213164 Restore Science to it's Rightful Place: Rejuvenating Scientific Integrity in Federal Science Policy

Monday, November 9, 2009: 2:30 PM

Kathleen Rest , Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, DC
Seth M. Cohen, PhD , Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC San Diego (formerly OSTP, White House), La Jolla, CA
Susan F. Wood, PhD , George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC
Naomi Seiler , Counsel, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to “restore science to its rightful place.” The President's January 21, 2009, memoranda on Freedom of Information supported an open dialogue on scientific findings and suggested that scientific progress is only possible if discoveries are communicated. Likewise, the President's March 9, 2009, memoranda on Scientific Integrity was an affirmation of the importance of science in public health and environmental protection.

Scientific research has been the basis for much success in public health, environmental protection, and other areas of national progress in the United States. In recent history, scientists have experienced considerable political interference in the work of federal public health agencies, including censoring and suppressing reports from federal scientists, selecting professionally unqualified members of federal advisory committees, and ignoring scientific opinion and evidence in formulation of public policy. This history of political interference is well documented in the spring 2008 report Federal Science and the Public Good from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Recommendations to protect scientific integrity have focused on freedom for federal scientists to: conduct their work without political or private-interest interference; communicate their findings to the public; publish their work and participate fully in the scientific community; and disclose censorship and misrepresentation of their work.

With new political leadership in Washington, what is the state of scientific integrity within the federal government? The panel will review initial challenges to restoring scientific integrity at the federal level and discuss future directions to protect the integrity of science in federal policy making.

Learning Objectives:
To describe the key issues of scientific integrity within the federal government and the role of federal support for scientific integrity related to the health of the public. To provide a focus to assess past and present status of scientific integrity within the federal government and programs supported by the federal government to promote public health.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I (and my organization) have been involved in issues of scientific integrity at a national level for several years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.