Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 16, 1995

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

     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

     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.

Go back to Previous Page

Go to Gazette Homepage