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HHS Calls for Nominations to Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board

February 21, 2020

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CONTACTS
Christa Wagner, Senior Legislative Analyst
Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Feb. 20 published a long-anticipated call for nominations to the agency’s new Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board, one component of a set of new fetal tissue research policies the administration announced in June 2019 [see Washington Highlights, July 19, 2019]. Nominations are due by March 20.

The new board, originally authorized in 1985 under section 492A of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 289a-1, as amended, will be charged with evaluating National Institutes of Health (NIH) extramural grant applications for new and existing research projects in the competitive renewal process that propose to use human fetal tissue to determine “whether, in light of the ethical considerations, NIH should fund the research project.” 

As outlined in the law, the board will be composed of 15 nonfederal employees to include: no fewer than one attorney; no fewer than one ethicist; no fewer than one practicing physician; and no fewer than one theologian. No fewer than one-third, and no more than one-half of the appointed members will be scientists with substantial accomplishments in biomedical or behavioral research.

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