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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Panel to discuss government’s response to genetics, Oct. 29
Talk is part of URI’s ongoing Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 25, 2002 -- How should the state and federal government respond to the genetics revolution? That’s the question a panel of health officials and state representatives will try to answer on Oct. 29 at the University of Rhode Island. The event, part of URI’s semester-long Honors Colloquium series entitled "Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium", will be held in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center from 7 to 8:30.p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Panelists include Dr. Patricia Nolan, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. Her past experience includes local public health administration in New York City and in Tucson, Ariz. Nolan is the past president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She is actively involved in the American Public Health Association and serves on the board of the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning.

Dr. Peter Simon, assistant medical director of the state health department, will join Nolan in the discussion. Simon is the deputy medical director, Division of Family Health with responsibilities ranging across the spectrum of core health functions for the traditional maternal and child health populations.

After working as a private pediatrican in Pawtucket, Simon joined the health department as a medical epidemiologist in 1984. He has had multiple roles with the Title V Program at the state, regional, and national level as well as serving the American Academy of Pediatrics at the state and national levels. He co-edits CATCH, a newsletter created by the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and continues to see pediatric patients at the Providence Community Health Centers.

Others panelists include R.I. Representatives Suzanne Henseler (D-44), House majority whip who represents North Kingstown and Joseph M. McNamara (D-29), House deputy majority leader who represents Warwick. Sen. Catherine E. Graziano (D-5), chair of the Senate Health, Education and Welfare Committee, who represents Providence, Johnston, and North Providence, rounds out the panel. These legislators have a particular interest in genetics. They have participated in legislative commissions and sponsored bills on genetic issues such as DNA forensics databases, newborn screening, and genetic discrimination and privacy.

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are URI’s Honors Program, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the URI’s President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the Multicultural Center, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Department of Communications/News Bureau and Matritech.

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

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