The purpose of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) is to review scientific and medical evidence and to make recommendations to the Administrator of the WTC Health Program on additional WTC Program eligibility criteria, research needs, and on additional WTC-related health conditions. The STAC may be consulted on other matters as related to the WTC Health Program and outlined in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (“Act”).
The STAC was established by Public Law 111-347, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Title XXXIII of the Public Health Service Act, enacted on January 2, 2011 and codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 300mm-300mm-61. Section 3302(a) of the Act establishes the STAC and describes its membership composition and other administrative requirements. Per Section 3302(a)(6), the STAC is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App. The Charter for the STAC was filed with the Congress on May 12, 2011, amended on September 6, 2011. The charter is filed with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension.
All members of the STAC are appointed by the WTC Program Administrator. The STAC consists of at least 15 members, including the STAC Chair. Additional members may be appointed at the discretion of the WTC Program Administrator. Of the 15 required members, four are occupational physicians, at least two of whom have experience treating WTC rescue and recovery workers; one is a physician with expertise in pulmonary medicine; two are environmental medicine or environmental health specialists; two are representatives of WTC responders; two are representatives of certified-eligible WTC survivors; one is an industrial hygienist; one is a toxicologist; one is an epidemiologist; and one is a mental health professional. Members, other than federal government employees, will be deemed special government employees. Currently, all members of STAC are designated as voting.
STAC members are appointed to serve overlapping terms of up to four years. The STAC is chartered for two years, and terms of more than two years are contingent upon the renewal of the STAC’s charter by appropriate action prior to its expiration. A member may continue to serve up to 180 days after the expiration of the member’s term if a successor has not been appointed.
If a vacancy occurs among the appointed members, the WTC Program Administrator shall make every effort to make an appointment to fill the vacancy within 90 days from the date the vacancy occurs. Any individual who is appointed to fill a vacancy for the unexpired term of a member shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term; the new appointee may be reappointed for an additional term at the discretion of the WTC Program Administrator.
Membership includes the responsibility to routinely attend STAC meetings personally and physically at the meeting location. No substitutes for members will be permitted. The WTC Program Administrator reserves the ability to replace any member who is unable to routinely participate personally and physically in the STAC's meetings.
As deemed necessary, the STAC may establish standing subcommittees or work groups composed of members of the STAC, and, with the approval of the WTC Program Administrator, seek advice from non-member special consultants through oral or written testimony. The DHHS and CDC Committee Management Office shall be notified upon establishment of each standing subcommittee and shall be provided with information on its name, membership, function, and estimated frequency of meetings.
The advice of a standing subcommittee or work group shall be reported to the full STAC. The full STAC shall review reports and any recommendations made by the standing subcommittees or work groups. Findings will be discussed at a public meeting of the full STAC, at which time a vote of the full STAC will be required to determine appropriate action including making a recommendation to the WTC Program Administrator.
Any correspondence (letter, fax, e-mail, etc.) received by a committee member from an entity outside the committee which addresses committee business should be routed to the Committee Management Specialist for the STAC who consults with the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) to determine the most appropriate respondent. In some cases, the Chair of the STAC is the appropriate person; in other cases, it may be the DFO or another CDC official. STAC members are not authorized to represent HHS, CDC, or NIOSH regarding any WTC Health Program matters and in no case should a member reply to official correspondence without consulting the DFO. The only exception to this rule is that all members are free to respond to questions about established points of fact (e.g., meeting dates, citations for STAC recommendations, etc.).
Meetings of the full STAC shall be held at a frequency determined by the WTC Program Administrator based on program needs and based on support available under the World Trade Center Health Program Fund described in Section 3351(c)(2) of the Act. Meetings will be called by the DFO in consultation with the STAC Chair, according to the following considerations:
The DFO will publish a meeting notice in the Federal Register as soon as dates are confirmed. The DFO will make every effort to provide notice ahead of the 15-day minimum notice required by FACA to facilitate public attendance at the meeting.
Members of the public attending any meeting or portion of a meeting that is not closed to the public may, at the determination of the STAC Chair and DFO, orally address the STAC during specially designated times at the meeting. Specific information regarding the opportunity for public comment shall be provided in the Federal Register meeting announcement. The DFO and STAC Chair will determine the amount of time permitted for public comment as necessary.
In rare instances, the DFO and STAC Chair may decide in advance to exclude public comment during a meeting, in which case the meeting announcement published in the Federal Register will note that oral public comment during the meeting will be excluded, but that written comment will be accepted.
When materials are brought before, or presented to, the STAC for an open meeting, and are received by the deadline posted in the Federal Register meeting announcement, efforts will be made to make the materials available to the public for review at the meeting. Written materials submitted by the deadline will be uploaded and made available for public access. All materials may be subject to review and redaction to address concerns regarding privacy and personally identifiable information or personal health information.
FACA states that advisory committee meetings should be open to the public to the extent allowed by law and physical environment. The DFO has the authority to regulate all aspects of the meetings, including electronic coverage. To ensure the meeting is conducted in a fair and expeditious manner, the DFO may restrict or deny use of electronic recording equipment. Any member finding lights or recording equipment disruptive to the conduct of business at the meeting should inform the DFO.
All recommendations of the STAC will be published on the public Web site established for the WTC Health Program.
No decision or recommendation can be voted upon unless a quorum, as defined in Section C. of these by-laws, of committee members are present.
When a decision or recommendation of the STAC is required, the Chairperson will request a motion for a vote. Any member, including the Chairperson, may make a motion for a vote. A second after a proper motion will be required to bring any issue to vote. Only members participating during a meeting may vote. Voting via proxy is strictly prohibited.
A decision or recommendation will be considered passed if a majority of the voting members vote in favor the motion.
STAC Chair: The STAC Chair works with the DFO and STAC members to establish priorities and identify issues which must be addressed. In addition, the STAC Chair is responsible for certifying the accuracy of minutes of STAC meetings.
Designated Federal Officer: The DFO serves as the government's agent for all matters related to the STAC's activities. The DFO shall:
In addition, the DFO is responsible for providing adequate staff support to the STAC, including the performance of the following functions:
Members shall be paid at the prevailing rate, plus per diem and travel expenses, as authorized by Section 5703, Title 5 U.S.C., as amended, for persons employed intermittently in the Government service. Members who are full-time officers or employees of the United States Government shall not receive compensation for service on the STAC. The government will pay travel and per diem for non-government members at a rate equivalent to that allowable for Federal employees. A summary of the STAC's activities, including estimated expenses related to meeting costs and compensation for staff and STAC members' travel expenses is provided in an annual report and accessible to the public via GSA's FACA Shared Management System.