Strib Editorial Calls for Leadership and Disclosure at the University of Minnesota
Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way...
From the Strib:
Among the most unsettling revelations in Grassley's letter is that U officials did not know how much Polly earned from Medtronic. The current policy, which is under review, only requires Polly and other physicians to report that they have received outside payments of $10,000 or more a year.
Not even the U's own Conflict Review and Management Committee -- which reviewed Polly's ties to Medtronic and recommended a conflict of interest "management plan" for him in 2006 -- knew Polly's total compensation.
How is it possible to assess a conflict of interest, much less manage it, if officials don't know how much money is involved?
The university should have recognized this policy's shortcomings and reacted before receiving Grassley's embarrassing letter.
And yet, more than a year ago, we saw statements like this from Morrill Hall:
"I think we need to put ourselves in the position of acting according to the highest ethical principles. I believe our people do that now and I believe our people will be doing that in the future as well. President Bruininks (Daily: 6-18-08)"
Iowa started on a conflict-of-interest revamp in January and their policy has recently gone into effect. See: "Iowa Does the Right Thing on COI - They started in January of this year." We are still foot dragging after two years.
And how about the double-dippers, President Bruininks? You do remember them? Or were you hoping that everyone had forgotten about this situation? Last I heard from U of M leadership on the matter came from Children's Rehab:
"I think people will think what they want to think," Cerra said, in response to possible criticisms of appointing someone who is under investigation. [Daily: 30 July 2008]
Note the date. Cerra is Frank Cerra, our new medical school dean.
And we recently learned of yet another stem cell scandal. The University is being embarrassed at the national level over these matters. Third best what, Dr. Bruininks?
If we do not have integrity at this institution, we have nothing.
Time for a change?