Local Residents Appointed to Community Group for National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at BU Medical Center

in Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine
June 12th, 2008

Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 | gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston, MA)-One new member has been appointed and two current members have been reappointed to the Community Liaison Committee (CLC) of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL).

Fifteen applications for the three open positions were received. Current CLC members with expiring terms, Glen Berkowitz and Christopher Brayton, of the South End, submitted applications for reappointment. Ana Salas, also from the South End, was chosen as a new member. Appointments to the CLC are made by the Provost of Boston University Medical Campus and the CEO at Boston Medical Center.

The Community Liaison Committee (CLC) was formed to promote public participation and transparency during construction and operation of the lab. CLC members provide outreach and feedback to facilitate information flow between the NEIDL and the community. Chosen through an open, self-nomination process and launched in June 2006, the CLC meets monthly; members serve without remuneration for staggered two-year terms.

Berkowitz was elected chair of the CLC in 2007. He has been a South End resident for more than 11 years and is currently a member of the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association.

Brayton, a former member of the Blackstone/Franklin Square Neighborhood Association which abuts the NEIDL, has previously served as a member of the Biosafety Laboratory Advisory Group and has been involved with the development of the area surrounding the NEIDL.

Salas is a life-long resident of the South End and “La Villa Victoria.” She is active in community efforts at Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA) and has been on the IBA board for over 12 years.

“We are pleased to have had so many qualified applicants who care deeply for their neighborhoods and community apply for these positions,” said Karen Antman, MD, Provost of Boston University Medical Campus.

“We are grateful for the community volunteers who take on this important role and appreciate their assistance in facilitating communication and information flow,” said BMC CEO Elaine Ullian.

The members of the CLC share and distribute information to the community about the projects and activities of the NEIDL; will assist the NEIDL leadership to ensure effective communication and collaboration on programs and activities involving the NEIDL and the community; advise the NEIDL executive committee on potential issues of concern involving the Biosafety Lab and the community and assist the NEIDL Executive Committee with development and planning of activities to promote collaboration, cooperation and information exchange between the NEIDL and the community.

The NEIDL is part of a national network of secure facilities that will study infectious diseases—whether they occur naturally or are introduced through bioterrorism. The mission of the NEIDL is to establish a research facility with the highest attention to community and laboratory safety and security to perform cutting-edge research and develop diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines to promote public health through combating infectious diseases. For more information visit www.bu.edu/neidl.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

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