It would be easy to confuse Dr. Mitch Katz with any other doctor at the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. His desk in a closet-sized, windowless office is littered with patient records, X-rays and cans of Diet Coke.
His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget.
The Dutch scientist at the center of the controversy over recent bird flu experiments says that his team applied for government permission today to submit a paper describing their research to a science journal.
The Dutch government has asserted that the studies, which describe how to make bird flu virus more contagious, fall under regulations that control the export of weapons technology.