Saturday, May 16, 2009

CFSAC podcasts

About five years ago, MAME petitioned the CFSAC to have their meetings video
cast so that those of us who are not able to attend the meetings can get the
benefit at least of seeing and hearing them.  First the CFSAC, under Larry
Fields, turned us down. They talked about expense, privacy..a bunch of
things which did not, in our opinion stand as credible reasons. Especially
as NIH was already podcasting other advisory committee meetings. We had gone
through the ADA thoroughly, and felt confident of our opinions. Eventually
we went to the Office of Civil Rights. They too turned us down, for reasons
similar to the ones cited by the CFSAC.  We were given exactly 30 days to
request an administrative review, a lengthy and involved process.  Later to
our dismay we found that the normal time allowed for a request for
administrative review was 60 days.  They were to get back to us. And they
never did.  We debated our options ­ sue the Office of Civil Rights for the
violation of our civil rights? It didn¹t make sense..go to the ACLU ­ a
possibility.  We received a generous donation to pursue the suit, but the
lawyer we found made inquires and came up with nothing.

Wanda Jones, we found, took an interest in what we were trying to
accomplish. This was a great change. We sent her all the correspondence. Not
too long after that we got a phone call from the OCR about the status of our
request.  As I process things slowly I left a message asking that we
communicate via email.

Today we got the following news.  The meetings will be video cast. NIH will
be checking to see how many people watch in, so please do log in & encourage
others to do so. You can watch the meetings at your own pace, take breaks as
needed, re-watch if necessary. We are no longer excluded from benefiting
from the meetings. Though not interactive, this will give each and everyone
of us with access to a computer access to the meetings.

We hope to get the letters on a site where others can read them if

The following message was sent by Rebecca Artman:

Good news!

Wanda has made arrangements with NIH to have the CFSAC meeting
accessible via videocast.

The technology will provide access to
those individuals unable to attend the meeting in person and support
on demand access after the meeting since the proceedings will be

The link to the video cast will be made active on the day of the
meeting (Wednesday, May 27, 2009) on the NIH Video cast website @:

Please note:  RealPlayer is required to view the videocast, and users
can download the latest version of RealPlayer @

It¹s recommended that users test their computer and network
connection here:

The videocast information will be posted on the CFSAC webpage and
also available in an automated message generated from the CFSAC mailbox.

Jean Harrison

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