Public and Scientific Affairs Board Information

Underlying the Society's dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge is its commitment that science serve the public interest. To address scientific matters affecting the public interest, the Society created the Board of Public and Scientific Affairs in 1979. The Board monitors legislation and regulation and develops positions for the Society on public policy issues. The Board encourages the adoption of sound policies affecting science and technology and the discipline of microbiology. The Board responds to policy makers who may request or require an understanding of research and technology in microbiology. It also communicates microbiological issues to the public.

There is increasing attention in Congress and the Executive Branch to science related issues and the need for advice on science and technology is growing. The Public and Scientific Affairs Board seeks to ensure that public discussions related to the microbiological sciences are based on objective information and to provide the best possible understanding of science to decision-makers.

The Board encompasses the diversity of the discipline of microbiology which is reflected in the Board's committees, subcommittees and task forces listed below. The chairs of the committees make up the membership of the Board, which is currently chaired by Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D. Each committee has a charge and expert members who consider issues falling under their purview. Specified clearance procedures are followed before the Board presents a public position on behalf of the ASM. The Board responds to issues through written statements, congressional or agency testimony, through meetings, forums, experts workshops, visits with key decision makers and sometimes by entering into legal cases as a friend of the court. The ASM Public Affairs staff monitor policy issues and work closely with the Board and its committees.

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