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Member in the News: Oil Spills & Confidentiality Leaks

credit: DigitalGlobe

Last week on NPR’s health blog, anthropologist Lawrence Palinkas (USC) discussed how courts subpoenaed his raw research data on the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, compromising the confidentiality of his research participants. He warns that history may repeat itself in the “brewing legal free-for-all” over the BP oil spill, a fact that may deter much-needed research on the enduring health and social effects that accompany massive spills. Palinkas studied the impact of the Exxon Valdez spill on 22 communities in Alaska, and was invited to a two-day workshop by the Institute of Medicine to discuss the current crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. Video and audio recordings of workshop presentations are available here. A short summary of the event is provided by NPR.

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