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Executive Summary

A Capitol Hill staffer with extensive AIDS policy experience is one of three transition officials chosen to evaluate key NIH policy issues requiring attention within the first 90 to 180 days of the incoming Clinton administration. Steve Morin, a member of Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) staff, heads the transition team's AIDS cluster group. He is joined by Jordan Cohen, dean of the School of Medicine at the State University of New York at Stonybrook, and Thomas Sparks, an attorney specializing in biotechnology, securities and venture capital issues with the San Francisco firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. The three-member NIH group is part of a nine-member team that fanned out across the Public Health Service to conduct interviews with top officials, agency heads and institute directors during the first two weeks of December. NIH issues highlighted during the discussions include the NIH strategic plan, fetal tissue transplantation research and ongoing, as well as planned, research on violence prevention. An NIH briefing document prepared by Morin, Cohen and Sparks is being submitted to President-elect Clinton and to HHS Secretary- designate Donna Shalala. Other members of the PHS transition team are: John Jonas, of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow; Linda Randolph, a professor in the Department of Community Medicine at New York's Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and former public health director with the New York State Department of Health; Myra Snyder, San Francisco deputy mayor for Health and Human Services; Phyllis Greenberger, Associate Director of Governmental Relations at the American Psychiatric Association; David Jackson, president of AssurQual, a medical consulting and software firm, and former director of the Ohio Department of Health; and Ronald Weich, chief counsel for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. The PHS team is directed by William Corr, staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary/Antitrust Subcommittee ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 14, p. 3). The PHS group reports to an HHS team that includes New Jersey Office of Management and Planning Chief of Staff Brenda Bacon. Former Rep. Thomas Downey (D-N.Y.) is charged with coordinating audits of HHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the incoming administration ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 30, p. 5). In preparing its briefing document, the PHS transition group drew upon the work of PHS staff, which developed a separate analysis of the agency's mission, organization and programs. Coordinated by HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Planning and Evaluation James Friedman and completed during the week of Dec. 7, the document includes a section on PHS agency mission statements, short biographies on current institute and bureau directors, and a section that summarizes cross-cutting policy issues, AIDS and "Healthy People 2000" objectives. In its evaluation of NIH, the PHS document examines current policy on fetal tissue transplantation research; patenting of cDNA sequences; conflict of interest regulations now being developed; the NIH strategic plan; technology transfer; the "reasonable pricing" clause included in joint private/public Cooperative Research and Development Agreements; and indirect research cost revisions. In addition to providing an overview of current federal AIDS services, prevention and research efforts, the AIDS section discusses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's AIDS surveillance case definition, the National Commission on AIDS, current immigration policy on HIV-positive individuals, and AIDS vaccine liability as it relates to clinical trials. Other issues featured in the PHS staff analysis include minority health and women's health programs and policies, violence prevention research, risk assessment, adolescent health, mammogram legislation, emergency preparedness and the pending Senior Biomedical Research Service reorganization.

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