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Stem Cell Board Members Should Attend Meetings or Resign, Consumer Group Says
Date:8/22/2008

g to ICOC minutes, are: Marsha Chandler, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Salk Institute, an executive from a California Research Institute (20 percent); Jonathan Shestack, founder & vice president, Cure Autism Now, patient advocate mental health (20 percent); Tina S. Nova, president and CEO of Genoptix, executive officer of a commercial life science entity (40 percent) and Marcy Feit, president and CEO, Valley Care Health Systems, patient advocate Type II Diabetes, (40 percent).

John Reed, president and CEO of the Burnham Institute, an executive officer from a California Research Institute, has attended no meetings since December. He recused himself from all ICOC deliberations pending the outcome of an investigation by the state ethics board into charges that he improperly tried to influence the awarding of a grant to a researcher affiliated with his institute. The investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission was requested by Consumer Watchdog and State Controller John Chiang.

Under Proposition 71, which created the state stem cell agency, members who hold their seats because they are representatives of universities, research institutes and life sciences entities may designate an executive from their organization to represent them at meetings. There is no provision for patient advocate ICOC members to send a designee. Some academic board members take full advantage of the provision allowing designees to represent them.

Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of UC Berkeley, an executive officer from a California University, has attended no ICOC meetings this year, sending Robert Price in his place. Nonetheless, Consumer Watchdog's analysis credits Birgeneau with 100 percent attendance because his seat on the board was represented at every meeting. Another member taking advantage this ability was Ricardo Azziz, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai, an executive officer from a California Re
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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