Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Former USC Med School Dean Loses Board Seat at $3 Billion California Stem Cell Agency

Former USC medical school dean Carmen Puliafito, who reportedly led a secret life involving drugs and prostitution, is no longer a member of the governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

In response to a query last week from the California Stem Cell Report, Evan Westrup, press secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown, said,
"This individual is no longer on the board."
Carmen Puliafito
Photo by Tibrina Hobson, FilmMagic

However, as of this writing, the web site for the agency listed Puliafito as a member of the governing board, carrying a short biography and a photo.

In response to a question this morning, Kevin McCormack, senior director for communication for the agency, said,
"If the governor says he is not in the board then he is not on the board. We will change the web page."
The governor's office did not respond to requests last week for more details concerning Puliafito's departure. But his term expired last December. Agency board members may continue to serve until a replacement is named.

The position that Puliafito held on the board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM), as the agency is formally known, is required to be filled by an executive from a California university. Since the inception of the agency in 2004, the seat has been filled by the dean of the USC School of Medicine.

Puliafito (far left) at ceremonies opening stem cell center at
USC. CIRM provided $27 million for the $80 million project.
 Then CIRM board chairman Bob Klein is second from right.
Then Gov. Schwarzenegger stands next to Puliafito, who he
appointed to the CIRM board. 
It is not clear whether the governor will replace Puliafito with another representative from USC. Brown may look askance at the school in the wake of reports about how USC handled the Puliafito affair over a period of more than a year. 

A headline on a column last week by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez said,
"USC bosses flunk the leadership test amid shocking allegations about former medical school dean"
USC ranks 6th among California institution in the amount of awards it has received from CIRM, collecting a total of $110 million.

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