Arizona bioscience leaders meet with members of Congress

May 15, 2006

By hammersmith

As the peak of Washington, D.C.’s famed cherry blossom season bloomed outside, 22 Arizonans walked the halls of Congress visiting U.S. Senators, Representatives, and their staffs. According to Marty Shultz, chair of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, “We had two goals: update our hosts on Arizona’s concentrated investment to build a bioscience research infrastructure and what needs to happen next, and to thank them for continuing to support our emerging bioscience sector.”

The Arizona bioscience leaders met with 8 of 10 Arizona Congressional delegation members and all 10 staffs, plus Ohio Rep. Ralph Regula, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. In addition, a side trip to the nearby National Institutes of Health paved the way for a reciprocal visit to Arizona by leading cancer-researcher officials.

Making the March 28-30 trip were Larry Aldrich (Critical Path Institute), Judy Bernas (University of Arizona), Barry Broome (Greater Phoenix Economic Council), Vicki Chandler (University of Arizona), Joseph Donaldson (City of Flagstaff), Susan Doria (Banner Health), Carl Fox (Northern Arizona University), Pamela Goronkin (City of Tempe), MaryAnn Guerra (Translational Genomics Research Institute), Stu Hadley (Arizona State University), Katherine Hutton Raby (City of Scottsdale), Saundra Johnson (Flinn Foundation), Jon McGarity (Arizona BioIndustry Association), Stephanie McKinney (Greater Flagstaff Economic Council), Jim McPherson (Flinn Foundation), Kathleen Matt (Arizona State University), Rick Naimark (City of Phoenix), Marty Shultz (Pinnacle West Capital Corp./APS), and Lynn Timmons (City of Phoenix).

The group hosted a reception in honor of U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ 8th), retiring from Congress after 22 years in office. Shultz noted in his remarks to the 75 guests that Kolbe has been steadfast in addressing retirement security and health care accessibility for all Americans, ensuring health care and other benefits for our nation’s veterans, and nurturing an environment conducive to the biosciences in his district and statewide.

On March 30, the group traveled to Bethesda, Md., to meet with NIH officials Norka Ruiz-Bravo, deputy director of extramural research; Lisa Colpe, roadmap office acting director; and Dr. Barbara Mittleman, director of public/private partnerships.

The group also met with National Cancer Institute officials Anna Barker, deputy director for advanced technologies and strategic partnerships; Kenneth Buetow, associate director for bioinformatics and information technology; and Dr. Gregory Downing, director of the office of technology and industrial relations. The trio was so impressed with the nature and success of Arizona’s collaborative effort that they traveled to Phoenix May 11-12 to meet with leading cancer researchers from statewide public and private institutions.

Shultz anticipates Steering Committee members to visit Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2007. “Every week it seems that something positive is happening in the biosciences here in Arizona, so we’ll have plenty of success stories to share with our Congressional delegation next year.”