History made! Department of Defense Funds Its First-Ever ME/CFS Research Projects

Since 2017, unleashing the potential research funds from the Department of Defense (DOD) for ME/CFS has been one of our highest priorities. After more than three years of hard work, the first ME/CFS awards *ever* funded by Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) have been announced! This has been a really hard year for all of us, which is what makes this historic victory extra special.

Thanks to your advocacy, two research awards have been announced totaling $547,000 for the next two years. Congratulations to the winning research teams! These two initiatives are led by:

  • Rosa Maria Pari Ñaña, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Dan Wilkinson, Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham

We succeeded because of you! You sent 12,579 messages to Congress on this issue through the Solve M.E. advocacy action center in addition to hundreds of phone calls and meetings. You demanded the reinstatement of ME/CFS as an eligible topic area for the PRMRP in 2020.

Because of your voices, Solve M.E. leadership, and the work of our advocacy partners, the PRMRP added ME/CFS as an eligible topic area this year for the first time since 2011. Seven ME/CFS researchers submitted compliant applications. Yet, Drs. Pari Ñaña and Wilkenson are leading the first ME/CFS grant awards ever funded by the PRMRP.

Former Solve M.E. CEO Carol Head recalls the path to making this happen:

“We understood that federal funds were essential to progress against devastating diseases like M.E. And we understood that the NIH would be slower than our patience could endure. Once we understood that there was a different bucket of funds controlled by Congress, we developed a laser focus on the path to unleashing those Department of Defense funds. And we got it done in less than three years. That’s light speed!”

Solve M.E.’s current CEO Oved Amitay notes that this is good news for our current advocacy efforts:

“We are taking lessons from this success and applying them to the current COVID-19 situation. As evidenced in our recent letter to Congress, we’re working to create additional funding mechanisms to support new NIH and CDC research into the health needs of the rapidly growing long-COVID patient population and people with ME/CFS.”

Of course, this achievement would not have happened without your support. We are so grateful for your passion in advocating for ME/CFS!