NIH News Alert
Office of the Director

Monday, April 5, 1999

Contact: Anne Thomas
(301) 496-4461

Note to Reporters

The first meeting of the NIH Director's Council of Public Representatives (COPR) will be held on April 21, 1999, in Bldg. 31, Conference Room 10C, on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Twenty individuals have been invited by Harold Varmus, M.D., NIH Director, to be a part of the initial COPR, which was chartered November 4, 1998.*

Those selected for COPR membership have a wide variety of backgrounds. Each has some interest in the work of the NIH, for example, as a patient or family member of a patient; a health care professional; a member of a patient advocacy group; an individual who works as a volunteer in the health field; a scientist or a student of science; a communicator in health, medicine, or science; an individual in public service, academia, or a professional society touching the medical field. Those invited to be members of the initial COPR form a diverse group. The group has multi-cultural diversity, includes men and women, covers a broad span of disease interests, embraces many who work with and understand the problems of the medically underserved, and has geographic diversity (individuals who are from rural and urban areas, from across the U. S.).

The COPR is a forum for discussing issues affecting the broad development of NIH policy, programs, and research goals, and advises the NIH Director on these matters. The Council also advises and assists the NIH in enhancing participation by the public in NIH activities, increasing public understanding of the NIH, and bringing important matters of public interest forward for discussion in public settings. The COPR will meet approximately two times a year.

The COPR meeting is open to the public, subject to space available. There will be overflow accommodations for watching a video feed in Conference Room 6C, just down the hall from the meeting room. In addition, the session will be broadcast on the Internet for public viewing. Viewers should go to

Some topics for the first meeting include: models of public participation in NIH activities, access to clinical trials, health disparities among various populations, and the clinical trials database required by the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. A final agenda will be available soon and can be found at

Provided: Q and A on the Council of Public Representatives.

* The names of the individuals will be released shortly, along with descriptions of the their backgrounds, as soon as all those invited have completed all the necessary forms to become official advisory committee members.