CIRM is in ethical trouble again. Two big stories in the SF Chronicle and the San Diego Union Tribune pointing out “conflicts of interest” problems and referring to “the incident” which seems to have been an “innocent mistake”. So let me see if I have this right. The largest boondoggle in history, selling snake oil to California voters, to the tune of $3 billion plus interest has had to reject 10 grant applications for millions of dollars because:
- The applicants were instructed to provide letters of support from their medical school deans or department heads. However, the deans of California’s most prestigious medical schools sit on the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee, the stem cell agency’s governing board. Doesn’t sound very independent to me!
- John Reed, chief executive officer of the Burnham Institute in La Jolla and a member of the stem cell institute’s board, sent a letter to the institute’s staff in an attempt to appeal the denial of a grant to Burnham. Hands in the cookie jar and looking for special favors.
Interim President Richard Murphy said, “the stem cell institute is still a fledgling organization and its staff and board are still developing and learning its policies and procedures.”
Nice to know our $3 billion is in the hands of those still developing and learning its policies and procedures!
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.