Statement by the President Upon Signing the Health Research Facilities Act of 1956.
I HAVE TODAY approved S. 849, a bill authorizing a three-year program of Federal grants to help in the construction of health research facilities by public and nonprofit institutions. While this bill is an important step forward in the continuing effort to eliminate disease and disability, it is deficient in two important respects. It fails to provide assistance, as recommended by the Administration, for construction of facilities for training of medical scientists, and the amounts authorized are inadequate in the light of these needs.
In the State of the Union and special health messages this year, I urged enactment of legislation authorizing $250 million for a five-year program to assist in the construction of research and teaching facilities for schools of medicine, osteopathy, public health, and dentistry and other research institutions. The new law provides a $90 million, three-year program for research facilities only.
Even more significant than the size of the stated authorization, however, is the fact that the Administration proposal was for an integrated program embracing all of the essential facilities required by medical, dental, and public health schools. These professional schools are now providing practically all of the skilled scientific and professional talent, for which there is an increasing demand, to maintain and improve the health of the Nation. By assisting them with matching grants to rehabilitate or increase the sorely needed facilities, the Government can provide the needed assistance without interference with their educational policies and independence. Although the funds for research facilities will be extremely helpful, we should extend the assistance to include the laboratories where future health research personnel are being developed. In medical and dental schools, space for research and teaching functions are so closely interrelated with one another that no clear line can be drawn between them.
Therefore, to remedy these deficiencies in the bill, I am hopeful that the next Congress will broaden the law to authorize the funds required for the training facilities which are essential in this period of rapid expansion of medical research.
Note: As enacted, S. 849 is Public Law 835, 84th Congress (70 Stat. 717).
This statement was released at Gettysburg, Pa.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Health Research Facilities Act of 1956. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232987