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Maintenance mechanic is on health panel

Industrial maintenance mechanic Sunil Kashyap of Richmond Hill, Ont., is a member of a group of panelists who have...


Industrial maintenance mechanic Sunil Kashyap of Richmond Hill, Ont., is a member of a group of panelists who have been asked to consider the complex and important issues surrounding the development of xenotransplantation, the medical use of living animal organs, cells or tissues in humans.

The Canadian Public Health Association is holding a public forum in Toronto on May 26 to ask residents if they think Canada should proceed to develop xenotransplantation. The public forum will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre, Salons C & D, 525 Bay St., Toronto. It is one of several such forums taking place across the country.

The Toronto public forum is part of a national consultation the Canadian Public Health Association has been commissioned to conduct by Health Canada. The forum will feature lots of discussion, questions from the public and presentations from a panel of experts.

Kashyap is among 18 Toronto and area residents who have been selected as citizen panelists. After the public forum concludes, the panelists will work with the experts to develop their own opinions and answers to the question: Should Canada proceed?

The citizen panelists were chosen through a blended selection process. First, letters of invitation were sent to 2,500 randomly selected households. Then, a selection committee considered a variety of factors as well as written comments provided by respondents to choose the panelists. Once selected, each panelist received extensive briefing on the issues.

A discussion paper prepared for the public forum — Animal-to-Human Transplantation: Should Canada Proceed? — examines the issue of xenotransplantation and will kick start the discussions.