Purdue terminates Camp DASH program after assessment review

On Tuesday, Purdue President Mitch Daniels released a statement announcing the closure of Purdue University’s DASH study program.

Posted: Nov. 28, 2017 12:07 PM
Updated: Nov. 28, 2017 11:47 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — On Tuesday, Purdue President Mitch Daniels released a statement announcing the closure of Purdue University’s DASH study program.

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The program was part of a federally-funded research project to investigate the effects of diet and sodium reduction on blood pressure in adolescents. Students involved in the study lived on campus and were at-risk candidates for hypertension.

In July, the university shut the program down two weeks into its second session due to what the university said were safety concerns.

As News 18 reported in July, it was during that second session that Purdue police received complaints of fondling, voyeurism, battery and rape. The university later stated that the allegations seemed to point to one particular girl at the camp.

None of the allegations reported to police involved misconduct by a Purdue employee or camp counselor.

Daniels appointed Alysa Christmas Rollock, Purdue's vice president for ethics and compliance, to lead a review and assessment into issues and decisions related to the campus research program.

He said the assessment showed that in the case of the DASH study, "there were serious flaws in the study’s implementation, which led to the discipline and management issues that ultimately led to its closure."

In addition to the ordered assessment, Daniels stated that a separate deliberation was made by the Purdue Biomedical Institutional Review Board (IRB). 

The IRB report said that the DASH study has been terminated and that any future research protocols advocated by Connie Weaver, the principal investigator for the DASH study, will be subject to a higher degree of scrutiny and monitoring.

Links to both assessment reports can be found at the end of this story.

In a statement from Weaver, she said, “I am deeply saddened by the instances that caused Camp DASH to end early. As the principal investigator, I accept responsibility for events that occurred at Camp DASH. The safety and security of research participants always comes first. I have dedicated my career to nutrition science research, and our team’s work has led to better health and wellness for millions of people across the world. We will continue these important efforts to find solutions to the nation’s top health concerns for at-risk, diverse adolescents.”

The institutional review and assessment can be viewed by clicking here.

The IRB's letter of determination to Dr. Weaver can be found here.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels' full statement is available here.

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