News Release

Monday, October 22, 2007

NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives Welcomes Six New Members

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected six individuals to serve as members of the Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR), the advisory committee to the NIH Director on issues important to the public.

"These new members bring a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in the areas of rural and community health, patient advocacy, health policy, nursing education, and communications, along with a strong commitment to enhancing public participation in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "I am delighted to welcome them to the council and greatly value the significant advice I receive from COPR."

The new members are Naomi Cottoms, M.S. of eastern Arkansas; Elmer Freeman, M.S.W., of Boston; Elizabeth Furlong, J.D., Ph.D., R.N., of Omaha; Brent Jaquet of Washington, D.C.; Matthew Margo, LL.M., of New York City; and Anne Muñoz-Furlong, M.P.H., of Fairfax. See brief biographies attached.

New COPR members will participate as confirmed members at the next COPR meeting, scheduled for Oct. 26, 2007. The meeting will highlight such topics as Researcher-Community Engagement, NIH Pioneer and Innovator Awards, NIH Peer Review Process, and Director’s Council Member reports. Dr. Zerhouni will chair the meeting.

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

2007 New Members to the NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives

Ms. Naomi Cottoms is the director of the Tri County Rural Health Network, Inc. (TCRHN), a nonprofit grassroots organization that works to improve access to health care in the underserved rural counties of Lee, Monroe, and Phillips in eastern Arkansas. TCRHN collaborates with community organizations, including the Phillips County Health and Human Services Department, the Eastern Arkansas Hospice Center, and the Fay Boozman College of Public Health of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. TCRHN connects uninsured or underinsured disabled and elderly clients with available resources, including reduced-cost medicines.

Mr. Elmer Freeman is the executive director of the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. (CCHERS), and an adjunct assistant professor and director of Urban Health Programs and Policy for Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. CCHERS is a network of 15 academic community health centers providing health care access for underserved patients in Boston. Prior to this, Mr. Freeman was executive director of the Whittier Street Health Center for 17 years. He is the co-chair of Critical MASS, a multi-organizational, multicultural, multi-community, statewide coalition to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Massachusetts.

Dr. Beth Furlong is an associate professor at Creighton University's School of Nursing and a faculty associate in the university's Center for Health Policy and Ethics. In 2003, she received the Omicron Delta Kappa Teaching for Tomorrow Award from her students, and she was recognized with the Mary Lucretia Award for supporting women at the university and with two dean's awards for excellence. Dr. Furlong has four decades of experience in community health nursing. She has taught health ethics and related subjects to nurses and physicians in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lithuania, and Armenia. Her international experience includes working as a Peace Corps volunteer in India and Fulbright Fellowships in Jordan and Hungary.

Mr. Brent Jaquet is a senior vice president at Cavarocchi-Ruscio-Dennis (CRD) Associates in Washington, D.C., managing programs in government relations, strategic planning, and public policy. Prior to his current position, he served as senior appropriations aide to Representative C.W. Bill Young of Florida. While working for Representative Young, Mr. Jaquet specialized in health and biomedicine across a wide spectrum of health policy and appropriations issues. His work on behalf of Rep.Young contributed to the enactment of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which reauthorized and expanded the nation's bone marrow registry program to include umbilical cord blood units.

Mr. Matthew Margo is the senior vice president of Program Practices, New York, for the CBS Television Network. As a representative of the media and entertainment industry, Mr. Margo's responsibilities include leading the department that determines and applies CBS Television Network's broadcast policies and guidelines for East Coast entertainment programming and all advertising and public service announcements (PSAs). He supervises the "CBS Cares" campaigns, which have won various media/entertainment industry and health industry awards, including the Paul Rogers Leadership Award. He executive produces the PSAs for CBS, featuring CBS stars discussing a wide variety of causes, including many health issues, such as HIV/AIDS, cancers, heart disease, and mental health.

Ms. Anne Muñoz-Furlong is the chief executive officer of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), which she founded 15 years ago after her daughter was diagnosed with food allergies. FAAN currently has 30,000 members who work to increase public awareness, provide education, advocate, and advance research on behalf of the 12 million Americans with food allergies. Ms. Muñoz-Furlong also founded the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Alliance, made up of lay organizations in nine countries, which works to implement public policy changes on universal issues, such as food labeling and the availability of epinephrine.

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 institutes and centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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