R. Alta Charo | wisconsinacademy.org
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R. Alta Charo

Wisconsin Academy Fellow Induction Year: 2005
Biomedical Ethicist
Area of Expertise:

R. Alta Charo is the Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she is on the faculty of the Law School and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the medical school.  She also serves on the faculty of the UW Masters in Biotechnology Studies program and lectures in the MPH program of the Dept. of Population Health Sciences.

Professor Charo served on President Obama's transition team, where she was a member of the HHS review team, focusing her attention particularly on transition issues related to NIH, FDA, bioethics, stem cell policy, and women's reproductive health.  She is on leave 2009-2011 to serve as a senior policy advisor on emerging technology issues in the Office of the Commissioner at the US Food & Drug Administration.

Professor Charo is the author of nearly 100 articles, book chapters and government reports on law and policy related to environmental protection, reproductive health, new reproductive technologies, medical genetics, stem cell research, science funding, and research ethics.  She has served as a member of the boards of the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the Foundation for Genetic Medicine, the National Medical Advisory Committee of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the program board of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.  She has also been on the boards of the Society for the Advancement of Women's Health and the former American Association of Bioethics, as well as the ethics advisory board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In addition, she has served as a consultant to the National Academy of Science's  Institute of Medicine and the former NIH Office of Protection from Research Risks.

Charo has also served on several expert advisory boards of organizations with an interest in stem cell research, including  CuresNow, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the International Society for Stem Cell Research and WiCell, as well as on the advisory board to the Wisconsin Stem Cell Research Program.   From 2005-2009 she was a member of the ethics standards working group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.  Also in 2005, she helped to draft the National Academies' Guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, and in 2006 she was appointed to co-chair the National Academies' Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee.

At the National Academies, from 2001-2008 she was a member of the Board on Life Sciences.  She served as its liaison to the Committee on Research Standards and Practices to Prevent Destructive Applications of Biotechnology as well as its committee to develop national voluntary guidelines for stem cell research.  She also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Smallpox Vaccination Program Implementation and since 2006 she has served on its Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice.  In 2005-2006, she was a member of the  committee to review the FDA and the U.S. national system for the assurance of drug safety.

Ms. Charo was born in Brooklyn, NY. She is fond of poker, foreign language study, cats, home renovation, Harry Potter books, old movies, roller coasters, salsa music, Jane Austen novels and Star Trek.

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