Committee on Public Affairs

The nine members of the AAI Committee on Public Affairs (CPA) are appointed by Council on staggered three-year terms. The Executive Director serves as a non-voting, ex officio member. Representatives from other groups with which AAI may establish public affairs liaison may be appointed as non-voting members of the committee as needed. The role of the committee is to:
  • Develop a consistent position on policy issues that are relevant to the field of immunology and that impact AAI;
  • Monitor existing and pending legislation, the implementation of public laws, and actions by federal executive departments as reflected in proposed and existing regulations and their implementation;
  • Coordinate membership participation in this effort by organizing their responses and activities;
  • Devise ways to educate those in government and the lay-public about the field of immunology;
  • Maintain liaison with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology ("FASEB") Public Affairs office and with other organizations whose public affairs goals are consistent with those of AAI.

COMMITTEE MISSION


The AAI Committee on Public Affairs will identify, analyze, and, as appropriate, respond to policy, legislative, and regulatory initiatives that are of interest to immunologists or to biomedical researchers in general. The CPA will lead the public policy efforts of AAI and interact with relevant government officials and other professional organizations/societies, always advocating for the best interests of science and working to improve the professional lives of immunologists.

The CPA will:

  1. monitor and analyze federal legislation, regulations (proposed and/or existing), and budgets that may impact AAI members and science as a whole, and take action as needed;
  2. maintain and/or create contacts/liaisons with Congress, federal agencies, and other professional societies/like-minded organizations, and work as necessary to advance mutual interests; and
  3. represent and apprise AAI members regarding issues of professional concern, and assist members in informing their elected representatives and their communities about those issues.

 

Ross M. Kedl, Ph.D. (’21), Chair
Professor
University of Colorado
Department of Immunology and Microbiology
Ross Kedl website

Judy L. Cannon, Ph.D. (’20)
Associate Professor
University of New Mexico School of Medicine
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Judy Cannon website

Ling Cao, M.D., Ph.D. (’20)
Professor
University of New England
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Ling Cao website

Joshua J. Obar, Ph.D. (’20)
Associate Professor
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Joshua Obar website

Gretchen E. Diehl, Ph.D. (’21)
Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine
Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology
Gretchen Diehl website

Kristin A. Hogquist, Ph.D. (’21)
David M. Brown Professor and Vice Chair for Research
University of Minnesota
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Kristin Hogquist website

Cherié L. Butts, Ph.D. (’22)
Medical Director and Head, Human Biology Research – Digital & Quantitative Medicine
Biogen
Cherié Butts website

Jonathan A. Deane, Ph.D. (’22)
Senior Investigator I
The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation
Jonathan Deane website

Peter E. Jensen, M.D. ('22)
ARUP Presidential Professor and Chair
University of Utah
Department of Pathology
Peter Jensen website

M. Michele Hogan, Ph.D. (Ex officio)
Executive Director
The American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
www.aai.org

Advocacy Programs Subcommittee

The Advocacy Programs Subcommittee is responsible for planning and hosting two programs:

  1. the annual AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP), by
    1. overseeing the application process, including determining applicant eligibility;
    2. reviewing applications and recommending participants to the full CPA; and
    3. undertaking other tasks related to making the program successful.
  2. the AAI Research Advocacy Program (RAP), by
    1. overseeing the program;
    2. preparing and giving presentations which teach program participants about the immune system; and
    3. undertaking other tasks related to making the program successful.
    The RAP may take place annually or less frequently, and may be modified to address AAI advocacy goals.

2019-2020 Subcommittee Members

Judy Cannon, Chair
Cherié Butts
Jonathan Deane
Gretchen Diehl
Kristen Hogquist
Joshua Obar
Ross Kedl, ex officio


NIH Subcommittee

The NIH Subcommittee is responsible for analyzing NIH programs/activities and for recommending actions/positions to the CPA on designated issues involving NIH, including:

  • scientific priorities, including portfolio analysis;
  • grant submission and peer review;
  • grant mechanisms and funding distribution;
  • organizational structure;
  • the composition of, and support for, the biomedical research workforce;
  • sexual harassment in science;
  • foreign influences on research integrity; and
  • other topics to be determined by the CPA and subcommittee chair.

2019-2020 Subcommittee Members

Peter Jensen, Chair
Cherié Butts
Judy Cannon
Ling Cao
Gretchen Diehl
Kristin Hogquist
Ross Kedl, ex officio


Public Health and Biosecurity Subcommittee

The Public Health and Biosecurity Subcommittee monitors and recommends action, as needed, to the CPA regarding potential and actual legislative, regulatory, and policy changes affecting the following (and other related) areas:

  • biosecurity laboratories (including personnel issues)
  • bioterrorism/“dual use research”(life sciences research that can be used for nefarious purposes)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (including appropriations for the CDC immunology program); fostering better relations with CDC/CDC scientists; and alerting relevant CDC scientists to the value of AAI membership
  • pandemics/influenza
  • public health (as relates to immunology)
  • select agents and toxins
  • vaccines, including vaccine hesitancy

2019-2020 Subcommittee Members

Joshua Obar, Chair
Ling Cao
Jonathan Deane
Peter Jensen
Ross Kedl, ex officio

  1. Advocate for increased and predictable funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, as appropriate, other relevant federal funding agencies. Explain the harm caused by sequestration and inflation.
  2. Advocate for increased immunological research and explain its importance to preventing, treating, and curing disease.
  3. Monitor, advocate, and/or comment on federal legislation/federal agency actions impacting immunologists and/or biomedical research, including legislation/actions which may affect
    • the AAI publications: The Journal of Immunology and/or ImmunoHorizons;
    • the NIH peer review process;
    • the NIH portfolio (particularly the balance between basic and clinical or translational research, and between individual investigator-initiated research and “big science”);
    • the national priority areas of biodefense and pandemic research; and/or
    • the nation’s ability to attract, retain, train, and address the needs of a diverse scientific workforce.
  4. Support and promote the ability of scientists to use animals in research in a humane manner.
  5. Inform members of Congress about issues that are important to AAI and encourage them to take on leadership roles in the area of biomedical research.
  6. Maintain existing and foster new relationships with key NIH officials.
  7. Work in coalition with FASEB, other scientific societies, and other organizations, including patient advocacy groups, to advance the AAI agenda.
  8. Work to better understand the perspectives of all AAI members, including those working in government and industry.
  9. Report to, and consult with, the AAI Council on a regular basis to ensure that AAI leaders are apprised of important issues affecting AAI and of key activities of the CPA.
  10. Engage each member of the CPA on issue(s) of interest to him/her and to the AAI membership.
  11. Inform the AAI membership of committee activities and of issues important to the conduct of research; encourage all AAI members, and particularly trainees and early career members, to become advocates for the profession.
  12. Maintain a robust AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP) and engage current and, as appropriate, former fellows in AAI advocacy.

IMMUNOLOGY 2019™

The CPA sponsored two sessions at IMMUNOLOGY 2019™, both chaired by CPA Chair David Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D. The first session, “Advocating for Biomedical Research: We’ve Done it and So Can You!,” featured a panel of AAI members from a variety of careers stages who have engaged in science advocacy: Wayne Yokoyama, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Pamela Fink, Ph.D., University of Washington; Lisa Borghesi, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh; Jason Gigley, Ph.D., University of Wyoming; and, Mariana Guerra Maupome, D.V.M., Ph.D., Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The CPA’s second session, cosponsored by the AAI Minority Affairs Committee and the AAI Committee on the Status of Women, was entitled “Fostering Diversity and Preventing Harassment in the Biomedical Research Workforce.” The session featured remarks from Elizabeth Hillman, J.D. Ph.D., President of Mills College; Hannah Valantine, M.D., NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity; and, Avery August, Ph.D., HHMI Professor, Professor of Immunology, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Cornell University. Their presentations are available on the AAI website (Dr. Hillman's presentation, Dr. Valantine's presentation, and Dr. August's presentation).


IMMUNOLOGY 2018™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2018™ the CPA sponsored a session entitled “Town Hall Meeting on NIH Efforts to Fund the Next Generation: Progress, Challenges, and Future Directions.” The session, which was chaired by CPA Chair Beth Garvy, Ph.D., featured presentations by NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Vice Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine Gary Koretzky, M.D. Ph.D., and Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine Judy Cannon, Ph.D.


IMMUNOLOGY 2017™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2017™, the CPA sponsored a session/town hall meeting entitled “Biomedical Research Priorities in the New Administration and Congress.” The event was chaired by CPA Chair Beth Garvy, Ph.D., and featured Science magazine staff writer Jocelyn Kaiser, chair of the CPA NIH Subcommittee David Chaplin, M.D., Ph.D., and AAI Vice President Wayne Yokoyama, M.D.


IMMUNOLOGY 2016™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2016™, the CPA hosted a session entitled “Hot Topics in NIH Funding and Research Policy.” The event featured presentations by CSR Director Richard Nakamura, Ph.D., NIA Director Richard Hodes, M.D., and former AAI President Gail Bishop, Ph.D., and was Chaired by CPA Chair Clifford Harding, M.D., Ph.D. Read more ►


IMMUNOLOGY 2015™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2015™, the CPA hosted a session entitled “Funding for Immunology Research: Non-Federal Opportunities and NIAID Program Update.” The session, which was chaired by CPA Chair Clifford Harding, M.D., Ph.D., featured presentations by William Chambers, Ph.D. (American Cancer Society), Gwen Nguyen (Indiegogo), Bruce Walker, M.D. (Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard), and Daniel Rotrosen, M.D. (NIAID). Read more ►


IMMUNOLOGY 2014™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2014™, the CPA hosted a session entitled “Rock-Talking with Sally Rockey: The Issues, the Blog, and the Woman Behind It All.” The session featured the Director of the NIH Office of Extramural Research Sally Rockey, Ph.D., and was chaired by CPA Chair Elizabeth Kovacs, Ph.D.

AAI also celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Public Affairs program at IMMUNOLOGY 2014™ with a reception and a performance by the political satire group The Capitol Steps. The CPA reception featured thoughtful remarks by AAI President Marc Jenkins, Ph.D. Read more ►


IMMUNOLOGY 2013™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2013™, the CPA hosted a session entitled "The Importance of Communicating Science in an Era of Doubters and Deniers." The session was designed to stress the importance and value of communicating science to the public. Read more ►


IMMUNOLOGY 2012™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2012™, the CPA held two sessions organized by the committee and chaired by CPA chair Derry Roopenian, including "Meet the Advocacy Partners" and "NIH Peer Review: Understanding the New System." Read more ►


IMMUNOLOGY 2011™

At IMMUNOLOGY 2011™, the CPA held a session, "Got Funding? Why Your Voice is Needed on Capitol Hill." The session included talks by Jeff Frelinger, Paul Allen, Gail Bishop, Olja Finn, and Gary Kline.

The session was organized by the Committee on Public Affairs and chaired by AAI President Jeff Frelinger. Read more ►

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