How we found sources for our research misconduct story — and how you can help us find more scribd electricity in india


A story we published yesterday revealed how the University of Illinois at Chicago recently had to repay the federal government $3.1 million after the National Institute of Mental Health determined one of the school’s star faculty members violated grant protocols — and put vulnerable kids at risk.

UIC child psychiatrist Mani Pavuluri had received the grant funds from NIMH to study how the powerful drug lithium affects the brain functions of adolescents with bipolar disorder. But she violated several guidelines, including enrolling children younger than 10 in the trial though it was supposed to only include 13- to 16-year-olds.

But identifying families was — and still is — challenging. Patient names are private under state and federal laws, and any information the university thought could possibly identify them was redacted from documents we requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

We found the first family when engagement reporter Logan Jaffe spotted a 2011 report by ABC 7 Chicago about one of Pavuluri’s other studies — not the lithium one. The report discussed Pavuluri’s work imaging children’s brains to try to determine if they had bipolar disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and included a call-out to find more research subjects. It included testimony from two patients who were already enrolled, one of whom was Luke Mallard.

“It’s going to be neat to see how his brain changes over the next four years,” his mother, Cynthia, said in the report. This 2011 report by ABC 7 Chicago included testimony from two patients who were enrolled in one of Dr. Mani Pavuluri‘s studies, one of whom was Luke Mallard.

So I called Luke’s mother, expecting to hear about the family’s positive experience. Instead, she sheepishly told me that she had enrolled Luke in the clinical trial because it was the only way she could get an appointment to see Pavuluri. Then, before I even asked about the lithium study, she shared her regrets that she had consented to Luke taking the drug when he was just 10.

I knew Pavuluri had written a book about bipolar disorder, so I went to Amazon to see if anyone had written a review and included information that would help me track them down. I lucked out: A mother gave the book — “What Works for Bipolar Kids: Help and Hope for Parents” — a five-star review.

When I called her, she raved about Pavuluri — a perspective that was important to include in the story. Pavuluri has treated hundreds of children and has overseen the care of thousands more as a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and founder of the institution’s Pediatric Mood Disorders Program.

In the end, I ended up finding three parents through very different methods. Each of their perspectives are important to the story. None of them were upset we had reached out.But those are just three people among hundreds who may be directly affected by Pavuluri’s misconduct. We could use your help spreading the word about this story, with the hopes of it better reaching those individuals.

1.) Copy and paste this text into your social and/or professional networks: Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a child psychiatrist formerly at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was found to have committed misconduct in her research studies on the effect of lithium on adolescents with bipolar disorder. If you or someone you know is a current or former Pavuluri patient, @ProPublica Illinois wants to hear from you. Email Full story: