board felt that work of this group was too important to allow to vanish. In partnership with the AASM, we have constituted a working group to discuss issues on work shift length. We hope that our advocacy task force is successful in reviving CDC funding for such a great program.
At our upcoming August Board meeting, we will identify a set of priorities to focus on for 2020. This will set the agenda for where we devote our resources. Activities are expected to include launching SLEEP Open, capitalizing on our new SRSF Development Manager to develop and implement a plan for sustaining fundraising, implementing an extended set of training/support programs for early career investigators, evaluating our new programs aimed at increasing funding for underfunded sleep disorders, evaluating the success of developing evidence-based guidelines for research methods, and beginning planning for our next independent meeting.
We are grateful to highlight such great progress and I look forward to reviewing more strides we have made in the upcoming months.
Andrew D. Krystal, MD, MS