The federal government relies on scientific studies to craft regulations intended to protect the health and safety of American workers, the general public, and our environment. But amid charges of ideology-driven agendas and politicization of science, already-tenuous public faith in the regulatory process can easily be lost.
What can be done to improve the process, to ensure that the widest possible range of knowledge and expertise is utilized, that conflicts of interest and inappropriate influence are minimized, and that science is used appropriately to help inform public policy? This event explored ways to make the regulatory process more open, consistent, and credible to all stakeholders.
Josh Trapani, Susan Wood, Michael Holsapple, Carol Henry, and Jennifer Sass made up the distinguished panel of experts that were brought together to explore this question and more on October 27. Paul E. Almeida introduced the session.
SPEAKER BIOS & VIDEO OF Q & A
Paul E. Almeida
Paul E. Almeida chairs PftPI, is the president of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE), a coalition of 23 national unions representing some 4 million highly skilled professional and technical workers. Prior to joining DPE in 2001, Mr. Almeida served as president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), a position he held since 1994.
Mr. Almeida received his degree in engineering from Franklin Institute of Boston and was employed by Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation in Boston from 1971 to 1994. During that time, he worked as a Senior Electrical Designer, and was IFPTE’s Local 105 Divisional President, a position he served in until 1994. Mr. Almeida serves on policy committees of the AFL-CIO including: Vice Chair of the immigration committee; and member of the education and training, legislative and public policy, international affairs, organizing, strategic approaches, and women workers committees. Mr. Almeida is a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute, the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL), the Labor Advisory Board of American Income Life, and the Volunteer Services Advisory Committee at Children’s National Medical Center. He is also past board member of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) and the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy to the U.S. Trade Representative.
Josh Trapani is a senior policy analyst at the Association of American Universities. Previously, he served as associate director for research at the National Commission on Energy Policy and as staff director of the Science for Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. From 2006-2008, he was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow on the Policy Analysis staff of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. He was also a congressional fellow for the American Geophysical Union from 2005-2006, working for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Dr. Trapani received a B.A. in anthropology and a B.S. in geology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado. His research has taken him to sites throughout the United States, as well as to Mexico and the Omo Valley of Ethiopia. He has published a dozen peer-reviewed papers, as well as articles on science and policy.
Susan Wood is associate professor of health policy and director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. She worked in several capacities on womens’ health issues for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving from 2000-2005 as assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health, a position from which she resigned on principle over the continued delay of approval of emergency contraception over-the-counter by FDA. From 1990-1995, she worked for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, initially as science advisor and later as deputy director, where she helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act. Dr. Wood received her Ph.D. in biology at the Boston University Marine Biological Laboratory and has been a research scientist in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her many honors include the National Institute of Mental Health National Research Service Award, the Assistant Secretary for Health’s Superior Service Award, the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, the Keystone Award in Women’s Health Research, and the Biophysical Society Congressional Science Fellowship.
Michael Holsapple is a toxicologist with over 30 years of experience. In addition to being the 2010 president of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), he is currently the executive director of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI), the global branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), where he has facilitated the organization’s emergence as a recognized global leader in advancing the state-of-the-science of safety and risk assessment. Dr. Holsapple has published over 150 manuscripts and chapters, and is a recipient of the SOT Achievement Award in 1992 and the Vos Award – Career Achievement in Immunotoxicology in 2009. He has served on the SOT Council and on the Council of the American College of Toxicology and is a fellow in the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Dr. Holsapple received his graduate training in pharmacology and toxicology from Purdue University. From 1983-1994 he served on the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, and from 1994-2002, he worked in the Toxicology, Environmental Research and Consulting Laboratories at the Dow Chemical Company.
Carol Henry is a professorial lecturer at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and a consultant to the Society of Automotive Engineers International. In 2007, Dr. Henry retired as vice president, Industry Performance Programs, at the American Chemistry Council. Previously, she served as director of the American Petroleum Institute’s Health and Environmental Sciences Department; associate deputy assistant secretary for Science and Risk Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy; and director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Among her many professional responsibilities, she chairs the Federal Advisory Committee for the National Children’s Study and serves on the National Research Council’s Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and the Environmental Health Perspectives Editorial Board. Dr. Henry received her doctorate in microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Princeton University, and Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology, of which she has also been president.
Jennifer Sass is a senior scientist in the Health and Environment program of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all living things. Dr. Sass is also a professorial lecturer at George Washington University. For NRDC, she oversees the U.S. government regulations of industrial chemicals and pesticides and assesses the data underlying the regulatory decisions. Dr. Sass has degrees in anatomy and cell biology from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and in toxicology from the University of Maryland. She has published over three dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals, presented testimony to the U.S. Congress, and participated on U.S. government scientific advisory and stakeholder committees.
Speaker Question & Answer Session