Six months after the Faculty Senate resolution on the Markingson case, the University of Minnesota has hired the the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) to investigate its psychiatric research practices.
Problem number one: AAHRPP is the very same body that has accredited the university's IRB during the scandals in question, in exchange for a fee. Problem number two: AAHRPP is, by its own admission, "not an investigative body."
At least, that's what the CEO, Elyse Summers, told me when I asked AAHRPP to investigate two serious issues in research oversight at the U. She declined to investigate the issues. Here is her email:
From: Elyse Summers [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2014 12:32 PM
Subject: University of Minnesota
Dear Professor Elliott:
I am writing in response to your correspondence with AAHRPP concerning allegations regarding human subjects’ protection at the University of Minnesota. We share your commitment to ensuring the safety of human subjects and promoting ethical human subjects research and we take your concerns very seriously. As you know, AAHRPP is not an investigative body but rather, a non-governmental organization that accredits high quality human research protection programs. As such, our role is limited to evaluating whether an applicant or accredited organization complies with our Standards and Procedures. AAHRPP publishes our Standards and Procedures, as well as the accreditation status of accredited organizations, on our website. Should an organization’s status change, that information would be provided on our website in accordance with our Procedures. Our Procedures do not provide for the disclosure of any other information about an Organization, and we are thus obligated to maintain the confidentiality of Organization-specific information.
Elyse I. Summers, J.D.
President and CEO
2301 M Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 783-1112
Fax: (202) 783-1113