Last legislative session, the Legislature and Governor made a statutory change that moved the AZ Biomedical Research Commission to our agency.   The Commission basically awards contracts for research projects that translate into interventions to save lives.  Our funding (a few million dollars per year) comes from tobacco taxes and some lottery funds.  Shoana Anderson has volunteered to serve as the Acting Executive Director for the Commission during the transition. 

Our first priorities were to get a good handle on the financial “books” and make some recommendations to replace several expired Commission slots.  We’ve made some progress in both areas.  To ensure we understand everything the Commission has done, we awarded a contract to an outside auditor to give us a full financial assessment – and we’ve been working throughout the fall to identify new Commissioners.  Early in 2012, we expect to begin recruiting for a permanent Executive Director and begin working with the new Commissioners (after they’re confirmed by the AZ State Senate) to put together a strategic roadmap for the Commission by working with statewide biomedical research Stakeholders. 

We expect to continue honoring the current research contracts as long as they’re performing well and meeting their contractual obligations- but we don’t expect to award any new research projects until after we’ve seated and confirmed new Commissioners, selected an Executive Director, and developed a strategic roadmap for the Commission.