Why STEM needs Hillary Clinton

Clinton quietly makes scientific research central to platform

Hillary Clinton at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Courtesy of the Associated Press.

Hillary Clinton is many things. A grandmother, former Secretary of State, self-described pantsuit aficionado and fierce proponent of causes ranging from criminal justice reform to LGBT rights and equality. It is unfortunate, however, that Clinton’s status as a champion for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has gone largely unnoticed by the general electorate. In unprecedented moves, Clinton has exhaustively outlined how she plans to catalyze innovation and growth within one of America’s most vital industries.

Clinton has proposed aggressive policy overhauls that place significance on Alzheimer’s disease, Autism spectrum disorders, HIV and AIDS, mental health, Zika virus, climate change and computer science literacy. As follows are a few of the many ways the scientific community will benefit should Clinton win the White House in November.

Health

Perhaps her most striking initiative, Clinton plans to see an end to Alzheimer’s disease by 2025 with an investment of $2 billion per year in research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends approximately $586 million in Alzheimer’s research per year; under Clinton this figure would be nearly quadrupled. In addition to a commitment to research, she seeks to provide family caregivers support infrastructure including tax reliefs and paid family leave.

When it comes to Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Clinton will again invest in research. By significantly increasing research dollars for ASD she has committed to a national study that examines the incidence of adult autism, the first study of its kind. Her proposal also includes a screening outreach campaign so that children may be diagnosed and treated earlier.

HIV and AIDS? You guessed it, she’s investing. While the quality of treatment for HIV and AIDS has dramatically increased over the years, Clinton aims to see that progress does not stagnate. This will be accomplished not just by funding the development of new long-acting treatments, but by expanding the use of preventative medications such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Mental health has long provided its own set of unique challenges to both researchers and clinical practitioners. Clinton, aware of this, has proposed a sweeping agenda that promotes early diagnosis and intervention. Her plan includes an initiative aimed at suicide prevention and calls for treatment reform. Through holistic methodologies, treatment of mental health disorders can be standardized and brought into accordance with modern discoveries. Investments are also planned which will see new federal funds allocated for research into brain development and human behavior.

In early 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, only the fourth time the storied organization has made such a classification. Clinton has, predictably, proposed new federal funds to combat the Zika outbreak and increase the nation's infrastructure to handle such situations.

Climate change

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. — Donald Trump

As an issue that will have ramifications for generations of Americans to come, climate change must be addressed swiftly and vigorously in collaboration with other global powers. Clinton will defend President Obama’s pledge at the Paris climate conference, seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 30% in 2025. Taking this a step further, Clinton plans to invest $60 billion to expand clean energy for low income families and slash carbon pollution.

Education and computer science literacy

Computer science has emerged as a field of interdisciplinary necessity. Vital to research within the natural sciences, engineering and technological sectors, computer science literacy is no longer just a flashy line on a resume or CV. Clinton’s initiative supports President Obama’s “Computer Science Education for All” while taking it a step further by doubling the investment. Through a series of grants, Clinton will ensure that high school students receive high level instruction that may serve to increase enrollment in collegiate programs. Additionally, the private sector will be engaged in order to train 50,000 new computer science teachers.

Additional reading

An End to Alzheimer’s Disease

Comprehensive Agenda on Mental Health

Initiative on Technology and Innovation

Plan to Support Children, Youth, and Adults Living with Autism and their Families

Vision for Renewable Power