If you say something often enough, maybe people will listen. For the fifth time in the past four years, the National Institutes of Health is telling scientists conducting clinical research to include women in their study populations. This latest exhortation comes after Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and other members of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, following up on a recent General Accounting Office report that pointed out NIH's dismal performance to date in this area, blasted NIH and proposed legislation to address a range of women's health issues. The new NIH policy requires scientists seeking federal funding for clinical research to include women in proportion to the degree they are affected by the disease being studied. It goes into effect on applications submitted after Feb. 1, 1991. Failure to include an adequate number of females will result in a lower priority score from the study section reviewing the application. A newly created Office of Women's Health Research will work with the Office of Extramural Research to enforce the revised policy and conduct training sessions for NIH staff.
Every two years the terms of one-third of the 24 members of the National Science Board expire and the president must fill those vacancies. In the past two months the White House has repopulated the board with eight nominees three reappointments and five new choices. Returning to the board are Texas A&M Chancellor Perry Adkisson, San Diego State University President Thomas Day, and University of Michigan President James Duderstadt, while the new arrivals are retiring Hoover Institution Director Glenn Campbell, Du Pont vice president Howard Simmons, MIT astrophysicist Bernard Burke, Duke U. provost and mathematician Phillip Griffiths, and Los Angeles businessman Jaime Oaxaca. Campbell, who served for six years in the 1970s, returns to the unofficial Hoover seat on the board filled most recently by Annelise Anderson and earlier in the decade by John Moore. Earlier this year the White House made belated appointments of Washington University botanist Peter Raven and University of Pennsylvania astrophysicist Benjamin Shen to terms that expire in 1994.
Because so many of NASA's problems have been visible to the world in recent months notably the flawed mirror on the Hubble Telescope and the grounding of the space shuttles because of fuel leaks it's no wonder that agency officials are unusually sensitive these days to bad publicity. Speaking last month to members of the advisory panel looking into the future of the agency, NASA administrator Richard Truly inadvertently revealed how the agency sees the world these days. In response to a question by Bell Labs scientist Louis Lanzerotti about whether the panel should delve into alleged management problems cited in an undisclosed internal audit of the Hubble program, Truly told him not to worry. We're very critical of ourselves internally, he replied. It only becomes a problem when it becomes public.
Members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science face a real choice this year between the two candidates running for president-elect. In ballots mailed out last month to the association's 135,000 members, University of California at Irvine chemistry professor F. Sherwood Rowland attacks the increasing tendency to focus on giant initiatives instead of on the individual investigator. His opponent is Paul Gray, retiring president of MIT, whose university epitomizes that trend and who is in the midst of protesting NSF's decision to award a $120 million high magnetic field laboratory to another institution after having supported a smaller facility at MIT for nearly 30 years. Gray's statement makes no mention of the growing debate about the proper balance in science funding, choosing instead to speak at length about the need to improve science education from grade school through grad school.