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.


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
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)
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)
Associate Medical Director – Clinical Development
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)

Advocacy Programs Subcommittee

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

AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)
The subcommittee:

  • oversees the application process
  • reviews submitted applications and recommends participants to the full CPA
  • assists in the planning of Capitol Hill Day
  • undertakes other tasks related to making the program successful

AAI Research Advocacy Program (RAP), conducted at the AAI annual meeting, or in the Washington, D.C., area. The subcommittee:

  • oversees the program
  • selects invitees and recommends program participants
  • prepares and gives presentations to teach program participants about the immune system
  • undertakes 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.

2018-2019 Subcommittee Members

Judy Cannon, Chair
Gretchen Diehl
Kristin Hogquist
Peter Jensen
Ross Kedl
Joshua Obar
David Chaplin, 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, and in particular:

  • grant submission and peer review
  • grant mechanisms and funding distribution
  • organizational structure
  • the composition of, and support for, the biomedical research workforce
  • scientific priorities, including portfolio analysis
  • other topics to be determined by the CPA and subcommittee chairs

2018-2019 Subcommittee Members

Peter Jensen, Chair
Ling Cao
Gretchen Diehl
Jonathan Harton
Kristin Hogquist
David Chaplin, ex officio

Public Health and Biosecurity Subcommittee

The Public Health and Biosecurity Subcommittee monitors and recommends action, as needed, to the CPA regarding potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes affecting the following 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 (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)
  • Radiological monitoring
  • Select agents and toxins
  • Vaccines

2018-2019 Subcommittee Members

Jonathan Harton, Chair
Judy Cannon
Ling Cao
Ross Kedl
Joshua Obar
David Chaplin, ex officio

  1. Advocate for increased and predictable funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, as appropriate, other relevant federal funding organizations. 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
    • the nation’s ability to train, and address the future needs of, a diverse scientific workforce.
  4. Support and promote the ability of scientists to use animals in research in a humane manner.
  5. Identify and help inform members of Congress sympathetic to AAI issues 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 to advance the AAI agenda, and work to develop ties with patient advocacy organizations.
  8. Report to and consult with the AAI Council on a regular basis to ensure that the AAI leadership is apprised of issues and activities of the CPA.
  9. Engage each member of the CPA on issue(s) of interest to him/her and to the AAI membership, and encourage each member to “take the lead” in identified area of interest.
  10. Inform the AAI membership of committee activities and of issues important to the conduct of research; encourage AAI members, particularly trainees and early-career members, to become advocates for the profession.
  11. Inform the AAI Public Policy Fellows (PPFs) about policy issues of importance to AAI members, and engage them as appropriate.


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.


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.


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 ►


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 ►


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 ►


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 ►


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 ►


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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