HHS Welcomes New ORI Director, Calls Garrity Leader in Research Integrity, RCR Education

After a vacancy of perhaps two years, the HHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has a new director—Sheila Garrity, who was expected to join ORI by the end of this month after stepping down as associate vice provost for research integrity at George Washington University (GW) in early March. The appointment marks the fourth director in a decade for an agency that has suffered from significant turnover and a plummeting of its findings of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism in HHS-supported research.

At one point in 2019, the director, deputy director and directors of both ORI divisions—investigative and education—had all resigned.[1] Amid staff turnovers, the number of research misconduct findings has fluctuated wildly, dropping to seven in 2016, less than half the number just a year earlier.

Garrity served as the research integrity officer (RIO) at two institutions and helped found the Association of Research Integrity Officers (ARIO) 10 years ago; she was its first president and its most recent vice president.

As ORI director, Garrity has oversight of misconduct investigations conducted by institutions as well as by ORI staff, marking a shift from her long academic career and close involvement with former peers via ARIO. Garrity, who was on RRC’s editorial board until her ORI job began, also resigned from ARIO effective March 9, her last day at GW.

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