Western University launches rare probe after drug company allegedly exerted ‘undue influence’ on eye doctors

The medical school at Western University and a major hospital in London, Ont., have launched a rare investigation into allegations that a pharmaceutical company exerted “undue influence” on the school’s ophthalmology department, reported the National Post Sept. 9….A recent study of how university medical colleges respond to such pressures found that the majority had little or no regulation in place to discourage financial ties between faculty and pharmaceutical firms….The researchers, based at Toronto’s York University, said receiving consulting or speaking fees, gifts, drug samples or other handouts from drug companies can affect the quality of education that professors deliver. Read full story.

The supposed failure of student choice
“Since I last wrote, there’s a new, strategically timed CIBC World Markets report that has garnered a good deal of media coverage, because it essentially claims that the value of university degrees has declined and that there are radically different ‘earnings premiums’ on different fields of study,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in University Affairs Sept. 6. “The humanities and social sciences of course end up lower in this hierarchy of profit than engineering, commerce and health-related fields.” Read full story.

India work-skills program makes a dent in disrespect for women
Vilasini Ramachandra lilts through a field in delicate sandals in southern India’s Kerala state, proudly pointing out the bounty she and her friends have teased from the rich earth: here the tapioca; there the elephant yams; farther afield, the turmeric. After years of backbreaking work carrying bricks on a construction site, Ramachandra heard about Kudumbashree, a state program that teaches farming and other skills to impoverished women. Years later, she’s accumulated modest savings and has control over her own time, along with a confident glint in her eye….The solidarity and management skills that participants learn have helped 5,000 women win election to local office in Kerala, said Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, a political science professor at York University, in the Los Angeles Times Sept. 8. Read full story.

When pride prevents the fall
Procrastination. It’s nothing to be proud of. Recent research reveals that this lack of pride may be part of the solution to procrastinating less. In July, I was co-chair of the 8th Biennial Procrastination Research Conference. It was a great conference with participants from all over the world and many interesting new perspectives and insights about my favorite topic, procrastination….I want to begin some of my reflections from the conference with a paper presented by Benjamin Giguère (University of Guelph). He conducted this research with my co-chair for the conference, Fuschia Sirois and Richard Lalonde (York University). Giguère, a social psychologist, took a different perspective than we personality psychologists do. He looked at social norms, and specifically at transgressions of social norms, reported Psychology Today Sept. 9. Read full story.