Thursday, November 20, 2014

The secret plan to let NIH researchers rewrite research regulations

Here's the opening paragraph of a press release from Public Citizen:

"Public Citizen today called on Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell to immediately reverse the recent decision by one or more senior officials in her immediate office to abruptly transfer from the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the responsibility for rewriting key sections of a draft proposal to extensively revise the federal rules for the protection of human subjects. In its letter to the Burwell, Public Citizen highlighted the fact that NIH has an obvious, direct conflict of interest in this matter because, as the largest federal funder and conductor of human subjects research, it is subject to the very rules being considered for revision."

"According to documents Public Citizen recently obtained, NIH was asked — likely by Andrea Palm, HHS chief of staff and a senior counselor to Burwell — to rewrite key sections of a draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to extensively revise the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (known as the Common Rule). The Common Rule is intended to ensure that the rights and welfare of people enrolled in federally sponsored research are adequately protected."

Dr. Michael Carome, the director of Public Citizen Health Research Group, says this is "akin to asking the pharmaceutical and medical device industry to write the Food and Drug Administration’s regulations regarding the approval process for drugs and medical devices."

You can read the letter here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maybe it's time for change PR firms

UNC has paid Edelman $1.65 million to manage its PR in the wake of its academic fraud scandal.  And my, what a bang-up job they've done.

Just trying to think outside the box here, but wouldn't it have been less expensive simply to fix the fraud problem when Mary Willingham blew the whistle?  I know, it's an unorthodox approach, but maybe, just maybe...

Nah. Never mind.

"Clients expressed feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, believing that the program has no end."

Only months before a class-action lawsuit is set for trial in federal court, a scathing report on Minnesota's sex offender program has been made public.  According to the Star Tribune:

"Their 108-page report paints a bleak picture of a program that creates unnecessary obstacles to treatment, sets unrealistic expectations for patient behavior, and leaves both patients and staff beset with feelings of futility. Only two offenders have been discharged in the program’s 20-year history — in what many argue has become a de-facto life sentence."

The report is here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

UNC attorney at the center of academic fraud scandal is leaving for Louisville

"The top lawyer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is leaving for a job at the University of Louisville as questions mount over UNC's actions in the wake of an outside investigation into academic fraud at the university."

Sound familiar?

The final no-confidence vote for Rosenstone

All seven state universities in the MnSCU system have now formally passed votes of no-confidence in Steven Rosenstone.  The last one was Metro State.  The vote was unanimous.

From the MPR "On Campus" blog:

Metro State professor Monte Bute, action coordinator for the organization, said his group sent trustees a list of complaints back in June.

“The Board of Trustees brushed aside those faculty concerns and gave the chancellor a glowing job review,” he wrote. “When trustees failed to take our concerns seriously, it precipitated this series of no-confidence votes on the seven campuses.”