Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time to Nominate Members for the IOM Study of the California Stem Cell Agency

The prestigious Institute of Medicine is looking for a few good men and women to evaluate whether the $3 billion California stem cell agency is operating at "peak performance" and to determine whether improvements are necessary.

While the IOM has not yet put out a public call for nominations, it has asked for some from the agency, which is paying nearly $700,000 for the 17-month study. Adrienne Stith Butler, study director for the CIRM project, said, however, anyone can suggest a person for the panel, including biotech firms, scientists and the public. Fourteen persons are to be named to the study panel this summer.

According to an IOM document on the study process, the institute is looking for a range of expertise and a "balance of perspectives." Provisional committee members will be screened for conflicts of interest. The IOM distinguishes between conflicts and points of view.

According to the IOM,
"A point of view or bias is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Committee members are expected to have points of view, and the National Academies attempt to balance these points of view in a way deemed appropriate for the task. Committee members are asked to consider respectfully the viewpoints of other members, to reflect their own views rather than be a representative of any organization, and to base their scientific findings and conclusions on the evidence. Each committee member has the right to issue a dissenting opinion to the report if he or she disagrees with the consensus of the other members."
The largest expenditure in the $700,000 IOM study budget is for salaries, $261,516. Other expenditures include program direction, management and space costs, $135,346; general administration costs, $121,482; travel, $103,964, with reports, technology/communication, meeting and other expenses making up the remainder.

The initial work on the study appears to be information gathering and selection of members of the study committee. The first public meeting is expected to be held this fall in Washington, D.C. Nominations for the study panel can be emailed to Stith Butler at Astith(at) Sphere: Related Content

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