Date:  June 7, 2013





Advisory Group Appointed to Lead National Academy of Sciences' New Gulf of Mexico Program


WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences' Gulf of Mexico program has appointed an advisory group to create a strategic vision and guide the program's development and implementation.  Serving for one year, the advisory group will articulate the program's mission, goals, and objectives -- including preliminary thinking about metrics to measure its impacts -- and outline how the program will operate in the first three to five years. 


The 24-member group draws on the science, engineering, and health expertise of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.  Chaired by outgoing NAS Vice President Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, the group includes people with experiences in academia and industry, as well as people with deep connections to the Gulf region. 


"The advisory group brings distinction, expertise from diverse disciplines, and a wide range of experience to the task of defining the program," said NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone.  "With Dr. Schaal's leadership and her familiarity with the National Academy of Sciences and its values, we're confident that the program's design will be based on scientific merit and integrity."


The $500 million, 30-year program was established as part of the settlements of federal criminal complaints against British Petroleum and Transocean Ltd. following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, which resulted in 11 deaths, 17 injuries, and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.  The program will focus on human health, environmental protection, and oil system safety in the Gulf of Mexico and the United States' Outer Continental Shelf, and will fund and carry out studies, projects, and activities in research and development, education and training, and environmental monitoring.


To identify broad opportunities in these areas that best meet the program's charge, the advisory group will work to understand what other organizations and agencies are doing in the Gulf region.  As part of its information gathering activities, the group will conduct a series of in-person and virtual meetings in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Washington, D.C. to identify how the NAS program can make useful and lasting contributions.


The program will be run under the auspices of the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the NAS and NAE.  Together with the IOM, these private, nonprofit institutions provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter granted to NAS in 1863. Chris Elfring is the director of the Gulf program at the National Research Council.


Advisory group members and their affiliations at the time of appointment are:


Barbara A. Schaal, Chair (NAS)

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor

Washington University

St. Louis


Donald F. Boesch

Professor of Marine Science and President

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science



Robert S. Carney


Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge


Stephen R. Carpenter (NAS)

S.A. Forbes Professor of Zoology

University of Wisconsin



Cortis K. Cooper

Chevron Fellow

Chevron Corp.

San Ramon, Calif.


Courtney Cowart

Associate Dean, School of Theology

Sewanee: The University of the South

Sewanee, Tenn.


Robert A. Duce

Distinguished Professor

Texas A&M University

College Station


Deborah L. Estrin (NAE)

Professor of Computer Science

Cornell Tech

New York City


Christopher B. Field (NAS)

Director, Department of Global Ecology

Carnegie Institution for Science

Stanford, Calif.


Gerardo Gold-Bouchot


Center for Research and Advanced Studies

Mérida, Mexico


Lynn R. Goldman (IOM)

Dean, School of Public Health and Health Services

George Washington University

Washington, D.C.


Bernard D. Goldstein (IOM)

Professor Emeritus, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health



Thomas O. Hunter

Sandia National Laboratories (retired)

Albuquerque, N.M.


Shirley Ann Jackson (NAE)


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, N.Y.


Ashanti Johnson

Associate Research Professor

University of Texas, Arlington, and

Executive Director

Institute for Broadening Participation

Damariscotta, Maine


David M. Karl (NAS)

Professor of Oceanography

University of Hawaii



Molly McCammon

Executive Director

Alaska Ocean Observing System



Linda A. McCauley (IOM)


Emory University



J. Steven Picou

Professor of Sociology

University of South Alabama



Eduardo Salas

Professor of Psychology

University of Central Florida



Kerry Michael St. Pé

Executive Director

Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

Thibodaux, La.


Arnold F. Stancell (NAE)

Mobil Oil (retired)

Greenwich, Conn.


LaDon Swann

Director of Marine Programs

Auburn University

Ocean Springs, Miss.


James W. Ziglar

Senior Counsel

Van Ness Feldman

Washington, D.C.


Mark D. Zoback (NAE)

Benjamin M. Page Professor, Department of Geophysics

Stanford University

Stanford, Calif.



For more information, and to register to receive updates on the work of the program, including upcoming meetings, please visit



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