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DC Fly-In Day 2 recap – Health Care, Medical Education, and Fairchild advocacy

The second day of GSI’s D.C. Fly-In, in partnership with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and the West Plains Chamber of Commerce, provided business leaders from our region with two different advocacy opportunities for the day.

One group had the opportunity to go to the Pentagon for an afternoon of meetings with Air Force officials and discuss the importance of Fairchild Air Force Base to our region. Accompanying the group was Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who supports GSI’s mission to grow and protect military operations at Fairchild. The base is Spokane’s largest single-site employer, with more than 6,000 active and civilian employees with another 4,000 spouses and dependents. It has a regional economic impact of $1.4 billion each year, feeding into the revenues and success of businesses throughout our region.

While one group spent the other afternoon at the Pentagon, the rest of the delegation spent the afternoon in three meetings of their own. To start the day the group went to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to meet with Steve Pinkos, Deputy Director for Domestic Policy to Vice President Mike Pence. Pinkos fielded a diverse array of questions from our group, including topics of Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding for medical resident students and federal funding for infrastructure improvements.

For the second meeting of the day, the group went to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), for a health care-focused luncheon. Funding for health care continued to be a major theme throughout the day, as the group discussed ensuring adequate GME funding to address the growing shortage of physicians in our region. The group also requested that changes to the Affordable Care Act wouldn’t leave citizens without affordable health insurance, and advocated for increased funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the largest source of federal medical research funding. We were please to find that, just prior to our trip, a bipartisan effort led to a $2 billion increase in NIH funding for the coming five months.

Immediately following the AAMC meeting, the third meeting of the day was held at the National Science Foundation. Our group was honored to meet with the foundation’s director, France Córdova, and leaders of their industry organizations. After sharing an overview of Spokane’s medical research capabilities and GSI’s VISION 2030 initiative, we were treated to a review of their latest and most active research funding successes and program opportunities.

At the end of all of our meetings, the group headed to the United States Botanic Garden for our Grand Reception, sponsored by Asuris Health Northwest. We had the opportunity to network with congressional staffers who attended the meeting, as well as hear directly from McMorris Rodgers about the importance of our delegation’s annual advocacy trip to Washington, D.C.

To learn more about points made during the Fly-In, view GSI’s 2017 Federal Agenda. More information about the Fly-In can be found online, and in our Day One recap. To save your spot for next year, contact our events team at events@greaterspokane.org.

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