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Clayton named to IOM council

BY: LESLIE HAST

12/18/2009 - Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D., director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, has been appointed to the Council of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and is only the second Vanderbilt University faculty member selected.

Clayton joins Bill Stead, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Strategy and Information Officer, who was appointed in August.

Clayton was elected to a three-year term, effective Jan. 1.

Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D.

Ellen Wright Clayton, M.D., J.D.

“It is rare to have multiple faculty from the same institution serving simultaneously, and I am thrilled Vanderbilt will have such a big impact on the Council,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“Dr. Clayton has done tremendous work at the intersections of medicine, law and ethics, and her insight will be a great asset to the Council's work.”

“I am always pleased to work with the Institute of Medicine because of its mission to provide scientific advice to the nation,” Clayton said, “but I am particularly honored to accept this position because members of the Council are elected by the membership of the IOM.”

With a mission to advise the nation on matters of health and medicine, the IOM was established in 1970 as the health arm of the Nationals Academy of Sciences. The organization prepares reports offering health advice to decision makers and thse public on topics ranging from improving care in nursing homes to preparing for biohazards or pandemic flu.

Members are elected on the basis of their professional achievement and commitment to service, and come from a variety of fields in addition to health care, including natural sciences, law, administration and engineering. Currently, 13 VUMC faculty are members of the IOM.

The 21-member Council approves the IOM's annual program plan and budget and provides policy guidance to the 1,700-member body.

Clayton, the Rosalind E. Franklin Professor of Genetics and Health Policy, professor of Law and professor of Pediatrics, has already served on several IOM committees, including those on genomics and public health in the 21st century. She chaired IOM committees to evaluate Title X family planning and adverse effects of vaccines.

A Vanderbilt faculty member since 1988, Clayton is internationally known for her contributions to the fields of law and genetics and issues surrounding the ethical, legal, and social implications of advances in genetics. She has advised the National Institutes of Health as well as other federal and international bodies on an array of topics ranging from children's health to the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects.

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