Community Liaison Committee(CLC)

Welcome to the homepage for the Galveston National Laboratory’s Community Liaison Committee.

The participation of the local Galveston community is important to the success of the GNL and the Community Liaison Committee – or CLC – is integral to that participation. 

The nine members of the CLC are a part of the advisory structure for the GNL.  As such, the CLC exists to promote public participation and transparency during construction and operation of the lab and to advise all GNL and university leadership on issues of importance to the community.  The CLC is composed of well-informed and interested local citizens nominated by the Galveston County judge and appointed to rotating terms by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System, and reports to the President of UTMB.

CLC members provide outreach and feedback to facilitate information flow between the GNL and the community. The CLC members meet monthly and additionally as needed. 

History of the CLC

Since 1997, the University has been engaged in an extensive and far-reaching dialogue with a broad spectrum of the Galveston community. This dialogue has focused on the University’s desire to enhance its infectious disease research by building on its campus a 2,000 square-foot Biosafety Level 4 maximum-containment laboratory (which has been fully operational since 2004 as the Robert E. Shope Laboratory) and an 82,000 square-foot National Biocontainment Laboratory - the GNL - largely funded by the National Institutes of Health.

One outgrowth of this comprehensive effort was the creation in 2003 of a broad-based Community Advisory Board (CAB), which now numbers more than 50 members representing Galveston and UTMB community and opinion leaders.

To facilitate transparency even further, the University sought to create a smaller, independent liaison group- the CLC – that could more quickly address issues as they arise, identifying those it considers most important to share with the larger community and the public, and advising university leadership accordingly.

The CLC’s Mission and Charge

The CLC is an advisory committee of nine community members independently appointed. The CLC provides a forum in which UTMB can advise public representatives in a detailed and timely manner about issues of possible public interest related to infectious disease research, particularly issues involving work performed in its biocontainment laboratories (including the Robert E. Shope Laboratory and the planned Galveston National Laboratory). The committee, in turn, advises UTMB about those issues it considers important for the University to review, and to advise UTMB about necessary and proper communications with the broader public. The primary goal of the CLC is to enhance communication with the public.

In support of UTMB’s efforts to make its biocontainment operations as transparent to the public as possible under existing laws and regulations, the CLC was responsible for advising UTMB leadership in developing an incident communication plan. Components of this plan include: what information the committee should receive from the University, and in what time frame; how, and when, the committee would provide the University with its recommendations; and how and when the University would provide accurate and timely information to the public at large.

The Committee reports to the President of the University and will address questions or recommendations related to issues of public interest such as containment breaches to the President.  However, relative to day-to-day operations, the CLC directs advice, questions or concerns to the Director of the University’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, and the Director of the Galveston National Laboratory, or to the Institutional Biosafety Committee, for consideration and appropriate action.

The CLC also advises the status of any responsive action by the University. Should the University’s response appear insufficient in the view of the CLC, the committee may convey its concerns to the President of UTMB, the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System, or the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (National Institutes of Health). If there are overriding public concerns, the committee may directly communicate with political and public health authorities or the public at large.

CLC Membership

The CLC is composed of well-informed and interested local citizens nominated by the Galveston County judge and appointed by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of the University of Texas System, and reports to the President of UTMB. UTMB's President, the Vice President for Public Affairs and UTMB-selected representatives will also sit on the CLC as ex-officio (non-voting) members.

Current CLC members include: (click on names to view biographies)

Keith Bassett
Coming soon.
Carolyn Clyburn
Coming soon.
Sam Collins
Samuel L. Collins III is a financial advisor in Galveston. A BOI, Sam received his BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University. He is an active community volunteer. Currently, he serves on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Board of Advisors, as a board member with the Ruby Bridges National Foundation, a member of the State Board of Review with Texas Historical Commission and on the board of the Galveston Historical Foundation. He is also a member of the Galveston Kiwanis, the Hitchcock Heritage Society and an Associate Minister at Greater St. Matthews Baptist Church in Hitchcock. Sam and his wife Doris have four children. In rare moments of spare time, Sam writes poetry and is working on compiling a book of poems and letters.
Betty Massey
Betty Massey is the Executive Director of the Mary Moody Northen Endowment, a private foundation based in Galveston that does chairtable work in both Texas and Virginia. Prior to joining the endowment in September 2000, Ms. Massey worked for Galveston Historical Foundation for nearly 17 years, the last 11 of which she served as Executive Director. Ms. Massey is involved in numerous community organizations including the Galveston Chamber of Commerce, the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, the United Way, the Galveston Housing Authority, the City of Galveston's Comprehensive Plan Review Committee and Hurricane Ike Recovery Committee and the Galveston County Recovery Fund. She is an avid runner who has completed 12 marathons and she enjoys long-distance biking and is a triathlon competitor.
Dennis E. Miller
Prior to his retirement in 1981, Mr. Miller was co-owner of Architectural Interiors in Houston where he designed architecture, interiors, custom fabrics and furniture for hotels, restaurants, offices and retail stores as well as many fine residences. Since then, he has purchased and restored eight homes in the Galveston area, and currently resides in the restored 1913 J.F. Seinsheimer home in which Edna Seinsheimer Levin was raised. Since 2002, Mr. Miller has served on the UTMB Development Board and is very active within the UTMB community. His board service has included the American Cancer Society–Galveston Unit, the Galveston Historical Foundation, the Galveston Arts Center, the Cruise Committee for the Port of Galveston, and the ad hoc tourism committee of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees. In addition, Mr. Miller served as chairman of the Arts and Historic Preservation Commission of Galveston and is now an advisory board member. He is the past president of The Grand 1894 Opera House and the American Cancer Society–Galveston. Mr. Miller hasbeen honored with several awards, including the President's Citation from the American Society of Interior Designers, the President's Award from the Galveston Historical Foundation, the Leonora Kempner Thompson Community Enrichment Award from The Grand 1894 Opera House and the Star of Hope Award from the AIDS Coalition of Coastal Texas. He was also honored by the Galveston Art Center and the American Cancer Society.
Ann S. Masel
Ann S. Masel is an active civic and community leader. She is based in Galveston as a partner with DRDA, PLLC Certified Public Accountants. Ann has extensive community involvement in local nonprofit organizations. She has served as president of the Junior League of Galveston County, commissioner and chairman of the Galveston Housing Authority, chair of the UTMB President's Cabinet and the UTMB Institutional Audit Committee, board member of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Houston Affiliate, past president of the Galveston Artillery Club, as well as treasurer and volunteer for the Galveston Historical Foundation. Ann is currently serving as a council appointed member of the City of Galveston Finance Committee. Ann is married to Brent Masel, MD, and is the mother of two sons - both graduates of UTMB - and grandmother of two.
Fred Raschke
Mr. Raschke is an attorney with Mills Shirley LLP in Galveston and an ardent community volunteer. He is the past president of Boy Scouts of America Bay Area Council Local, current chair of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce and past chair of the United Way of Galveston to name but a few of his civic activities. In addition to being honored by local civic groups for his dedication to service, he's been named to the list of Texas Super Lawyers. When not working or volunteering, he can be found coaching and cheering for his kids' sports teams. He and his wife Kim and their two children make their home in Galveston.
Charles Wheat
Coming soon.
Albert "Sonny" Vaiani, III
Albert "Sonny" Vaiani III, born and raised on Galveston Island, returned to the Island after a long and successful military career and settled in a historic island home. He served as an aero medical pilot and community liaison with Memorial Hermann Life Flight for 16 years. He earned his Real Estate License in 2005 and activated this license in 2007 upon joining The House Company. He has completed the Accredited Buyer's Representative "ABR" designation requirements and holds the Graduate Realtor Institute "GRI", Resort and Second Home Specialist "RSPS" and "GREEN" designations by National Association of Realtors. He serves as the President of The Board of Directors of the Galveston Association of Realtors, is Immediate Past President of the Galveston Island Humane Society Board of Directors, and a member of The Rotary Club of Galveston Board of Directors. He has served as an appointed member of the Governor's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council's (GETAC) Air Medical Committee. He is a member of Sacred Heart Church, Sunday Morning Coffee Club, Knights of Columbus, Serra Club,a Galveston Historical Foundation, Propeller Club and the Lone Star Flight Museum/Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.

CLC Meetings

The CLC meets monthly, or as needed. Unscheduled meetings are determined by the chairperson(s), or a simple majority of the voting membership. Half of the committee’s membership will comprise a quorum. Any vote will be determined by simple majority. Secretarial, administrative and communication support services to the CLC are provided by the University, at its discretion, with no cost to the committee.