What’s it like inside of a CIRM Board meeting? Impressive!

CIRMEach month or so, the leadership of CIRM, also know as the Board or the ICOC, meets to discuss CIRM issues of business, policies, grants, and so forth.

Today the ICOC is having such a meeting here in Sacramento and I went to half the meeting. I would have gone to the whole thing, but alas the crazily busy life of a scientist called.

You can listen live to the meetings including today’s meeting here. Also, David Jensen over at California Stem Cell Report provides updated reports on the ICOC meetings. But I recommend going in person. It’s a very different experience.

This was my first ICOC meeting so I was very curious what it would be like.

Given the importance of these meetings, I was surprised that there weren’t more people from the public there and also that I was one of the only California scientists there.

I strongly suggest that you try to go to these meetings. They are very informative and give one a much clearer sense of the priorities and direction of CIRM than anything one could sense long distance. I also met a lot of great people.

The meeting itself was striking in a good way.

I’ve been to 100s of meetings in my professional life and many meetings are frankly just not run well or overall are a waste of time. In contrast, the CIRM ICOC was not only very efficient and enjoyable, but also educational. The Board members are clearly top notch and do a fabulous job of addressing the issues. There were some very deep discussions of important issues on which not all the members agreed. It was therefore very interesting to see them in person hash out the issues.

I think Californians can be assured that CIRM is a jewel of the state and that CIRM’s leadership is truly outstanding. I have not attended meetings of any other state agency, but from what I’ve heard of other state agencies, CIRM is the best run, most open, and approachable.

For example, the public can make comments during the meeting as well.

I myself made a public comment at today’s meeting to introduce myself to the board as stem cell scientist/ CIRM grantee/ cancer patient advocate, and blogger, as I only had previously personally met a few of them.

Yes, by way of disclosure I am a CIRM grantee as many of you already know so perhaps one could argue that I am not entirely unbiased when it comes to CIRM.

However, trying to be as impartial and scientific as I can be, I have to say as this CIRM board meeting reflects the CIRM culture, CIRM’s very meticulous compliance with state regulations, and the CIRM leadership, I found it inspiring.

The take home message is that CIRM is the best example I’ve ever seen of a government agency that is making a huge difference for its citizens and doing it with the highest degree of openness, professionalism and integrity.

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