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Steering Committee Conference Call Minutes

April 13, 2007  1:00PM


I. Introductions

Steering committee members present: Barbara Harper, Bill Hayes, Brian Howard, Phil Wexler, Michael Dourson, Mike Honeycutt, Ruthann Rudel,

Alternates present: Santhini Ramasamy for Ed Ohanian

Others: Andy Maier, Oliver Kroner, Drew Rak   

II. Review of Minutes

No changes suggested.  Approved minutes will be posted on ARA website.

III. Reports form ARA Leadership Team

“Risk Information Exchange” (RiskIE) has been selected as the new name for the Hazard Assessment Notification System (HANS).  RiskIE will ultimately be housed at the National Library of Medicine.  A beta version of RiskIE is currently available on the ARA website.  Comments from the Steering Committee are welcome. 

Efforts continue to spread the word of the ARA, including most recently at a successful meeting of the Society of Toxicology.

IV. Old Business

As an action item from the last meeting, the ARA Leadership team prepared additional details regarding the anticipated role of the Steering Committee and criteria upon which they can evaluate incoming project requests.  A summary of proposed criteria were provided for review by the Steering committee.  The criteria involve 3 considerations – Mission, Conflict of Interest, and Prioritization of project requests.  Key points from the discussions are noted below.

  1. Mission
    1. No substantive changes recommended.
    2. Suggested revisions will be emailed to Oliver (Kroner@tera.org)
  2. Conflict of Interest
    1. ARA Leadership Team is working to build an ARA COI policy modeled from elements of EPA, NAS, SAB, and OMB policies.  It was recommended to also consider the NIH COI policy.
    2. Three potential types of COI the Steering Committee may have to consider in their deliberations include

                                                              i.      The project conflicts with the mission of the ARA.

                                                            ii.      Conflicts arise over which non-profit partner should/ is able to accept ARA projects.

                                                          iii.      Steering Committee members are conflicted due to their affiliation with an organization proposing a project.

    1. It was noted that legal protection for Steering Committee members is provided via TERA’s/ ARA’s non-profit status in the State of Ohio.  However, the ARA Leadership team will consult legal expertise to confirm this and further verify that the role of the Steering Committee is not as a FACA committee.
  1. Prioritization
    1. In prioritizing incoming projects, it was agreed that a general list of considerations is more useful that a set of formal weighted criteria.
    2. The statement “shopping for a different value” in the current wording drew scrutiny, and was decided to be reworded.  Ruthann Rudel, Phil Wexler, and Bill Hayes volunteered to produce an improved text.
    3. A flowchart mapping the roles of the Leadership Team, the Steering Committee, and the Non-Profit Partners was provided and critiqued.

                                                              i.      Concern was raised over the allocation of projects among the non-Profit Partners.  It was noted that an agreement is already in place that delegates work according to:

1.      Steering Committee advice regarding COI issues

2.      the fit of the scope of work with the expertise within each organization

3.      the effort put forth to bring in the work to the ARA.

                                                            ii.      It was noted that the ARA process is meant to be inclusive and therefore work allocation s likely to go well beyond the current non-profit partners and collaborators.

    1. It was asked that the ARA Leadership Team develop a High/Medium/Low prioritization scheme to facilitate Steering Committee project screening as part of their work in developing project review packages.

v. Good & Welfare

TERA will be holding an open house April 29, 2007.  Steering Committee Members were invited.  

VI. Next Meeting

The next ARA Steering Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, at 1:00PM EST.   ARA Leadership Team will present proposed projects for the Steering Committee’s evaluation.  We expect to have a full slate of project requests for review at the next meeting.