SOT Signs Letters Supporting Fetal Tissue Research and Studying Systemic Racism in Science


By George Daston posted 09-10-2020 13:15


Letter to Secretary Alex Azar, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

More than 70 organizations, including SOT, have signed a letter to Secretary Azar in which they expressed concern regarding a report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board that recommends blocking funding for all but one research proposal seeking to use human fetal tissue. The letter also calls for Secretary Azar to revoke the HHS policy restricting federal funding for biomedical research involving fetal tissue, stating that “human fetal tissue has unique and valuable properties that cannot be replaced by other research materials or animal models.” This August 31 letter is a follow-up to a letter on July 28 to the NIH Human Fetal Tissue Ethics Advisory Board, which SOT also signed, expressing support for biomedical research using human fetal tissue. Both letters are available on the “SOT Statements” and “Collaborative Impact” web pages.

Letter to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

On September 1, SOT joined more than 70 other organizations that signed a letter of support for Congresswoman Johnson’s call for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to undertake a study to acknowledge and assess inequities in the US scientific enterprise, namely systemic racism in academia. SOT and the other signatories state, “A scientific enterprise that reflects the diversity of our nation will be more innovative and better equipped to address the challenges before us. Collectively, our organizations are working to change culture and improve diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within our staff, our members and our disciplines. The scientific community stands ready to work with you and your committee as you endeavor to address the systemic racism that exists within academia.” The letter is posted on the “SOT Statements” and “Collaborative Impact” web pages.