Welcome and Overview of Agenda: Eric Meslin, Ph.D.
DR. MESLIN: [Opening remarks and administrative details] ... Dr. Childress and Dr. Cassell suggest that we have another look at the Belmont Report, not only because this document has had such an enduring legacy in bioethics and public policy in this country and elsewhere, but because there is an anniversary next year, 20 years since it was published by the Office for Protection from Research Risks following completion by the National Commission.
Dr. Childress and Dr. Cassell have been working on an idea which is not even a full proposal yet, but an idea for bringing that forward and Professor Capron was kind enough to offer some comments just as late as last evening.
There will be time during the course of the Commission meeting, more likely toward the end of the day today and toward the end of the day tomorrow, when Commissioners will have an opportunity to talk about these three projects in detail and to reflect on them. Weíre hoping that by presenting you with two memos on the day of your arrival, we will not discourage you from thinking about these items. I apologize that we couldnít get them to you sooner.
And the last item, really more of a housekeeping item, is to let both the public and Commissioners know that we have our dates and our locations set for the remaining meetings for this calendar year and materials are available outside the door. Weíll be meeting on the 14th and 15th of July in Portland, Oregon, in the Oregon Ballroom, if youíre interested in making your reservations; on September the 16th and 17th weíll be meeting again in the Washington, D.C. area, this time in Alexandria, Virginia; and then in November we will be meeting in Miami, Florida, on the 17th and 18th. Again, these materials are available on the desk outside.
We have also been circulating our draft plan for the meeting dates for 1999, and you have received materials from Henrietta Hyatt-Knorr asking for dates and availability. Once those are confirmed, we will also be discussing with Commissioners whether the cities from which they hail might be appropriate locations. But itís our intention to still mix our meeting locations so that there is adequate meeting time in the Washington, D.C. area, but also, in keeping with the National Commission, that we try and move about the country in an appropriate way.
So those are the items that I wanted to include in my Executive Directorís Report. If there are any questions that the Commissioners have, Iíd be pleased to address them now. And if there arenít, weíll be able to turn to our agenda.
PROF. CHARO: A couple of questions on the status of things. Whatís the status of the Federal Agencies Report? I understand that you were discussing this in Washington on Friday and I was wondering if you would brief us as well on that.
DR. MESLIN: The staff has been working on a report that began some time ago, which was examining the extent to which Federal agencies were implementing the Common Rule. This report has been called the Federal Agencies Survey, for lack of a better expression. That staff report is close to being done from the data collection side. There are a couple more interviews to do. But we expect that a draft version of the staff report will be available within the next month to six weeks.
Itís our intention to distribute that report to Commissioners for their benefit. But more specifically, as I briefed the interagency committee last week, we are intending to share that report with the agencies themselves in a, hopefully, very collaborative and consultative way so that factual materials can be clarified and, more hopefully, any constructive suggestions for implementing what the report finds can be taken. The working idea, however, is that the report, which of course will be widely available once itís produced, might best be seen as an integration into the Comprehensive Human Subjects Project which, again, is the two-page memo in the folders that weíve handed to you.
We expect that the staff draft will be available within the next month to six weeks. We are also developing a proposal for consulting with Federal agencies or perhaps having them come to a Commission meeting and sharing with us thoughts for how to implement some of the findings. But the status of the report is, even though I donít want to put a percentage on it, 97.3 percent done.
PROF. CHARO: And on the cloning report, is there a finalized version that is going to be released sometime?
DR. MESLIN: Yes. I donít know if Henrietta wants to speak to that, but the good news is we did the final edits and I believeódo you want to give a quick update on what our expected publication time is for that?
MS. HYATT-KNORR: I would think probably another three weeks.
PROF. CHARO: The last thing is just a question about the timing. In light of the expansion of the agenda on the international topics, do I still understand correctly that weíre going to try to finish the existing workload before we take on any other projects?
DR. MESLIN: Yes.
PROF. CHARO: Okay. Thanks.
DR. MESLIN: Any other questions?
I neglected to mention, Commissioners may be aware of this, but some of our members are not here. Dr. Lo is unable to come, Professor Backlar is going to be available by telephone at 10:15, and Ms. Flynn will not be able to attend. Those three members are not in attendance but one of them will be joining us by conference call.
Professor Murray is en route. Which is ironic, given that this is his host city. But when he arrives, if you can wait for that moment, I will explain why he was late and I think youíll agree that it was a well-deserving reason to be late. The Chair will be arriving shortly, and Steve Holtzman is en route as far as we know, and Larry Miike is en route as far as we know. So we are going to begin with the complement that we have at about seven minutes after the hour.
Our agenda today and tomorrow consists of three parts. The first part is the Commissionís continuing interest in international issues, and the second and third parts relate to the reports as described.
I want to turn the meeting over now to Alex Capron, who attended a meeting a week ago, to describe some of the work of the UNAIDS consultation that occurred in Washington, D.C.