Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blue-Ribbon Panel Hears Recommendations for More Openness at California Stem Cell Agency

SAN FRANCISCO – Only four members of the public attended the first day of a blue-ribbon review of the operations of the $3 billion California stem cell agency during the brief period permitted for public comment.

The panel shut down its public session after about one hour and moved from the Marriott Hotel in San Francisco to CIRM headquarters to continue the meetings behind closed doors.

The small number of persons at the public comment session was to be expected. The agency made a late decision to permit public comment and then two days ago changed the location. Moreover, even CIRM board meetings rarely attract more than a handful of people. But again, CIRM makes little attempt to actively publicize directors' meetings.

Public comment sessions are also scheduled for tomorrow and Friday morning. The specifics and location can be found here. 

Three of the persons appearing this morning before the panel had type one diabetes and praised the agency for its search for therapies. One, Jessica Ching, is involved in the medical device and marketing field. She urged the panels to ensure that financing and development of commercial products are the primary goals of CIRM's efforts.

The fourth member of the public was yours truly. I read a statement to the panel urging more openness and transparency on the part of the agency and recommended several specific changes. In response, several members of the panel commented about the importance of openness in generating public trust. One later noted that scientists sometimes have difficulty understanding the need for transparency.

Here is the statement.
Statement by California Stem Cell Report to CIRM External Review Panel

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Thank you for appearing and working to keep this agency accountable. Any agency that has time to construct -- and COMPLETE FREEDOM to submit -- a 29-page statement/report waxing poetic about how great it is (or they are, depending on how you read this 29-page tome) should at least, on balance, allow the public to participate.

    After all, and tell me if I am wrong, didn't the TAXPAYERS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA pay for the manpower to develop this 29-page statement put out by CIRM?

    Your work is vital.