CHOP Meets with Senators about Medical Innovation Initiatives CHOP’s Kamilah Weems and Steven Altschuler, MD, with Sen. Lamar Alexander and Capitol Hill staffers. In early May, three CHOP leaders visited Capitol Hill to meet with U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Casey (D-PS) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). Sen. Alexander is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

CHOP CEO Steven Altschuler, MD, spoke with the senators about the importance of including pediatrics in all medical innovation initiatives including President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative as well as the Senate’s initiative, “Innovation for Healthier Americans,” and the U.S. House’s initiative, “21st Century Cures.

Accompanying Dr. Altschuler were Peter Grollman, vice president of Government Affairs, Community Relations and Advocacy, and Kamilah Weems, special assistant to the CEO.

The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative aims to build a comprehensive scientific knowledge base to put precision medicine into practice on a much larger scale, including gathering genomes from more than a million Americans and using this data to not only guide medical care but also to guide research in disease prevention.

In the meeting with Sen. Alexander, Dr. Altschuler emphasized the importance of including children in this large-scale research as many diseases originate in childhood. He also spoke about CHOP’s bio-bank which already includes more than 250,000 sequenced genomes.

Sen. Alexander referred to his conversation with Dr. Altschuler numerous times in the HELP Committee’s precision medicine hearing later that day.

In related news, the House Energy and Commerce Committee just released a section-by-section summary of the 21st Century Cures draft legislation that was marked up by its Health subcommittee on May 14.  There are a number of sections that would be relevant to CHOP including:

  • National Institutes of Health funding
  • Providing better support for young emerging scientists
  • The creation of a national pediatric research network
  • The creation of a global pediatric clinical trial network
  • The reauthorization of the rare pediatric disease priority review voucher program

Negotiations around the final version of the legislation are ongoing; therefore, we will provide another update in June 2015.

CHOP’s Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, Joseph St. Geme, MD, participated in a fact-finding 21st Century Cures hearing in August 2014.