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U.S. Leadership in Medical Innovation Depends on Education and Immigration Policy, Say Experts at Capitol Hill Briefing on 'Education & Immigration: Building Blocks of Innovation'

Council for American Medical Innovation Brings Together Political Leaders, Educators and Policy Experts at First in a Series of Briefings About Achieving "Recovery Through Discovery"

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Immigration and education policy experts gathered on Capitol Hill today to address the impact of policies related to U.S. medical innovation. The briefing, titled Education & Immigration: The Building Blocks of Innovation, was sponsored by the Council for American Medical Innovation as the first in a three-part series, Recovery Through Discovery, which examines medical innovation as a driver of U.S. economic recovery and enhanced global leadership in science.


"Education and immigration are among the most fundamental policy areas related to maintaining U.S. leadership in science and discovery," said Debra Lappin, president of the Council for American Medical Innovation. "Training the next generation of scientists is an important part of our economic recovery, as is attracting and retaining talented innovators from around the world. The Council for American Medical Innovation is committed to understanding and supporting education and immigration policies that will keep the wheels of innovation turning, and keep the U.S. competitive."

There is a "reverse brain drain" happening in United States medical innovation. Skilled scientists, engineers, doctors and researchers are being turned away by U.S. immigration policies. They are among the more than one million skilled immigrant workers who are competing for 120,000 permanent U.S. resident visas each year, creating a sizeable imbalance and a situation where skilled workers return to their home country.

Simultaneously, the American education system is facing a math and science crisis. While the U.S. is one of the world leaders in education investment, American elementary and secondary students continue to fall behind students in other developed countries. Only 39% of U.S. fourth graders and 31% of U.S. eighth graders tested at or above the proficient level in an international math test in 2007.

The Council for American Medical Innovation came together this year, its members sharing a common goal of adopting and promoting a national policy agenda aimed at preserving U.S. leadership in medical innovation. As part of its national agenda, the Council is advocating for policy improvements that will ensure an increasingly skilled and trained work force in the United States - including:

  • Improving the quality of pre-K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning to ensure that American school children have a strong foundation for innovation and leadership in the life sciences and medicine
  • Attracting and retaining the best and brightest minds from around the world to ensure increased advances and breakthroughs in the life sciences and medicine in America

"The Council for American Medical Innovation believes that we need to improve STEM education and welcome the world's best and brightest minds to live, work and contribute here," said Former Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt, chairman of the Council for American Medical Innovation. "We need to make science cool again for our kids, and we need to make sure the United States remains a strong magnet for talent in the global scientific community. The education and immigration policies we implement today will greatly affect our ability to innovate in the future."

Debra Lappin moderated today's briefing, where participants addressed the impact of current policies on innovation in the U.S., and the government's role in improving them. Participants in the forum included:

  • Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy
  • David Heil, President of David Heil & Associates, Inc., and former host of the Emmy Award Winning PBS series "Newton's Apple"
  • Wanda E. Ward, Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation

Video of the event will be made available at: The Council will host two additional briefings on Capitol Hill this fall, including Translational Research - From Bench to Bedside on September 17th, and Incentives for American Medical Innovation - Protecting America's Greatest Innovators on October 5th.

About the Council for American Medical Innovation

The United States faces serious challenges to maintaining its leadership position in innovation. The Council for American Medical Innovation is bringing together leaders in research, medicine, public health, academia, education, labor, and business, who are working in partnership toward a national policy agenda aimed at preserving U.S. leadership in medical innovation. American medical innovators create millions of high-paying jobs, and their discoveries are integral in the fight to cure cancer and other illnesses. The Council for American Medical Innovation views leadership in medical innovation as a key part of America's economic recovery, future prosperity and health.

For more information on the Council for American Medical Innovation, visit

Follow us on Twitter @Med_Innovation.

SOURCE Council for American Medical Innovation
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