Community Concerns and Communications Work Group
Community Concerns and Communications Work Group
May 10, 2005 - Meeting Minutes
ORRHES Members attending:
George Gartseff (Chair), Don Box, Kowetha Davidson, Jeff Hill (phone), David Johnson, and James Lewis
ATSDR Staff attending:
Loretta Bush (phone) and Marilyn Horton
Public Members attending:
Lynne Roberson (phone)
Liz Bertelsen (phone)
Regarding Mr. Gartseff's work group meeting report at the May 3 ORRHES meeting, James Lewis expressed frustration with the abbreviated response that was provided. In his opinion, the report did not reflect the discussions from the past meeting. He expressed concern about this because, in his opinion, people had shared their feelings about the positive and negative aspects of the effort.
Mr. Gartseff asked for comments on the meeting minutes. Mr. Lewis noted that he had extensive comments on the minutes, which he had hoped could have been used as the basis for this meeting. He expressed his belief that the minutes appeared sanitized and did not read as past minutes. He expressed interest in obtaining the meeting tape for comparison. He expressed frustration that statements and action items appeared to have been omitted and several issues were not addressed.
Referring to the public outreach evaluation that was presented at the last meeting, Mr. Lewis noted that he had made comments about the effort and its sequencing, which were captured in the minutes. He noted that comments were made on the outreach activities, and work group members had commented that this gave an impression that a significant level of effort took place.
He referred to comments made by himself and Mr. Gartseff on page 3, and noted how they had to dissect the plan during the meeting to count how many public members had actually attended. He indicated that this not only dealt with the level of effort, but also with the effectiveness of the effort.
Mr. Lewis referred to his statement on page 5 of the minutes, regarding the timing of the community education sessions in relation to the Cancer Incidence Review (CIR), and that Bill Taylor responded that there was a previous discussion in the work group and a decision was made to hold the presentations prior to the release of the CIR. Mr. Lewis recalled that Mr. Gartseff had made statements following Dr. Taylor's comment, noting that they were not given an opportunity to determine when Dr. Brent was going to speak because he had already been scheduled.
Mr. Lewis indicated that outstanding issues that were not included in the minutes. He indicated that he felt that it was inappropriate that items were left out. He questioned whether the minutes had been changed because, in his opinion, they seemed different than past meeting minutes and the format that had been agreed upon by the group. He asked if adjustments had been made, and if so, he questioned why this change was initiated.
Ms. Horton explained that the minutes were changed based on direction from Jana Telfer, the Director of ATSDR's Office of Communication. Ms. Horton stated that Dr. Bill Cibulas met with Ms. Telfer, who read the work group and ORRHES minutes, and questioned their format. According to Ms. Horton, she and Jack Hanley met with Ms. Telfer, who recommended that they use transcripts for the minutes. However, as Ms. Horton noted, transcripts were not appropriate since the ORRHES had voted three times opposing them. Therefore, Ms. Telfer had provided samples of how to modify the current format of the meeting minutes. Ms. Horton added that the purpose of the meeting minutes is to only capture the issues, the action items, and the recommendations. She stated that Mr. Lewis's comments were being captured in tonight's meeting minutes.
Mr. Lewis questioned whether this decision had been discussed with any members of ORRHES since the agreed upon approach was being modified. Ms. Horton explained that they were taking direction from project management. Mr. Lewis indicated that he felt that these issues should have been discussed. In his opinion, he identified a similar trend with the ORRHES minutes where modifications were made to an already established procedure. He said, however, that he would discuss this issue at a later time.
Mr. Lewis expressed his belief that if certain positions in ORRHES or ATSDR attempted to sanitize issues, then these needed to be noted. He stated that oftentimes it is not always an individual, but the impact of the system that he is interested in. Dr. Davidson was not sure the system that Mr. Lewis was referring to, but stated her belief that factsnot suspicionsmatter. Mr. Gartseff agreed that minutes should only include factual statements. Mr. Lewis noted that a definition was prepared and captured in the by-laws regarding this issue.
These were draft minutes, as Mr. Gartseff pointed out, and omissions will be brought forward. He expressed his belief that the minutes represented a summary of the information discussed, and noted appreciation for Mr. Lewis's recall of the events from the last meeting. Mr. Gartseff added one comment to the meeting minutes, regarding a statement on the third paragraph from the bottom of page 3, which noted that they were given an opportunity to provide comments on the flyer. Mr. Gartseff had stated that ATSDR had canceled the CCCWG meeting that was planned to discuss the comments on the flyer. In addition, he had said that comments were submitted, but they were not considered because the flyer had already been prepared by the time the comments were provided.
According to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) regulations, Dr. Davidson said, ATSDR is only required to provide a summary of meetings, and that anything more would be considered additional to those requirements. She stated that meeting minutes from another group that she is involved in are much briefer than the minutes for these meetings. Mr. Gartseff explained that they have held numerous discussions in the past pertaining to meeting minutes, and that he was not sure of all of the rules. He noted, however, to forward any omissions or mis-statements to Ms. Horton or Liz Bertelsen. The work group could reconsider the minutes once they have been revised.
Mr. Gartseff explained the reasoning behind discussing Dr. Brent's presentations again. He explained that he had not been prepared to give details of the CCCWG meeting during the ORRHES conference call based on the 2-hour format of the meeting. He added that he had not intended to delve into what he considered to be unnecessary detail, and apologized if Mr. Lewis was not satisfied with the level of detail that he had provided. He stated that there was a lot of discussion during the call, which in his opinion, was probably more than needed because it became more of a work group discussion.
Mr. Gartseff questioned whether further discussion was needed regarding Dr. Brent's presentations, and asked if developing a recommendation was appropriate. Dr. Davidson asked for clarification on whether they were discussing a recommendation for future presentations. In his opinion, Mr. Lewis said, there was an assumption that ATSDR achieved its goal, but he questioned whether this had been reviewed to assess if the needs of the outreach were met.
Don Box stated that he has approached his pastor to present the videos to his church members. If the videos are deemed worthwhile, then he would make them available to his fellowship.
Mr. Gartseff asked whether anyone had watched the videos. Bob Safay, Ms. Horton said, had provided her with a copy of the first edited version of Dr. Brent's presentation that was made on cancer. This presentation was not made in either Kingston or Oak Ridge. She had the tape if people were interested in watching it. Mr. Gartseff asked if the tape was in the office. Ms. Horton replied that she had the tape, but needed to bring it back to Atlanta.
Mr. Box noted that a significant portion (about 80%) of his fellow church members had worked at one of the three plants. In his opinion, they would be interested in these types of videos, and noted that he would show them if the material was well presented.
Mr. Gartseff asked about the timing of the video. Ms. Horton said that it was 45 minutes long.
Jeff Hill expressed his belief that the videos should not indicate any endorsement by ORRHES. Mr. Hill stated that he was not satisfied with the presentation and did not approve of it, expressing his belief that the discussion on radiation exposure of linear and no threshold was one-sided and extremely opinionated. Ms. Horton said that she had a video from a separate presentation that was not publicly announced; the video consisted of Dr. Brent's presentation and slides. Mr. Hill clarified that his comments referred to the presentation in Kingston.
Mr. Gartseff asked if Ms. Horton had only one copy of the video; she said that this was correct. He asked when duplicates would be made. Ms. Horton explained that after Mr. Safay made additional edits, he would ask Dr. Brent for comments. Mr. Lewis asked about the stage of the other two videos, but Ms. Horton did not know. Mr. Gartseff asked that Ms. Horton keep the work group updated on the status of the videos, and noted that it could be reviewed in a future CCCWG meeting.
Mr. Lewis explained that he intended to compare the New York Times article to the flyer. He said that he folded the flyer to determine where the substance about Dr. Brent was located. He expressed concern about a comment made at the last meeting suggesting that this flyer was adequate for providing information to potential attendees. By using a question and answer format, in his opinion, this article was more effective because it conveyed concerns that people have expressed and also provided responses to them. He expressed his belief that this type of promotional material would have generated more comments from the public and appealed to a larger crowd than the flyer, thus increasing the potential for a larger number of attendees. He suggested that the work group review this article to determine if this would be a preferred tool for promoting future presentations to the public.
Mr. Gartseff asked Mr. Lewis for suggestions on how to share this. Mr. Lewis noted that this could be done through various means, such as referencing a Web site. He referred to flyers that he had seen for other presentations in the area that provided useful information, such as an overview of the presentation and questions and answers that the speaker has responded to. He expressed his belief that showing specific issues would increase public interest.
Dr. Davidson asked whether the article was available before Dr. Brent gave his presentations, and expressed her belief that it would have been a mistake to have known about this article and not used it. Ms. Horton said that this was not shared with ATSDR staff beforehand.
Mr. Lewis indicated his belief that the speaker should have been asked for materials that have been used in the past. He asked whether these steps were taken. Ms. Horton explained that ATSDR had several discussions with Dr. Brent, who had recommended materials from different organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to Mr. Lewis, he had asked Dr. Brent about this after the Monday night presentation, and Dr. Brent displayed this article for him at the Tuesday night presentation to demonstrate materials he has used in the past.
Mr. Lewis also commented on a statement from the last meeting that referred to not giving impressions that links exist between certain diseases and some of the contaminants. Dr. Davidson replied that she had noted that one should not make a connection between an exposure and a contaminant if there is no information to support this. She said that she would stand behind her statement until something happens to make her change it.
Mr. Lewis expressed his belief that connections have already been made, whether they are accurate or not, and that these should have been acknowledged and addressed. In his opinion, by using a Life magazine article, Dr. Brent demonstrated how information can be taken out of context when connections have already been made. Mr. Lewis expressed frustration that Dr. Brent used a Life magazine article instead of articles that have been printed about issues in their area. For example, Mr. Lewis said Dr. Brent could have used the article entitled, "Learning Problems Soar Near Oak Ridge Complex," which detailed issues specific to their area.
Mr. Lewis stated that he could not verify the accuracy of these articles. Though, in his opinion, people make connections between themselves and their children when they read this type of information. Mr. Lewis questioned whether these types of articles had been shared with Dr. Brent, such as the issues raised in The Tennessean, so that he would be familiar with and frame his presentation around the issues specific to this community.
Mr. Lewis suggested that they consider the low attendance at the meetings. He referred to a comment from the past meeting that the community has possibly lost interest; although, Mr. Lewis indicated his belief that it was their responsibility to gain the public's interest. Mr. Lewis stated that he has repeatedly asked for this information to be shared with professionals to ensure that presentations are tied to the community.
Although The Tennessean articles were not provided to Dr. Brent, Ms. Horton said that fact sheets, briefs from public health assessments (PHAs), the Dose Reconstruction Report, and copies of the past few meeting minutes were given to him. In addition, she stated, some of the issues in the Community Concerns Database were discussed prior to the meeting. In her opinion, Dr. Brent was well prepared to come and give these presentations.
Dr. Davidson asked whether any questions were received before the meetings. Ms. Horton answered that ATSDR received only one question.
Mr. Lewis referred to Dr. Jerome Hirshman's presentation, and recalled that he had spoken with the work group prior to the meeting to give an overview of his presentation. Mr. Lewis noted that questions had been raised, and as a result, the presentation was more focused to the community. He noted that this did not take place with Dr. Brent's presentation, and indicated that this type of preparation differed from sending documents to someone for review.
Referring to the comment about the Community Concerns Database, Mr. Lewis indicated that concerns have been expressed about the database and its limitations in content. He expressed his hope that these types of issues would be presented to people so that they were aware of the limitations when dealing with the public's issues and concerns.
According to Mr. Lewis, Dr. Brent indicated that most of the public's issues related to the clinical side. In his opinion, Mr. Lewis said, interest has been lost in this area, and he expressed his belief that this was a programmatic weakness that could result in not obtaining and addressing needs within the community.
Dr. Davidson suggested that any ORRHES recommendations for future presentations contain more specific information than what has been provided in the past, such as what the subcommittee wants and how the subcommittee wants its recommendations completed. In her opinion, it was easier to recognize mistakes in hindsight. She noted that there were two parties involved, ATSDR and ORRHES, and that ORRHES would need to tell ATSDR exactly what it wanted and its expected outcome. Then, if the needs are not met satisfactorily, ORRHES can come back to ATSDR. In her opinion, one of their purposes is to know the communities in which they live in, and to provide input on the concerns within these communities. She expressed her belief that with their input, they should be able to develop a proposal or recommendation that would result in having a presentation that meets their expectations.
Mr. Gartseff noted that the New York Times article could be a useful tool, but he was still not sure how to use it. Regarding educating presenters before they speak, he expressed his belief that this could be and should be done. He stated that several problems have been identified. Overall, the group considered that the presentations had poor attendance. Regarding improvements that could have been made and items missing from the publicity materials, he said that he had provided specific comments on the flyer associated with its context. He had suggested that the flyer state why ATSDR was there, but his comment was not incorporated; then, there was a question from the audience asking why they were there.
Mr. Gartseff stated that the article contained a lot of context, and indicated that it could have been a useful tool if they had known about it beforehand. However, in his opinion, a larger question regarded whether the speaker reflected the true concerns of the community, which is an area he foresees this work group being able to most directly influence. He indicated that the work group would like to be involved from the onset of future presentations to provide input on the promotions and the topics. In his opinion, this type of involvement would eliminate the possibility of being surprised that two different presentations were occurring.
Mr. Gartseff pointed out that there are also going to be many public meetings as the PHAs are released. He questioned whether there were lessons learned from these presentations that could be applied to those future meetings. He noted his belief, however, that their biggest issue dealt with how to gain the interest of the community so that public members will want to attend.
Regarding public interest, Mr. Hill explained that asthma was a timely subject as a result of the recent report that rated Knoxville and Chattanooga as seven and three in the nation, respectively. Although this might not coordinate directly to the subject of future presentations, Mr. Hill expressed his belief that including this topic as even a small portion of a presentation would draw public attendees. Mr. Lewis noted that the CDC conducted a presentation on respiratory infections in Scarboro. In his opinion, this presentation had been thorough, and recommended that Mr. Hill could use this presentation as a reference point.
Mr. Lewis explained that when he was chair of this work group, he had researched and obtained several documents (such as articles expressing concerns) related to these issues that have been shared with ATSDR on multiple occasions. In his opinion, the agency tended to put the burden on them to continue this effort, but he stated that it was not their responsibility to duplicate these efforts. He expressed his belief that if these activities had been conducted appropriately when they were requested and captured in the proper place, then they would not be discussing corrective actions now. In his opinion, he said, they ended up defending the agency when these things occur. He noted that he worked hard to obtain these items in the past, and showed The Tennessean article that he had gone back to the library to obtain.
Mr. Gartseff summarized that many observations, consisting of both facts and opinions, have been presented as a result of discussing Dr. Brent's presentations. He questioned whether a formal recommendation to ORRHES was warranted.
In his opinion, Mr. Johnson said, there is a perception of listening, but that people do not hear what is being said. He stated that they had to delve deeper to move forward and resolve certain concerns that exist. He expressed his belief that Mr. Lewis has received credibility and respect for his excellent researching and the materials he is able to obtain, and he is appreciated for his willingness to share the information; however, he indicated that this sometimes becomes overwhelming. In his opinion, if Dr. Brent had captured certain community concerns, it would have allowed for a dynamic marketing tool to the general public. He was not sure what they should do for the next situation, but recommended that they work harder and more cohesively to ensure that an appropriate presentation is made to the public. He expressed his belief that this related to the trust factor, and questioned how they could regain the trust of people who no longer participate.
Mr. Box stated that his minister and church congregation are interested in their activities. He reiterated that many of his church members were former workers. Also, in his opinion, there were a lot of people interested in these issues surrounding the history of Oak Ridge. He indicated his belief that the sick worker program also directly impacted these activities, and that many issues have been passed over, which needed to be brought back to the table so that they could move forward effectively.
Mr. Gartseff stated that another presentation of this nature was not scheduled. However, presentations on the PHAs would be coming up. He asked whether there were lessons that they have learned from these presentations that they could apply to future presentations.
Mr. Lewis questioned how there could be no followup if presentations being held to address the most significant concerns in the community were not effective. In his opinion, the agency was avoiding having to address real health issues. He expressed his belief that they continue to discuss the same issues because activities conducted to address them do not effectively meet the needs of the population asking the questions. He noted that they had to determine how to make these efforts effective. He expressed concern that they did not have a list of the major issues and concerns that have been raised by the public, and therefore, they would not know who to invite to these sessions or what questions they might have when they attend. He said that he might consider developing a recommendation to determine whether these activities were adequate, and if it was determined that they were not, then he might consider recommending that the presentations be held again after the CIR is released. In his opinion, the public was shortchanged because of mistakes that were made. He added that he assumed that the public is interested, instead of presuming that it is not, and considers how they can build interest to draw in the public.
Ms. Horton noted that Mr. Lewis had made an excellent point. She added that the work group could make a recommendation to ORRHES if it determines that a presentation by Dr. Brent or another expert is warranted. She indicated that Dr. Brent could be asked to come and deliver the same presentations, Dr. Brent or another expert could deliver different presentations, or they could use different styles of presentations.
Mr. Hill stated that he would not support Dr. Brent coming back to give a presentation. He indicated his preference for someone with a different style of presenting.
In his opinion, Mr. Box said, one of the significant problems with attracting people to these events relates to the fact that many of these articles claiming health effects in the Oak Ridge area have been refuted. For example, he said that The Tennessean article was released in 1997, and that an article essentially refuting its contents was printed 3 to 6 months later in the New York Times. Throughout the years, he said, several articles have claimed that various health effects have occurred in the Oak Ridge area, and then other articles have been released saying that these statements are not true and that these effects are not due to radiation in Oak Ridge. He expressed his belief that the public has been battered by these articles, and that another person discussing cause and effect would not be favorable.
Mr. Lewis stated that Mr. Box's point was well taken. He explained that this was expressed at the first town hall meeting as the foremost complaint. At that time, in his opinion, ATSDR gave the impression that it would evaluate these positive and negative issues and make a health determination. He expressed his belief that nothing has taken place to formally address these issues in a collective manner, such as in a videotape. He suggested having a spokesperson address these issues to the public. Mr. Lewis recommended that ATSDR complete what it was initially asked to do, including obtaining issues and concerns from these articles, assessing the issues, and categorizing them. Ms. Horton asked whether he was referring to filling the gaps of the needs assessment. She noted that ERG was tasked with this literature review and was working on it. In his opinion, Mr. Lewis replied, these issues should have been identified and collectively addressed.
Mr. Lewis explained that Dr. Brent showed a picture from Life magazine that depicted a military man holding his child who had birth defects. According to Mr. Lewis, Dr. Brent used this picture as an example of how connections are made when they should not be. In his opinion, the agency should have done something like this with the concerns of people living in this area, and in his opinion, the agency failed to meet the needs of the community.
Regarding having a spokesperson to address these issues, Mr. Johnson recommended a respected television newsperson, Bill Williams, because he has personally been affected by cancer. He has held numerous town hall meetings, and is well known in the area. In his opinion, Mr. Johnson said, a negative aspect of having Dr. Brent was that he is not known in the community. Dr. Davidson asked whether Mr. Williams knows about cancer. Mr. Johnson answered that he has been directly impacted. Dr. Davidson expressed her belief that knowing cancer and being impacted by cancer are different. Mr. Johnson said that Mr. Williams could offer a first person point of view, and someone else could be present to address technical questions. He expressed his belief that the public will want easy to understandnot highly technicalresponses to their questions.
Mr. Gartseff asked about ERG's scope for fulfilling the gaps of the needs assessment. Ms. Horton explained that ERG will be assisting with the literature review, including identifying specific community concerns regarding health and environmental hazards that have been in The Tennessean articles and various reports. ERG is only working on a few parts of this task. Maria Teran-MacIver is working on gathering contacts for conducting key resource interviews with area representatives, such as nurses, health clinics, and the American Cancer Society.
When working with those agencies, Mr. Hill recommended contacting an oncologist. In his opinion, they have a lot of credibility in their area and this would gain attention from himself and other community members.
Mr. Lewis mentioned contacting Dr. Bob Overholt, as recommended previously. He indicated his belief that they needed an appropriate communicator to correspond with a technical individual, and that they needed someone who knows the community's issues and is used to dealing with the public on a clinical level. In his opinion, Dr. Brent was outstanding in handling individuals who have been, according to Mr. Lewis, turned off by negativity and arrogance received in the past by ATSDR. He expressed his belief that these individuals indicated feeling that they had been heard and understood by Dr. Brent. He added that, in his opinion, Dr. Brent had a humbleness that came across when addressing their issues. He expressed concern that they need to look at how their messages are being received.
Regarding the public outreach evaluation, Mr. Lewis suggested reordering the sequence of objectives by reversing objective a (inform the public about the community education sessions) and objective b (gather questions and concerns) to gather the concerns before informing the public about the sessions. He expressed concern that this did not meet his limited expectations, and indicated his belief that there was a programmatic breakdown because the program was not linked to the sequence to produce the desired outcome.
Mr. Hill noted that the meeting location may not be a key factor in the attendance, but suggested that a different venue may improve it. He recommended that ATSDR consider using Kingston Medical Plaza, located in a medical clinic in a newer area (Ladd Landing). He could be contacted if the agency was interested. He suggested that having a presentation in an actual medical clinic might draw more attendees than a community center.
Mr. Lewis recommended the following: ATSDR go back and complete the efforts of the needs assessment as it relates to the issues and concerns. After completing this task, find out the categories in areas that are in question. Look at upcoming presentations and/or the PHAs and link these types of educational presentations to contaminants of concern, if they can be related to them, or a combination thereof in a timely manner. In his opinion, ATSDR had done this correctly when Dr. Hirshman went over his presentation beforehand with the work group prior to making his actual presentation. He stated his belief that there were problems with the publicity and timing (middle of the day) for Dr. Hirshman's presentation, but recommended taking similar steps with future presentations to improve the outreach efforts and the education program.
Mr. Gartseff suggested working with Mr. Lewis to formulate a recommendation to discuss at the next meeting.
Mr. Gartseff asked if there was any overlap between Mr. Lewis's suggestions and the tasks that ERG was undertaking, and questioned when ERG would be completed. Ms. Horton explained that ERG was working on the first part of the recommendation, to continue and finish the literature review for community concerns. She was not sure of the completion date, and added that the agency was still giving the assignment to ERG. Mr. Gartseff confirmed that the work was not yet in progress, but would be conducted; Ms. Horton said that he was correct. She added that they were still gathering reports to send to ERG and will obtain an estimate of the time frame. Mr. Gartseff noted that all of the items mentioned in the recommendation may still be applicable.
Dr. Davidson asked whether ERG was combining the literature review and reports. Ms. Horton said that this was correct.
Mr. Gartseff indicated that he was surprised when the issue of ATSDR and ORRHES interface was sent to the CCCWG at the ORRHES meeting. In his opinion, this was more of an administrative issue; nonetheless, he said that they could discuss the issue to determine whether it could be resolved in this work group.
Dr. Davidson asked for clarification on the issue. Mr. Gartseff noted that the issue dealt with interface with ORRHES and ATSDR. He stated that this was a communication issue, but asked whether it was more of an administrative communication issue to be dealt with separately.
Mr. Johnson expressed his belief that all verbal communications were interwoven issues. He explained that there was a non-enforceable contract between two parties. According to Mr. Johnson, there are impressions of listening, but that people may or may not be listening to what is being said. He indicated that he has seen people be turned off by this on numerous occasions. In his opinion, they needed to make sure that they were all on the same page and that people were being understood when they speak.
Dr. Davidson asked for clarification of the actual issue that remains. Mr. Gartseff stated that this was associated with issues raised at the November 30, 2004, executive session. Ms. Horton added that Mr. Lewis had brought this issue up at the last meeting, and suggested that Mr. Lewis provide additional details.
According to Mr. Lewis, he brought this issue up at the last ORRHES meeting to remind Dr. Cibulas about the statements made by Barry Lawson and Dr. Cibulas's commitment to addressing this issue. He indicated that he was referring to the administrative perspective of the issues and comments raised, which in his opinion, were not being acted upon, were not listened to, and were sometimes ignored. He expressed his belief that there was a feeling that this was intentional and that this was an administrative issue. In his opinion, every person should be heard with the same intensity to address his or her issue; however, he expressed his belief that some of the ORRHES members and ATSDR staff representatives were not addressing issues equally. This was pointed out, Mr. Lewis said, during the executive session and examples were presented.
In his opinion, Mr. Lewis said, concerns were not being captured and there was avoidance of responding to issues. He suggested having an open discussion on personalities and interactions with ATSDR. He questioned why some people no longer participated and asked whether this was related to ATSDR's interaction with them. He expressed his belief that this issue should be evaluated internally regarding leadership in ORRHES and ATSDR to determine whether issues are being listened to and addressed.
Mr. Gartseff recommended that he and Mr. Lewis talk about this issue offline when discussing the recommendation to determine how to proceed. In his opinion, the communication among them was extremely important, but he was not sure whether this should be resolved by the CCCWG. Mr. Lewis stated that he would support Mr. Gartseff's suggestion, but indicated that Mr. Lawson had identified and separated this as a separate issue. In addition, according to Mr. Lewis, Dr. Cibulas said that he would address it. He expressed concern that items were not addressed when they were not identified as action items, and in his opinion, the system was flawed because he has to continuously bring up issues.
Ms. Horton referred to the report from the executive session, and noted that ATSDR and ORRHES relationship issues had not been discussed during the session due to time constraints. She read the five principles: a) How to identify and resolve hurdles between subcommittee and agency, b) How to get ATSDR to indicate what it wants from ORRHES, c) How to avoid possible manipulation of ORRHES by ATSDR, d) How to get the job done, and e) How to best answer the questions: 1) Has any harm been done to individuals by Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) operations? and 2) Is the community safe to live in now (and will it be in the future)?
Mr. Lewis indicated that this was a short list prepared during the session, and that they did not have an opportunity to finish it. However, in his opinion, this would be an appropriate starting point. He also stated that discussions were held about interactions and relationships with key individuals. Mr. Lewis expressed his desire to have an open discussion. Ms. Horton explained that Dr. Cibulas had asked for additional questions that directly related to ATSDR, and had noted that ATSDR would respond in writing to each question. She had sent the report out on several occasions, but no questions were received. She indicated that Dr. Cibulas made a recommitment to this issue because Mr. Lewis brought it up again at the last ORRHES meeting.
Mr. Lewis stated that formal meeting minutes were not taken at the session. Mr. Lewis indicated that he was surprised when an e-mail was sent out asking for additional questions as though the issues were resolved because, in his recollection, Dr. Cibulas had made a commitment at the session to hold an open discussion to address these issues.
Mr. Gartseff recommended that they try to keep this issue within the purview of this work group. If it could not be related to the work group, however, then it might need to be handled by an Ad Hoc committee. Dr. Davidson requested that outstanding issues be brought to her. Mr. Gartseff stated that these would be forwarded to her. He asked about availability for work group members to discuss these issues offline. Mr. Johnson would be available. Dr. Davidson would not be able to attend the May 24 meeting; Mr. Gartseff stated that he would try to e-mail her before then.
Mr. Gartseff asked whether the group had received the Cornell University Study. He indicated that the study dealt with some of the questions that they have discussed, and also contained open-ended answers on some related issues. Dr. Davidson expressed her belief that the addresses were obtained from the meeting sign-in sheets. Mr. Gartseff and Mr. Johnson both signed in as ORRHES members without providing their addresses, but still received them. Ms. Horton explained that people were given an opportunity to not be included on the list during the presentations, and that the researcher was provided with addresses for people who did not provide them on the sheet since no one objected.
Mr. Gartseff indicated that the study dealt with some of the issues that they have talked about tonight. Mr. Lewis asked whether the study was affiliated with ATSDR. Ms. Horton answered that this was a completely separate effort. She explained that the researcher had asked her for a mailing list. She had told him that she could not provide a mailing list, but recommended that he attend the meetings to ask members of the public for their information.
Ms. Horton asked if people wanted to stay to watch the video, which was on Dr. Brent's third presentation on cancer. Mr. Gartseff questioned whether the video still required editing. Ms. Horton stated that the video had been through one edit thus far. He asked about the turn around time, but she did not know. Mr. Lewis asked what issues the video addressed. Ms. Horton said that cancer and genetics were discussed.
Mr. Hill stated that he had commented on a report conducted by the CDC during Dr. Brent's presentation. He said that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) had actually conducted the study that dealt with age and worker exposure to radiation. Ms. Horton had provided the study to him, and he expressed appreciation to her for sending it.
Mr. Gartseff adjourned the meeting at 7:00 p.m.