Lobbying for the Mindfulness Foundation
Actress Julia Roberts, seen here arriving for a congressional hearing on Rett syndrome in 2002, is one of many advocates for rare-disease research who has tried to influence the allocation of biomedical funds.
Rachel Best, a sociologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, says that lobbying provides a way for taxpayers to communicate their priorities to the NIH — and it pays. She analysed funding for 53 diseases over the course of 19 years and found that each $1,000 spent on lobbying for a condition correlated with a $25,000 increase in funding the following year (R. BestAm. Sociol. Rev. 77, 780–803; 2012).