The Indiana University School of Public Health in Bloomington is joining more than a dozen other public health schools that have pledged to refuse research money from an anti-smoking group funded by the tobacco industry. The decision, announced earlier this week, comes with a stipulation.
At this point, the Bloomington school has only agreed to refuse funds from the anti-smoking group for a year. David Allison, the school’s dean, said he’s hoping the university will come up with a broader policy during that time.
“I think we need, as a university, to think through how we deal with this generally,” he said. “How we deal with taking funds that generate controversy.”
Cigarette and tobacco manufacturer Phillip Morris International announced in September 2017 it planned to contribute nearly $1 billion to fund the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The World Health Organization announced later that month it would not partner with the foundation, saying history has shown research funded by tobacco companies and their front groups cannot be accepted at face value. The health organization advised governments and the broader public health community to follow its lead.
Leaders of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health asked their counterparts at other public health schools to sign a letter indicating they would not accept funds or pursue work with the foundation. When the letter was published Thursday of last week, it included the names of 17 public health schools in the U.S. and Canada. IU’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis was included in that initial list, but the Bloomington school was not.