Medical News & Perspectives |

Shutdown Underscored Vulnerability of US Public Health and Biomedical Research to Political Wrangling

Bridget M. Kuehn, MSJ
JAMA. 2013;310(18):1907-1909. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.281654.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


The federal shutdown in October left US public health and biomedical research systems reeling and exposed their vulnerability to national politics. The shutdown reduced staffing at the federal health agencies, crippling many programs and cutting off funding for health services, research laboratories, and other efforts that depend on federal support.

The interruption of public health efforts raised major concerns as the nation entered peak seasons for influenza and other communicable diseases. Troubling stories emerged in the media about hundreds of patients who could not enroll in cancer clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center because new trials had been stopped (http://wapo.st/1glMSxk) and about vulnerable families at risk of losing their federal food aid (http://onforb.es/18sraDB).

Figures in this Article

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview


Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

The 16-day federal shutdown caused both immediate and long-term problems for US public health and biomedical research.

Place holder to copy figure label and caption

Graphic Jump LocationImage not available.

About half of the US Department of Health and Human Services staff were furloughed (based on the agency’s contingency plan), but some of the agency’s units were hit harder than others.



Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles