Nearly five months into what was announced as a three-month assignment away from her job as director of the HHS Office of Research Integrity, Kathy Partin has not returned to ORI, RRC has learned. It is not clear when she will be back at ORI. The office investigates allegations of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism in research supported by NIH and other agencies in the Public Health Service.
Partin was hired as director in December 2015, but her short tenure proved rocky almost immediately, with current and former workers complaining that she did not understand ORI’s responsibilities and had created a volatile atmosphere, among other issues (RRC 10/16, p. 1). While RRC chronicled the turmoil, the situation also received coverage in The Washington Post and Science. ORI lost directors of both of its divisions during Partin’s time at the helm—vacancies that have still not been filled. Both departures were ascribed to problems with Partin.