Letter to the Editor: UI emeritus professor responds to state auditor’s report

A UI professor emeritus writes about a Daily Iowan article of which he was the subject.


Emily Wangen

The Old Capitol is seen on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

On March 5, The Daily Iowan published an article about me entitled “Emeritus psychiatry professor and former UIHC employee under investigation” (Editor’s note: the headline has since been corrected to “Emeritus psychiatry professor and former UIHC employee investigated”). I submit this letter in response to that article, particularly to emphasize that while the auditor noted a dispute about 65 hours of vacation time paid at my retirement (since resolved), there were no concerns raised about any financial, patient care, or disciplinary issues.

For over a year I was subjected to an audit by the state of Iowa regarding a training institute I operated while a faculty member. The audit was instigated by the UI without my knowledge; UI officials chose not to work with me directly about their concerns. I was not aware that I was being audited until nearly six months after it began. The auditor accessed my email records and personal bank accounts among other sources of information, but I was not informed that any of these were being accessed until the report was issued.

The institute in question, the Interpersonal Psychotherapy Institute, is an international organization of experts, and its mission is to improve mental health care, particularly for perinatal depression and anxiety. It began as a nonprofit organization in 2011, and then changed to a for-profit organization in 2013 as I and other consultants received compensation for training that was being conducted around the world. I was invited to do these trainings as part of my academic work, and all were fully disclosed on my CV and discussed in my annual reviews. Those reviews noted that these activities were encouraged as part of my tenure requirements — namely that professors are internationally recognized in their field.

When I was notified in 2018 that the administration believed that I had a conflict of interest with respect to the institute, I complied with all UI regulations. A management plan was developed, and I was fully compliant with it. I personally chose to reduce my appointment at the UI in 2018 because of a conflict with the departmental administration about time allocation, and I also chose to retire for that reason. Both decisions were made unilaterally by me. 

During my 28-year career at the UI, I provided exceptional care for thousands of patients. I trained hundreds of residents and students who are now providing high-quality care. I received teaching awards and outstanding evaluations for my mentorship. I published over 100 articles and several books that transformed how mental-health care is provided to perinatal women. I brought in over $16 million to the university in grant funding to accomplish all of that work. And I was recognized for my work in my excellent annual reviews and my promotion to tenured professor.

I am now, and will continue to be, an emeritus professor in good standing at the UI. And I am continuing to provide high-quality care to pregnant and postpartum women and their families in my private practice in North Liberty as well as continuing to train clinicians internationally to conduct interpersonal psychotherapy and to provide high-quality mental-health care.

— Scott Stuart, M.D., UI professor emeritus