A University of Cincinnati (UC) principal investigator failed to properly seek approval tied to the rights and welfare of human research subjects, according to the results of a recent UC investigation. Susan Kotowski not only ultimately failed to adhere to informed consent requirements but also received more money than was actually completed—amounting to over-payment from 2015 to 2017. Hence, the funds allocated failed to be used for their directed purpose.
Kotowski apparently was working on a study dealing with the effectiveness of a “safe patient handling program in long-term care facilities,” based on a recent report. Moreover, investigators found that the awarding agency, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Division of Safety and Hygiene, failed to follow invoice requirements.
Ms. Kotowski, an author in more than 10 peer-reviewed publications, teaches at UC’s College of Allied Health Sciences and College of Medicine. Apparently, Kotowski claimed she had secured approval to conduct research on humans when, in fact, she had not. Although the UC investigators found that there wasn’t any such approval until May 2018, Kotowski was claiming she had approval starting in August 2016, hence there was a significant period of time where she was in serious violation. The University wouldn’t have approved the second of two grant payments if this had been known.
Suspended without Pay
After the Bureau requested a refund in the amount of the overpayment from UC—which was received—Kotowski was suspended for two weeks without pay and is blocked from conducting research or any grant applications through the fall of 2020.
Call to Action: Researchers be cognizant of the rules of research—especially when it comes to the safety and welfare of human subjects.