CSX Grant Will Fund New Institute for Risk Analysis As politicians and business people debate the issue of regulatory reform, the School of Public Health is taking action to ensure that government is basing its regulations on sound scientific data while not overly burdening businesses. At a press conference last week, Hopkins officials announced the formation of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, which will be established by a $1.85 million grant from the CSX Corp. The company and Hopkins have a long history together, with Mr. Hopkins serving on the board of the B & O Railroad, which eventually became CSX. Both Hopkins and the railroad company have always shared board members. Researchers involved in risk assessment look at potential hazards in an environment, consider to what degree the potential hazards might affect the public and try to determine the risk of harm these hazards can have on the public. At the press conference, Thomas A. Burke, associate professor of health policy and management and the institute's co-director, said, "Risk assessment has gone from being the domain of a few scientists ... to being the very heart of the whole regulatory reform approach being debated in Washington." Among its first tasks will be to conduct a series of seminars with legislators, members of the business community and health agencies, and citizens groups, all of whom have a say in the formulation and implementation of public policy. Responding to the concern that the institute may favor business since it is being underwritten by a powerful industrial corporation, CSX chairman John W. Snow said he expected the institute to provide those embroiled in the debate with sound scientific evaluations, which will be neither pro-regulation nor anti-regulation. Snow estimated that the nation's businesses have spent approximately $750 billion to comply with federal regulations, which he characterized as a substantial and excessive burden. The institute also will offer a master's degree in risk assessment and management.
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