Biojustice 2007 Speakers

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Tuesday, May 1st:

Sheldon Krimsky is professor of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning at Tufts University. Professor Krimsky’s research has focused on the linkages between science/technology, ethics/values and public policy. Professor Krimsky served on the National Institutes of Health’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee from 1978-1981. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of the Council for Responsible Genetics and as a Fellow of the Hastings Center on Bioethics.

Friday evening, May 4th:

Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author and public speaker on food politics, sustainable agriculture, globalization, and social change. With her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, Anna leads the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, a collaborative network for research and popular education, and the Small Planet Fund, which has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for democratic social movements worldwide. Anna is the co-author of Hope’s Edge (Tarcher/Penguin 2002, with Frances Moore Lappé), and Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (Tarcher/Penguin 2006, with chef Bryant Terry), and has been widely published in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, and Canada’s Globe and Mail. She holds an M.A. in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, graduated with honors from Brown University, and was a 2004-2006 Food and Society Policy Fellow of the WK Kellogg Foundation.

Ignacio Chapela is Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology at the Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley, and the founder of The Mycological Facility in Oaxaca, Mexico, a facility dealing with questions of natural resources and indigenous rights, based in and run by indigenous communities in Oaxaca. Prof. Chapela’s publications span from the academic to various media collaborations with journalists worldwide, including documentaries and news media. He is a Board member with the Pesticide Action Network, the Council for Responsible Genetics, and an Advisory Board member of The Sunshine Project, a citizen’s initiative on questions of bio-safety and bio-warfare.

Farjana Akter works as a Program officer of VOICE, a research and advocacy organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. VOICE works around the issues of globalization, trade and agriculture, media and communication rights, communication technology etc., through advocacy and partnership with other organizations and civil society actors. She has worked more than four years with several national development organizations. Farjana is currently running a project called “Resist Corporate Control Over Seed and Food: Building Critical Awareness and Establishing Peoples’ Right to Seed and Food,” which aims at building critical awareness and strengthening social movements on seed and food sovereignty.

Mercedes Alvarez hails from Nicaragua, where she has established an organization that builds solar ovens and solar food dryers, and promotes techniques for solar purification of water. She has an advanced degree in Chemical Engineering from the National University of Engineering in Managua, and worked with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health as an analyst of chemicals and pesticides in drinking water. Mercedes has also worked with medical teams from the U.S. on health projects in rural areas of Nicaragua, and on ecological projects at the Laguna de Apoyo research center near Masaya.

Louie Hena is a member of the tribal council for Tesuque Pueblo in New Mexico, where he works as a permaculture design consultant, river guide on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama rivers, educator on traditional land management systems, and co-coordinator of the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance. He is the co-founder of the Traditional Native American Farmers Association’s Permaculture Design course, which attracts participants from indigenous nations throughout the hemisphere. Louie represented New Mexico tribes on the EPA’s Regional and National Tribal Operations Committee. He is the co-author of “A Tradition of Farming: Northern Rio Grande Pueblo Lessons of Land Stewardship and Sustainable Agriculture” and “Living On The Edge.”

Saturday Morning, May 5th:

Judy Norsigian is the Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves, a women’s health education and advocacy organization now in its 38th year. She co-founded the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, which created the classic book about women’s health and sexuality, Our Bodies, Ourselves. The book appeared in its 8th edition as a major revision in 2005, having sold more than four million copies, with translations into 17 languages. Judy has served on the boards of the National Women’s Health Network and the group Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research, has advised the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, and was the 2002 recipient of the Massachusetts Health Council’s annual award.

George Annas is an internationally recognized scholar in health law, bioethics, and human rights. He has written or edited more than a dozen books in these fields, and writes a regular feature for the New England Journal of Medicine. George is often referred to as “the father of patient rights.” He also teaches in the medical and law schools, and is currently ranked as the nation’s most cited law professor in the field of health law. He is the co-founder of Global Lawyers and Physicians and sits on the board of Council for Responsible Genetics. His major current research interests are bioterrorism and civil liberties, genetic privacy and translational genetics, and the theoretical conjunction of bioethics and human rights.

John Abramson, MD, has worked as a family doctor in Appalachia and for 20 years in Hamilton, Massachusetts. He is currently on the clinical faculty at Harvard Medical School, where he teaches primary care. He was twice voted “best doctor” in his area by readers of the local newspapers and three times selected as one of the best family practitioners in Massachusetts. John is the author of Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, published in 2004. He has been published in the New York and LA Times has made more than 65 appearances on national television. Dr. Abramson also serves as a plaintiff’s expert in litigation involving several drug companies.

Sandy Eaton, RN, is a staff nurse at Quincy Medical Center, having worked at the bedside in the Massachusetts healthcare industry for over four decades, while also struggling for a more just society. Sandy is currently serving as chair of MASS-CARE, the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care, as well as on the boards of the Alliance to Defend Health Care and the Massachusetts Nurses Association. He represents MNA in the Coalition to Stop the Biolab, the Level 4 biocontainment laboratory being constructed in Boston’s South End, diagonally across the street from the Emergency Department of Boston Medical Center.

Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist and author of The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World’s Poorest Patients (The New Press, 2006) and Crude: The Story of Oil (Seven Stories, 2004). A former writing fellow of The Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation,, her writing on science, politics, and human rights has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, New Scientist, The Nation and elsewhere. She is currently writing a book on the history and politics of malaria for Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Sunday evening, May 6th (Introduction to screenplay reading):

James Sherley is Associate Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, as well Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Sherley initiated formal training in cancer research with a B.A. degree in biology from Harvard College in 1980. He holds joint M.D./Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with an emphasis in biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology. His current research program using adult stem cells has implications for tissue engineering, cell replacement therapy, aging, cancer, and environmental health science. Dr. Sherley is an outspoken advocate for improved scientific disclosure in the interest of the public good, and has gained acclaim as a critic of human cloning, embryonic stem cell research and MIT’s racial policies.

Host, emcee, and Saturday moderator:

Brian Tokar is the Director of the Biotechnology Project at the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont. He is the author of The Green Alternative and Earth for Sale, and has edited two volumes on the politics of biotechnology: Redesigning Life? (Zed Books, 2001) and the recent collection Gene Traders: Biotechnology, World Trade and the Globalization of Hunger (Toward Freedom, 2004). His articles on environmental issues, emerging ecological movements, and resistance to genetic engineering have appeared in Z Magazine, The Ecologist, Earth Island Journal, Toward Freedom,, Common Dreams, and many other publications, and he has lectured across the US and internationally.

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