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December 18, 2000 



Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala has appointed Robert R. Rich, M.D., executive associate dean of research in Emory University School of Medicine, to the new National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee. As one of 12 committee members, Dr. Rich will advise the secretary and other department officials on issues pertaining to responsible conduct of human research and protection of human subjects.

"The recent explosion in biomedical research has presented new challenges and created new potential ethical dilemmas," Secretary Shalala said. "The advice and insights we receive from this new committee will be invaluable in helping us achieve our goal of further strengthening government oversight in protecting individuals who volunteer to participate in human research studies."

Secretary Shalala established the advisory committee in June 2000 along with the new HHS Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), which replaced the former Office for Protection from Research Risks at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The creation of the advisory committee and OHRP was one of several new initiatives to further strengthen protections of human research subjects in clinical trials, including those involving gene transfer. The departmentŐs actions are designed to heighten government oversight of biomedical research and to reinforce to research institutions their responsibility to oversee their clinical researchers and institutional review boards (IRBs).

The appointment of Dr. Rich by Secretary Shalala is his second major national scientific appointment this year. On July 1, Dr. Rich was named president-elect of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States, composed of 20 scientific societies with more than 60,000 members. Dr. Rich will become FASEB president on July 1, 2001, a role in which he will strive to improve the quality of the research partnership between the federal government and universities.

Dr. Rich received his medical degree from the University of Kansas in 1966, then completed his internship and residency at the University of Washington and fellowships in immunology at the NIH and Harvard Medical School. In 1973 he joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine. From 1977 to 1991 he was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1995 he was appointed Distinguished Service Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Medicine at Baylor. Dr. Rich served as vice president and dean of research at Baylor College of Medicine from 1990 to 1998 before moving to Emory.


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