The Americans for Medical Progress has announced that three young science advocates will be named the 2009 Michael D. Hayre Fellows in Public Outreach. Readers will recall a recent plea from me to donate to this Fellowship program. I had heard via the grapevine that income from the endowment supporting the fellowship was down and that the applicant pool was really exciting this year. An effort was being undertaken to drum up additional donations and apparently that effort has been very successful.
From the AMP Press Release:
Gillian Branden-Weiss and Breanna Caltagarone, students the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Megan Wyeth of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will inform and engage the public as advocates for biomedical research.
Braden-Weiss and Caltagarone will create a "Thank a Mouse" interactive campaign for private practice veterinarians and their clients. Through the development of a website and other interactive materials, they will focus on the many contributions of animal research to veterinary treatments that help pets, livestock and wildlife.
Wyeth, a graduate student who conducts epilepsy research at UCLA, will expand the advocacy group Pro-Test for Science on the UCLA campus and create a model for similar student organizations throughout America. This April, Wyeth was a leader of an historic rally by Pro-Test that drew over 800 to stand in support of scientists targeted by animal rights extremists.
Please see the bios and project details for the 2009 Hayres Fellows.
This is a fantastic effort. As you may be aware, the first Hayres Fellow Tom Holder established Speaking of Research and if you go there you can review many of Holder's activities and accomplishments over the past year. I look forward to equally great things from the new Fellows.
For any of my readers who donated, thank you for your contribution. As a reminder for everyone, if you support the following statements I encourage you to sign the Pro-Test petition if you have not already done so.
We the undersigned believe:
1. That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives. It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
2. That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
3. That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.
UPDATE: One of the many announcements I received on this mentions that each outreach project comes with a $5,000 stipend and $2,000 in program funds. This is not big budget stuff. I mention this because it shows that a little bit of active fundraising from small donors can go a long ways. Personally I think that people like to see their donations are putting a perceptible dent in the charitable cause they've selected. This is probably one of the reasons why DonorsChoose is so attractive. I'd encourage this Hayres Fellow program to expand their fundraising amongst the scientific community. I think they'd have a lot of success by pointing out that each project costs a mere $7,000 and tracking donations. Heck, maybe they should think about putting up their honorable mention projects and seeing if anyone wants to add support to those.