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Associated Press
Columbia Orders Training on Child Research

February 23, 2006
NEW YORK - Columbia University has ordered new training for faculty members whose research involves children after a federal investigation faulted a program that tested AIDS drugs on foster children.

The training will be "specifically geared to participation of children in research," university spokeswoman Marilyn Castaldi said Wednesday in a statement.

The training plan was filed with the federal Office for Human Research Protections, which reported last June that Columbia researchers had failed to obtain and evaluate whether they had proper consent, information and safeguards for the children they worked with in the 1980s and '90s, the investigators said.

The OHRP report came a month after a review by The Associated Press found Columbia and other programs around the country had failed to appoint independent advocates for foster children in AIDS drug testing as required by federal law.

Columbia officials said at the time that advocates weren't required because the experiments held the promise of improving the children's health.

Medical ethicists disagreed, saying foster children were vulnerable and needed protection.

A Feb. 17 letter from OHRP addressed to Columbia University Medical Center and its affiliated NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital said their corrective actions "adequately address OHRP's findings, questions and concerns."

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