NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives Welcomes Four New Members
Bethesda, Maryland The National Institutes of Health
(NIH) has selected individuals to serve as members of the Director's
Council of Public Representatives (COPR), a committee that advises
the NIH Director on issues of public importance. They join the 16
current members of the Council.
"I am very pleased to welcome the new members to the NIH and
to COPR," said NIH Director Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "These
new members bring a wealth of knowledge and professional experience
in the areas of public service, health care, medicine, underserved
communities, screenwriting, and the visual media, as well as a strong
commitment to the advancement of public health and medical research."
The new members are Craig T. Beam of Orange, California; Wendy
Chaite of Roslyn, New York; R. Michael Hill of Panama City, Florida;
and James Kearns of Woodland Hills, California.
Craig T. Beam's family health history inspired him to join the
American Heart Association and he served as chairman of the group
in 2002-2003. He is a partner with the largest U.S. health care
development firm, Hammes Company, overseeing the development and
management of real estate, especially health care and institutional
projects. He has worked with several hospitals and major medical
groups. His active participation in health care issues and his professional
experience in health care have given him insight into dynamic changes
occurring in the industry. He was appointed an Endowed Fellow by
the National Health Foundation in 1998.
Wendy Chaite, whose daughter was born with lymphatic disease and
lymphedema, is president of the non-profit Lymphatic Research Foundation,
which she founded. Ms. Chaite is also an officer of the board of
Research!America, the nation's leading research advocacy organization.
She previously worked as a lawyer, adjunct professor of law, and
fundraiser for the United Way of Tri-State. She also spent years
working with special needs populations. For her efforts in promoting
lymphatic research, she was recognized by Research!America at the
National Academy of Sciences and was featured in Newsday
as a "Newsday Everyday Hero."
Robert Michael (Mike) Hill is executive director of the Northwest
Florida and Big Bend Health Councils, which serve 18 counties in
northwest Florida. He is also president of the Florida Association
of Health Planning Agencies. His constituents include racial and
ethnic minorities, the economically disadvantaged and their children,
the elderly, and migrant and seasonal farm workers. Many of them,
including several of Mr. Hill's relatives and friends, have suffered
cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and end-stage
renal disease. Mr. Hill is also executive director of Hill and Company,
Inc., a consulting firm specializing in health care, among other
James Kearns is an award-winning screenwriter whose work includes
the screenplay for John Q., a feature film starring Denzel Washington.
The film addresses issues of the medically underserved and other
problems inherent in the health care delivery system. Mr. Kearns
believes that tackling world health issues is critical to the nation's
well being. He is a member of the nonprofit Entertainment Industries
Council that, in partnership with the National Institute on Drug
Abuse and others, created the PRISM awards to recognize the accurate
depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco use, and addiction in various
media. He is also a member of the Center for Community Change in
Washington, D.C. that aims to combat at poverty in America.
New COPR members joined the full Council for their first meeting
on April 29-30, 2004, at the NIH campus. The meeting highlighted
topics such as the role of public trust in medical research and
clinical trials, and how NIH solicits public input into its operations,
including the research priority setting process. NIH Director Elias
Zerhouni, M.D., chaired the meeting. The COPR next meets in the
The COPR brings important matters of public interest forward for
discussion and advises and assists in enhancing public participation
in NIH activities and in increasing public understanding of NIH.
Additional information is available at www.getinvolved.nih.gov.
The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes
and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at
NIH, and is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning,
managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the
NIH components. The NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.