Inselgate linkage

June 9, 2010

Additional reading:
Carlat blog
The Great Beyond Blog
Grassley throws down with the Inspector General of HHS and University of Miami
Healthcare Renewal Blog (from a sustained critic of Nemeroff, fwiw)
Public Trust at NIMH
Happy Times at NIMH Part 3

5 Responses to “Inselgate linkage”

  1. pinus Says:

    I am shocked that Tom Insel is posting a comment in his defense on a blog. Mainly because I figure someone of his stature would only go through official routes.


  2. DrugMonkey Says:

    Yeah, there seems very little upside for him. I can see the temptation but for a guy in his position…


  3. albert Says:

    Today, Tom Insel is explaining more about his “no connection” with Nemeroff in a new post at the NIMH Director’s blog. Insel appears to indicate that he did not mean to help Nemeroff to get a job. He just “aseptically” answered Dean Goldsmith on the question of Nemeroff’s eligibility for NIH funding (after being forced to leave Emory for stunning lack of compliance with some very important NIH regulations).
    I am just trying to place myself on Insel situation as NIMH Director and I cannot figure out how in the world he did not ask himself:
    Is Dean Goldsmith in his right mind asking me, the NIMH Director, whether Nemeroff is eligible or not for NIH funding after all his doings and the results of a Congress investigation?.
    Insel has come up with an idea that does not make any sense to me and that is that he should have directed Dean Goldsmith to the Extramural Research Office for an answer to his questions.
    After reading his post today, I have to
    1) agree with some other views that have indicated that Dr Insel does not appear to have the antennae to understand the gravity and consequences of Nemeroff’s actions (both at the time of discovery and later on when the Miami offer took place). Such an understanding would have prevented Insel from placing Nemeroff on 2 grant review committees. By the way, in the new post Insel does not address the reason for placing Nemeroff on 2 Study Sections for June 11, 2010.
    2) question Dr Insel’s judgement in the face of his explanations “after the facts”. What I mean is: Would have Dr Insel solved the problem by putting the ball (Dean Goldsmith) into the Extramural Research Office?.
    Frankly, I think that a true leader would have anticipated the necessity for strengthening the NIH rules long before the CHE brought the story to the public. A true leader would have paved the way, on his own initiative, to prevent a repeat of Emory at a different institution. True leaders have “anticipatory” minds.


  4. Neuro-conservative Says:

    Is there any evidence that Insel had anything to do with Nemeroff’s appointment to the review committees? Since when does an Institute Director make appointments to such committees? I have served on many study sections, and these have always been at the request of the SRO, not an Institute Director.
    Moreover, the committees in question are under the aegis of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), not the NIMH. This issue appears to be a complete red herring.


  5. Eschiropoulis Says:

    “Is there any evidence that Insel had anything to do with Nemeroff’s appointment to the review committees? Since when does an Institute Director make appointments to such committees?”
    Well, a piece of circumstantial evidence is the fact that Insel has not addressed the question raised by several voices on ” why did he appoint Nemeroff to a review committee”. So far, he is being very defensive on his answers. If he had not had anything to do with appointing Nemeroff, he would have very likely said something about it.
    What I am not totally sure is if there are experience-based, consensually approved rules/policies on criteria for appointing members to review committees and how the process is initiated and finalized. I’ve found a document at the NIH web with FAQs and this is what it says:
    “4. What is the definition of an appointed member of a study section?
    Appointed regular members of standing study sections generally have a four- or six-year commitment involving three or two meetings a year. They are nominated by the Scientific Review Officer of the study section and appointed by the Director, NIH. To check on your eligibility status as a regular member, contact your Scientific Review Officer.”
    My concern in reading this is: “to check on your eligibility status as a regular member, contact your SRO………”. My question is Who knows if Nemeroff called the SRO of the Neurotechnology Study Section to inquire and offer himself to review?. Since his eligibility is dependent on his university affiliation, the SRO could not respond otherwise but saying “YES, you are eligible”. The SRO might or might not have been aware of the problem and consequences. If he had, he might not have felt authoritative enough to ignore or deny participation…. because, in the end, it is the NIH Director who makes the decision on final appointment. For better or worse, here you have the NIH Director being assigned the role of the “ultimate police” because the leadership at the “layers for direct Action” find themselves with their hands tied or without knowing what to do ( Let’s not forget that Nemeroff is a huge guy with more than 700 publications and publicly supported by statements from NIMH Director).
    All this is speculation but the matter strongly deserves that Senator Grassley investigates what has happened and who has intervened in the nomination and appointment of Nemeroff to a study section after being sanctioned at Emory. This is critical to know so that the rules are rewritten and toughened based on facts and experience as to prevent recurrence in the future.


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