Healthcare IT Education, Energy Research Among Host of S&T Bills Passed by House
(Washington, DC) – Multiple bills designed to increase education in healthcare information technology and energy research passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, along with two other bills honoring several space groundbreaking scientists.
“Each of these bills reflects the power and possibility of science – whether it’s training professionals on new technologies to improve healthcare, accessing energy research to diversify our nation’s energy supply or inspiring a generation of future scientists,” said Science & Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).
H.R. 1467, the 10,000 Trained by 2010 Act, is designed to better educate and train healthcare professionals in using information technology (IT). The measure authorizes the National Science Foundation to award grants to colleges and universities to research and support the education and training of healthcare informatics personnel through newly-established degree programs or research centers.
“We all recognize the benefits that an integrated health IT network could provide in terms of improved patient care, safety, privacy and potential cost-savings,” said Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR), who introduced the bill. “However, investment in physical infrastructure and technology alone is not enough. We need to research and training programs for healthcare and IT professionals to utilize and design the system as well.”
H.R. 632, the H-Prize Act of 2007, would create a prize program at the Department of Energy for advances in hydrogen technologies to be administered through a private, non-profit entity. Prizes are one tool the federal government can use to stimulate efforts to overcome technical hurdles in using hydrogen as transportation fuel.
"An economy based on energy outside of fossil fuels is no longer implausible," said Committee Vice-Chair Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), who introduced the bill along with Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC). "Hydrogen holds enormous potential as the base of our future economy, but we must take action today to ensure that we have the technology that we need tomorrow. The H-Prize will help us get there by inspiring researchers, entrepreneurs, and others to compete to find the keys to developing and commercializing hydrogen fuel."
The House also passed H.R. 1716, the Green Energy Education Act of 2007, authored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). The bill authorizes DOE to partner with the National Science Foundation to help universities to develop the next generation of engineers and architects to work effectively together to produce buildings incorporating the latest in energy efficient technologies.
Two other science and technology-related commemoratives also cleared the House: H.Res. 446, Honoring the life and accomplishments of Astronaut Walter Marty Schirra and expressing condolences on his passing; and H.Res. 421, Honoring the trailblazing accomplishments of the “Mercury 13” women, whose efforts in the early 1960’s demonstrated the capabilities of American women to undertake the human exploration of space.
Committee Member Brian Bilbray (R-CA) introduced H.Res. 446 to recognize the importance of Schirra’s record as a pioneer in space exploration, having flown in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space missions during his career. Schirra died on May 2, 2007.
H.Res. 421 recognizes the accomplishments of the Mercury 13 women. In the early 1960’s, the women passed the same rigorous and psychological tests that the original Mercury 7 astronauts had to undergo. After completing their testing, their program was cancelled. The Soviet Union flew the first woman into space in 1963. The U.S. flew the first American woman into space, Dr. Sally Ride in 1983.
Rep. Chuck Kagen (D-WI) introduced the measure to encourage other young women to pursue careers in aviation, astronautics, engineering and science and follow in the footsteps of the Mercury 13 women: Myrtle Cagle, Geraldyne ‘Jerrie’ Cobb, Jan Dietrich, Marion Dietrich, Marry Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk, Jane Briggs Hart, Jean Hixson, Gene Nora Stumbough Jessen, Irene Leverton, Sarah Lee Gorelick Ratley, Bernice Trimble Steadman, Geraldine ‘Jerri’ Sloan Truhill, and Rhea Hurrle Allison Woltman.
These bills were considered under suspension of the rules. The majority of the bills passed by voice vote. H.R. 1716 passed the House by a vote of 416-0. H.R. 632 passed by a vote of 408-8.