Ellen Wright Clayton to chair new IOM Standing Committee on Family Planning

May 10, 2011

Ellen Wright Clayton has been named chair of the Standing Committee on Family Planning, a new committee convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Planning. The committee’s purpose is to follow up on issues identified in a 2009 IOM report, A Review of the HHS Family Planning Program: Mission, Management and Measurement of Results, which Professor Clayton also chaired, and to identify emerging issues in the field of family planning.

The 11 members of the new committee include physicians and other health care professionals, policymakers, economists and executives who head family planning and advocacy organizations. “The committee provides a forum for discussion of scientific, workforce, health services and education issues relevant to family planning,” Clayton said. “It will provide a public venue for communications among government and other policy makers, physicians, the academic community and community family planning clinics.”

Issues the committee may address in the near future include the role of family planning and reproductive health in health care reform, workforce planning, and the Title X Family Planning program, enacted in 1970, which is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to those who want and need them. The committee will also serve as a focal point for discussions and potential ad hoc studies requested by the Office of Family Planning and approved by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academies.

Clayton is an internationally respected leader in the field of law and genetics who holds appointments in both the law and medical schools at Vanderbilt, where she also directs the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. An active participant in policy debates, she has advised the National Institutes of Health as well as other federal and international bodies on an array of topics ranging from children's health to the ethical conduct of research involving human subjects. In addition to chairing this new committee, Professor Clayton had worked on a number of projects for the Institute of Medicine, of which she is a member of its National Advisory Council. She is currently chairing an IOM study evaluating vaccine safety. She is the 2010 recipient of the William G. Bartholeme Award for Ethical Excellence, though which the American Academic of Pediatrics’ Section on Bioethics recognizes an individual each year who has had a significant impact on public discussion of ethical issues in pediatric medicine.

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