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8 November 2000

UCSF Epidemiologist to Head National Council for VA Research

A UCSF epidemiologist will chair the newly created Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Council (NRAC), which will give external consultation and review to senior administrators on the VA’s research effort.

George W. Rutherford, MD, UCSF professor of epidemiology, preventive medicine and pediatrics and head of the Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine Division in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was appointed by Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Herschel Gober to chair the 12-member council.

The council, which will hold its first meeting November 13, will make recommendations on the nature and the scope of research sponsored and conducted at more than 100 VA medical centers across the country.

The panel will include representatives of academic medical centers, government research institutes, private industry and a veteran representative.

In 1996, another advisory committee led by Rutherford assessed the overall focus of the VA’s research program. Its recommendations included establishment of the NRAC to assist VA leaders in setting policy and direction to ensure that VA research continues to address veterans’ most significant health concerns.

Rutherford is a leading researcher in the epidemiology of AIDS and HIV infection and public health issues in the AIDS epidemic. Much of his research has focused on the natural history of HIV infection, and the epidemiology of AIDS and HIV infection in California and Latin America.

He also has studied the epidemiology and prevention of tuberculosis, syphilis, and coccidioidomycosis (a fungal infection endemic to the Southwestern US), and the interplay between managed care and public health.

Rutherford joined UCSF as a full-time faculty member in 1997, but has been a member of the courtesy faculty in pediatrics and epidemiology since 1986. He currently serves as director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies International Program.

Rutherford also served as the state health officer for California from 1993 to 1995 and as state epidemiologist from 1990 to 1995.

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