Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Federal support and funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in the United States lags behind stem cell programs in many countries because of the divisive debate over hESC research and the continually evolving federal policies that have hindered research efforts. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of stem cell researchers, stakeholders, and investors in the United States about the effects of the current federal stem cell policy on stem cell research in the United States, the moral disagreement with stem cell research, and their recommendations to improve stem cell research policy in the United States. Rogers's diffusion of innovation theory and Kingdon's agenda-setting theory served as the theoretical frameworks for this study. Data were collected through telephonic semistructured interviews with a snowball sample of 21 participants. Data were analyzed using Attride-Stirling's 6 steps of thematic coding. Findings indicated the need to educate laypersons and legislators, involve the public in the stem cell research policy debate, increase federal funding, and exclude religious considerations from political discussions. The implications for positive social change are directed at stem cell policymakers to focus attention and resources on creating a cohesive federal hESC funding policy to ensure that stem cell research improves in the United States with the goal of developing treatments for conditions that are currently untreatable.