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Science Policy Discussion Group

The NIH Science Policy Discussion Group (SPDG) was established in 2009 as a fellow-led and run self-governing organization to bring together fellows with a shared passion for understanding the intersection of scientific research and legislative policy. The purpose of the SPDG is to enhance our knowledge and understanding of science policy and contribute to the public discourse on specific issues of current relevance and public interest.


SPDG members meet twice a month to discuss a science policy related topic in the context of the prevailing scientific, political, and socioeconomic climate, as well as its governing policies. For information on previous topics discussed by the group, please visit our topics page. A unique science policy topic is discussed each month. Prior to the first monthly meeting, members read background material coupled with current editorials and reviews. Each month one of the meetings will be a round table discussion among fellows, and at the other, an invited speaker with expertise in the field joins the group to lead a more in-depth analysis of relevant policies and share their personal experience and insight with SPDG members. A listing of the monthly discussion topics, as well as the invited speakers, can be found on the SPDG Calendar. Each member of the SPDG is expected to help to lead and coordinate one of the monthly discussion topics as part of a small group. Each small group (4-7 members) is responsible for selecting a science policy discussion topic as well as background literature, editorials, and relevant links for the entire SPDG to read. The small group is also responsible for leading the discussion roundtable and inviting the guest speaker to lead the other discussion session. Additionally, members will be asked to contribute at least one piece on a science policy related topic of their choosing.  Please see the Membership Policies page for further information on meeting attendance and group participation.


SPDG meetings are held in Building 10 (CRC) in Room 2-3330, unless otherwise announced. Please note, Building10/Room 2-3330 is not accessible from the main atrium area of the 2nd floor. 


The Science Policy Discussion Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday afternoons from 4-5 pm between October and June.


Space in the group is limited. Members are selected in late August or early September of each year based on a short written statement of intent. Please browse the web site to learn more about the group.  If you are interested becoming a member please refer to the Group Policies page for more information about membership and watch for application announcements from the Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) distributed in late August. 


For questions or additional information, please contact the current SPDG Co-Chairs:  Mary Weston ( and Lynda Truong ( 


Agnes Donko
Allison Dennis
Patrick Wright


Sarah Hawes
Shakira Nelson
Steven Brooks

Jessica Hostetler
Teresa Ramirez
Brian Russ
Amy Kullas


April Killikelly
Daniël P. Melters 


Aminul Islam (Joel)

Jennifer Seedorf


Kevin Ramkissoon

Libby Barksdale (part year)

Meghan Mott (part year)


Lanyn Taliaferro

Joe Francica


Adam Kuszak

Bruce Hutchins (Ian)


Renee Oalno

Callie Raulfs


Kristofor Langlais*

Sandra Chapman*



*These co-chairs founded the SPDG which started in 2010