WMU News

Kalamazoo among six cities for Genetic Town Hall

July 6, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center is one of six sites nationally for "The Genetic Town Hall: Making Every Voice Count," an opportunity for the public to learn more about and express opinions on reproductive genetic technologies.

Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center will meet with Kalamazoo area residents Monday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Fetzer Center.

Sponsored by the Genetics and Public Policy Center, the town hall meetings are supported by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and are free and open to the public. Each town hall will gather a diverse cross-section of citizens and community leaders to engage in an in-depth local dialogue to help shape national policy discussions in Washington. In addition to Kalamazoo, Genetic Town Halls are being held in Nashville, Sacramento, Seattle, Fort Worth and New York.

The Genetics and Public Policy Center is compiling information on what the American public thinks and feels about issues raised by the rapid advances in reproductive genetic technologies, including carrier screening, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and prenatal genetic diagnosis. In addition to the town hall meetings, the center is sponsoring public opinion polls, meetings of experts and policy research and analysis.

Participants at the town halls will learn about rapid advances in reproductive genetic technologies and provide answers to questions such as:

What are the acceptable uses of genetic testing?

What limitations should be established, and who should enforce them?

Are we doing all that we can to promote safety and efficacy?

What is the future impact on individuals, family and society?

To register for the Kalamazoo town hall, or to learn more about the Genetic Town Halls, visit the Genetics and Public Policy Center on the Web at <www.dnapolicy.org>.

The Genetics and Public Policy Center was established to be an independent and objective source of credible information on genetic technologies and genetic policies for the public, media and policymakers. The center, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, is a part of the Phoebe R. Berman Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University. The center advocates neither for, nor against, reproductive genetic technologies or policies affecting their development or use.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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