Friday, March 19, 2010

Legislator Spotlight: Rep. Michael Honda a Strong Advocate for the Biomedical Industry in California
Since 2001, Mike Honda has represented the 15th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is in his sixth year as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and also serves on the Appropriations Committee, with postings on several subcommittees. Although born in California, Honda spent his early childhood with his family in an internment camp for Japanese Americans in Colorado during World War II. In addition to serving in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador, Honda earned bachelor's degrees in biological sciences and Spanish, and a master's degree in education from San Jose State University. Honda has been a science teacher, has served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University. His political career has included stints on San Jose's Planning Commission, the San Jose Unified School Board, and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Honda also served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000 before being elected to Congress. He is widowed with two grown children and three grandsons.

Honda has sleep apnea, a condition in which people stop breathing during sleep—sometimes hundreds of times during the night, and often for a minute or longer. With each episode, the brain rouses the person from sleep to resume breathing. The condition is quite common and affects more than 12 million Americans. Sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotency and headaches—as well as diminished motor skills caused by sleep deprivation. Left untreated, the disorder can be life-threatening.

Honda became aware of his condition when he participated in a sleep apnea study at
Stanford University. The study was part of a physical exam, which was required for his job on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. The sleep apnea exam was supposed to last two nights, with Honda attached to electrodes to determine the quality and depth of his sleep state.

“My case was so pronounced,” Honda said, “that the technician barged in after four hours.” For the remainder of the evaluation, Honda slept with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, developed by CHI member company
ResMed. The San Diego-based company develops, manufactures and markets products for a range of sleep-disordered breathing and other respiratory conditions. “After just four hours [on the CPAP], I woke up so rested and my mind was so clear,” he said; “the difference was profound.” For the first three days, he felt like a completely different person.

Honda’s experience with sleep apnea has changed his perspective on healthcare and the biomedical industry providing treatments to patients. Honda sits on the congressional committee funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) and serves as Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). In both roles, he has been a strong advocate of healthcare equity. On the appropriations committee he has consistently advocated for increased funding for Title VII diversity training programs and written report language aimed at increasing awareness about health equity issues. As Chairman of CAPAC, he has focused on health equity issues that particularly affect the AAPI community.

Click here to read the full profile on Congressman Mike Honda in the 2010 California Biomedical Industry Report.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CHI's Inaugural Environmental Summit Brings Robust Debate and Dialogue

Photo on left: Asm. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) delivers opening remarks. Photo on right: Maziar Movassaghi, Department of Toxic Substances Control.
Pictured from left to right: Panelists from "Setting the Environmental Regulatory Stage in California and Lessons Learned from Europe" Curtis Stephan, Edwards Lifesciences; Michael Whaley, Allergan; Ashley Taylor, Amgen Fremont; Sheri Prosch, Medtronic; Jeffrey Sickenger, KP Public Affairs; and Sandra Pizarro, CHI.
Click here to view more picture from CHI's Environmental Summit.

CHI held its first-ever Environmental Summit this last week at The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento, where Assembly Member Jerry Hill kicked off the day with welcome remarks stressing the importance of California’s biomedical industry and preserving the state’s natural beauty. Recognizing that in recent years, numerous legislative attempts to enact restrictive environmental requirements in California have threatened life sciences research and manufacturing jobs, CHI sought to convene experts from throughout the biomedical industry and public officials to discuss the measures and their potential implications.

More than 80 people attended the inaugural event held on the Metropolitan Terrace, which had beautiful views of the state capitol, and heard from speakers from Allergan, Edwards Lifesciences, Amgen, Pfizer, Amylin, Johnson & Johnson, Genentech and Stanford University, as well as public officials including Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC); Margo Reid Brown, acting director of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery; and Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata), gave participants a broad overview of what is new, what is changing and what to expect from major state environmental regulatory programs in California. Panel discussion topics focused on the state’s complex environmental regulatory structure, green chemistry, product stewardship, including medical sharps waste and pharmaceuticals in the environment, as well as nanotechnology. Maureen Gorsen, former director of the DTSC and currently with the law firm of Alston + Bird, delivered keynote comments at lunch.

The day wrapped up with a closing reception where attendees were able to discuss environmental issues with all panelists from the program.

CHI gratefully acknowledges its Gold Sponsors: Abbott, Amgen, Edwards Lifesciences, Genentech; Silver Sponsors: BioMarin, and Sanofi Aventis; and Reception Sponsor: Alston + Bird, LLP. CHI welcomes your participation in future discussions on the implications for environmental regulations and California’s ability to maintain its leadership in innovation. Contact Ritchard Engelhardt, associate director of government affairs (916-233-3490 or for more information on how to get involved.

CHI-Advancing California biomedical research and innovation

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