Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dishonesty and bad management have destroyed U medical school, writes former cardiology chief

"Over the last two decades, the Medical School has been rocked by successive ethical scandals. Poor financial management led the Board of Regents in 1996 to sell the university hospital to Fairview, a community hospital chain with an average reputation in health care. Since then, review after review has found a lackluster record of achievement; a loss of important faculty members, and inept, bloated administrative functions."

"All of this prompted the dean of the University of Michigan Medical School (who is a University of Minnesota graduate) to tell the Michigan Daily about his once-great alma mater: 'They have disassembled the whole enterprise … and they’ll never recover from it.'"

In the editorial pages of the Star Tribune, Robert Wilson, the former chief of clinical cardiology at the University of Minnesota, asks, "What did they to do my U?"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

FTI review finds serious violations of federal guidelines in U of M bifeprunox study

From Minnesota Public Radio:

"An outside review commissioned by the University of Minnesota has found a university psychiatry researcher made three safety procedure violations during a 2007 study — two of them serious."

"The report by FTI Consulting, released Friday, says Dr. Stephen Olson failed to give a research subject important information about a drug he was taking. Olson and his team also inappropriately prepped the patient for the study before he agreed to participate."

You can read the MPR report here, and my (unanswered) May 11 letter to Debra Dykhuis about the bifeprunox study here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Schulz fired

From Minnesota Public Radio:

"A month after stepping down as chief of the University of Minnesota's psychiatry department, Dr. Charles Schulz says he has resigned as executive medical director of behavioral health services."

"Schulz said he was asked to step aside by Dr. Levi Downs, chief medical officer of University of Minnesota Physicians, after complaints by staff members who thought Schulz should not remain in that position."

The story is here.

When you are dealing with a major medical scandal...

... it is best to run out the clock until the legislature has approved your handsome budget appropriation.


"The higher education agreement leaves room for $30 million to the University of Minnesota Medical School, designed to elevate its national reputation."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Media briefing on human research plan on Monday May 18

From the AHC Communications Office:

What: Implementation team’s draft work plan to advance the University’s human subjects research program and media briefing

When: Monday, May 18 (plan online at 9:30 a.m., media briefing at 1 p.m.)

Where: Presidents Room, third floor, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis

Three faculty members who are part of the implementation team will be available for interviews beginning at 1 p.m., May 18 in the Presidents Room, Coffman Memorial Union.

They include William Durfee, Ph.D., Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor, Mechanical Engineering (available via phone); Steven Miles, M.D., professor and Maas Family Endowed Chair in Bioethics, Center for Bioethics, and professor, Department of Medicine; and Timothy Schacker, M.D., professor, Department of Medicine.

The faculty will be joined by the team’s co-vice chairs: Dr. Brian Herman, vice president, Research; and Dr. Brooks Jackson, M.D., dean of the Medical School and vice president of Health Sciences.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Public Citizen protests OHRP decision not to investigate flawed research protection program at University of Minnesota

From Public Citizen:

"Public Citizen expressed alarm regarding the Office for Human Research Protections’ (OHRP) recent decisions (a) not to launch a formal investigation into the human subjects protection program at the University of Minnesota (UM); and (b) not to require UM to suspend enrollment in all ongoing human subjects research, particularly high-risk clinical trials, that had inadequate review by the UM institutional review board."

Read Public Citizen's letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2014 message to Regents: Don't speak about Markingson until we move your jaws for you

Among the many intriguing items to be found in the "briefings" the Board of Regents received on the Markingson case is an April 29, 2014 message from Executive Secretary Brian Steeves (p. 5).

After alerting the Regents that "a small number of individuals" are still expressing concern about the Markingson case, Steeves warns that a "peaceful protest/vigil" is being planned outside the McNamara Alumni Center for the May Board of Regents meeting.  In bold type, Steeves gives the Regents these instructions:

"If you are contacted about this case, please refrain from responding or otherwise weighing in. Regent Alien's letter is the only statement the Board has made on the Markingson case and it is important that the Board Chair and President present a single, unified voice on this topic."

A single, unified voice?

The Board of Regents is the governing body of the university. It is supposed to be overseeing the president of the university, not taking orders from him. Why should the Regents be instructed to speak in a "single, unified voice" with the president?