Arizona Town Hall to issue recommendations on the biosciences

November 14, 2005

By hammersmith

Bioscience took center stage at the Grand Canyon earlier this month when more than 100 citizens from around the state gathered at the Arizona Town Hall to discuss and issue recommendations on “how to maximize Arizona’s opportunities in the biosciences and biotechnology.”

The recommendations will be published in early 2006 along with a comprehensive report on Arizona’s bioscience agenda.

Don Keuth, president of the Phoenix Community Alliance, attended the event, Arizona’s 87th Town Hall. He said that one of the most valuable aspects of the forum is the opportunity it provides community leaders from diverse backgrounds to sit down and discuss one issue. In the case of this town hall, the opportunity to sit down and address biosciences with people such as molecular biologists was an invaluable experience.

“You can get a sense of the issues they’re facing and the impact our decisions in the business community have,” he said. “You learn nothing is unconnected, and as you learn about the linkages, you can collaborate and help get the job done. This understanding increases our ability to collaborate.”

Raphael P. Gruener, Ph.D., University of Arizona’s director of technology initiatives, a professor of physiology and scientist in residence in the office of economic development, wrote after the town hall that he was surprised how quickly everyone was able to agree on the main issues (Gruener’s full recap is available online here).

“There was a general and strong consensus, expressed by the participants, that Arizona should make the biosciences/biotechnology an important aspect of the Arizona economy for the 21st century,” he said.

Although the Arizona Town Hall ended in early November, much work remains for its attendees. Once the recommendations are published, representatives will initiate a statewide series of meetings to communicate the recommendations to local government officials, the business community, and other key players in the biosciences.

A subcommittee will then be charged with taking the recommendations and working with organizations to implement them and monitor the progress.

“The real key now is to make sure to implement the recommendations,” said Keuth, who added that his organization, an advocate for TGen and the medical school, will pitch in to promote the recommendations and bioscience agenda.

Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee welcomes interested individuals and organizations to help in its effort to position the state nationally and internationally in the biosciences, according to Jim McPherson, director of communications for the Flinn Foundation and an Arizona Town Hall participant.

For more information:

Preliminary Arizona Town Hall report (requires the newest version of the free Adobe Reader).

Assessment of the Arizona Town Hall by Raphael P. Gruener, Ph.D., University of Arizona’s director of technology initiatives

Arizona Town Hall Web site