Quick Takes: Med Schools Urged to Limit Industry Ties, Student Found in Coma at Prof's Home, Bush and Clinton on Student Loans, Wesleyan Students Create Endowment, Mixed Messages on Wikipedia

  • Academic medical centers should bar professors, students and employees from accepting gifts -- including equipment and services -- from companies or industry groups, a special task force of the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended in a report released Sunday. The association's Executive Council will consider the report in June. If the rules are adopted, they would likely be influential, although the AAMC does not control its members.
  • April 28, 2008
     
  • Academic medical centers should bar professors, students and employees from accepting gifts -- including equipment and services -- from companies or industry groups, a special task force of the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended in a report released Sunday. The association's Executive Council will consider the report in June. If the rules are adopted, they would likely be influential, although the AAMC does not control its members. The report follows years of growing concern over possible conflicts of interest created by industry support for medical education. Another recommendation was that any ties to industry that are banned by institutional policies on campus also apply to off-site interactions. New limits were proposed on attending industry-sponsored meetings. The report also recommended that drug samples -- currently widely given to individual physicians and researchers -- be distributed centrally or in ways that "do not carry the risks to professionalism with which current practices are associated."
  • Paradise Valley Community College has placed Michael Todd, a psychology professor, on paid leave after police found a student comatose in his condominium and she subsequently died, The East Valley Tribune reported. Police have indicated that they are not investigating the case as a homicide but few details are available about what led to Andria Ziegler's death.
  • Concerns about the availability of student loans continue to be a hot political topic. President Bush used his Saturday radio address to reiterate administration support for legislation that would give the Education Department authority to buy student loans from lenders, effectively increasing the availability of funds to be loaned. In his speech, President Bush said that the administration was taking "decisive action" to assure the flow of funds to enable students to enroll. Sen. Hillary Clinton meanwhile on Friday released a new student loan plan, and charged that the Bush administration has been too slow to deal with the withdrawal of some banks from the federal loan program. Clinton called for a "fast-track option" to speed the transfer of colleges to the Direct Loan Program from the guaranteed program. She said that it is taking six weeks for colleges to make the switch, and that the Education Department should cut that time substantially. In addition, she called for changes in the PLUS loan program (in which parents borrow) to end an automatic exclusion for those who have defaulted on a mortgage. In light of reports on "predatory lending," Clinton said an automatic rejection was inappropriate -- especially at a time that more families need to find good loans to pay college costs.
  • Wesleyan University's student government has come up with a new strategy for limiting college costs. The Hartford Courant reported that the students are creating an endowment for funds not used by campus groups each year, funds that have typically just rolled over into the next year's budget. The hope is that eventually the endowment will grow to the point that earnings can replace some student fees.
  • Do as I say, not as I do. That seems to be the message from Ian O'Connor, vice chancellor of Australia's Griffith University, when it comes to Wikipedia, according to The Australian. In an academic presentation last year, O'Connor expressed concern about how Wikipedia may be "changing social negotiation and the transfer of knowledge," and he recommended "special caution" when using Wikipedia for research. Now, with the university in the midst of a controversy over a grant from the Saudi government, The Australian found that an article the vice chancellor wrote defending the university's handling of the gift had information about Islam that was lifted straight from ... Wikipedia.
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