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Thursday, June 26, 2003


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Jennifer Gorman Vetter,
NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR)
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NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives Welcomes Nine New Members

Bethesda, Maryland — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected nine 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 12 current members of the Council.

"I am very pleased to welcome the nine new members to the NIH and to COPR," said NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, M.D. "These new members bring a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in the areas of medicine, public service, journalism, and public affairs as well as a strong commitment to the advancement of public health and medical research."

The new members are James J. Armstrong of Sagamore Hills, Ohio; Ruth C. Browne, M.P.P., M.P.H., Sc.D., of Brooklyn, New York; Barbara D. Butler of St. Louis, Missouri; Frances J. Dunston, M.D., M.P.H., of Atlanta, Georgia; Rafael Gonzalez-Amezcua, M.D., of San Francisco, California; Jim Jensen of Lincoln, Nebraska; Dawna Torres Mughal, Ph.D., R.D., of Erie, Pennsylvania; William D. Novelli of Bethesda, Maryland; and Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., of Washington, DC.

James J. Armstrong is the Director of News and Information at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where he works with journalists from around the globe to bring their readers, listeners, and viewers the latest news in medicine. Mr. Armstrong has worked in radio, television news, and public affairs for more than 25 years and has earned three local Emmy awards for his work as a television journalist, including a 13-year stint overseeing news coverage at local Cleveland television station WKYC-TV. Mr. Armstrong is also an advocate of health education and has a special interest in heart and kidney disease. He has been involved in many health-related public awareness campaigns, including efforts to promote colorectal and prostate cancer screening.

Ruth C. Browne, M.P.P., M.P.H., Sc.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the College of Health Related Professions and the Department of Preventive Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) since the organization was founded in 1993. Dr. Browne's commitment to community health empowerment is evident in her work with AAIUH, where she has created behavioral health intervention programs in low-income communities of color. These intervention programs make use of lay leadership in churches, schools, beauty salons, barbershops, tattoo and body piercing salons, and laundromats. She has also held diverse program, research, and health policy positions.

Barbara D. Butler was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus at the age of 22 and has since become an advocate for lupus patients and their families. She was an original member of the Board of Directors for the Lupus Foundation of America and chaired its Public Relations Committee, where she was responsible for developing the first series of radio and television public service announcements featuring a nationally recognized spokeswoman. Ms. Butler has received many local and national awards for her work and remains an active and passionate advocate for federal funding of medical research and professional training.

Frances J. Dunston, M.D., M.P.H., is Chairperson of the Department of Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine, where she is a Professor of Pediatrics and of Community Health and Preventive Medicine (Secondary). She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is board certified in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine. Her publications and research interests address health services delivery for poor and medically underserved children. Dr. Dunston served as New Jersey's State Commissioner of Health, a cabinet-level position responsible for state health policies, health regulation, health planning, and public health services. She has also served as Assistant State Health Commissioner in Virginia and as Director of Public Health in Richmond, Virginia.

Rafael Gonzalez-Amezcua, M.D., hosts a live TV weekly medical segment during the evening newscast for Univision's KDTV Channel 14 in San Francisco, California. He is also a clinical instructor in medicine at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine and a staff physician for On Lok SeniorHealth, which offers comprehensive medical and support services to the frail elderly via an interdisciplinary team approach. His involvement in the delivery of care to the frail elderly in a predominantly Hispanic community has led him to participate in other areas of health care delivery. He was one of the founding members of the Medical Scientific Advisory Committee to the Alzheimer's Association of the Greater San Francisco Bay area and has participated in several community forums to educate providers, patients, and families about Alzheimer's Dementia.

Senator Jim Jensen was elected to the 20th District of Nebraska in 1994 and has since worked to improve health care for Nebraskans. He has introduced significant health care legislation as the chairperson of the Health and Human Services Committee of the Nebraska Legislature, which is currently involved in a broad evaluation and planning study of publicly funded health and human services in the state. Much of Senator Jensen's work is devoted to Medicaid-related issues; for instance, he is the chair of the Medicaid Reform Task Force, which he established in response to the increasing Medicaid costs and Nebraska's budgetary shortfalls, and is a member of the Nebraska Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Project Advisory Committee.

Dawna Torres Mughal, Ph.D., R.D., is Associate Professor and Dietetics Program Director at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, as well as Director of the Consortium Coordinated Program in Dietetics of three neighboring academic institutions. She is a registered dietitian and is certified as a charter Fellow of the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Her research and professional interests in foods and nutrition include aging, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, intellectual disabilities, patient/client education, and women's health. Dr. Mughal has held leadership positions in the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association as well as in the ADA. She has also extended her volunteer work to the international community as the secretary and a member of the Steering Committee of the Special Interest Research Group on Aging and Intellectual Disabilities.

William D. Novelli is Executive Director and CEO of AARP, a membership organization of more than 35 million people aged 50 and older, half of whom remain actively employed. Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Novelli was President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, whose mandate is to change public policies and the social environment and limit marketing and sales practices to children; he now serves as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Novelli was also Executive Vice President of CARE, the world's largest private relief and development organization. In addition, he co-founded and was President of Porter Novelli, now one of the world's largest public relations agencies. Mr. Novelli is a recognized leader in social marketing and has managed programs in cancer control, diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, infant survival, and other programs in the United States and the developing world.

Ellen V. Sigal, Ph.D., is the founder and chairperson of Friends of Cancer Research, as well as President of the Creative Community Task Force for Cancer Research. Her philanthropic and public pursuits for these two organizations are aimed at the eradication of cancer through public awareness, education, and advocacy on the benefits of cancer research. Dr. Sigal also serves on the National Cancer Institute's Board of Scientific Advisors and is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research, where she has been appointed to serve on their Strategic Planning and Development Committee. In addition, Dr. Sigal is a board member of the ASCO Foundation and serves on the National Dialogue on Cancer, where she is a member of the cancer research team.

New COPR members joined the full Council for their first meeting on April 24, 2003, at the NIH campus. The meeting highlighted topics such as the NIH Road Map Initiative and a report on the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. This was the second COPR meeting chaired by Dr. Zerhouni, M.D. The COPR next will meet at the NIH in October 2003.

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 the NIH. Additional information is available at http://copr.nih.gov.


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