(Headline USA) Emails between University of Washington researchers and the Seattle Children’s Hospital show they knew a study they published about about the positive effects of so-called “gender-affirming care” was wrong, but they refused to correct the record due to the positive media coverage the study received.
Shortly after independent journalist Jesse Singal published a blistering review of the study, which claimed access to puberty blockers led to better mental health outcomes in transgender youth, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital leaders pondered whether they ought to acknowledge the problems with the study that Singal had found, according to Fox News.
“As there is an overwhelming amount of positive coverage of the study’s findings, I don’t believe there’s a need for a proactive response beyond continuing to monitor, but welcome your ideas for any other actions or messaging with the study team,” an email from UW Department of Epidemiology spokesperson Laura East reads.
East admitted that Singal’s criticism raised “concerning claims,” but added she didn’t want UW to “drive traffic” to the piece.
“The article resulting from the inquiry was recently posted on the author’s Substack, and includes some pretty concerning claims. UW Epidemiology/UW SPH/UW News will not be including this article in our media tracking/or otherwise driving traffic to this piece,” she wrote.
UW Medicine communications manager Barbara Clement agreed with East that they should just ignore the criticism.
“FYI, I read through his exceedingly long (very, very long) article, which claimed the research was flawed or, at worst, made up, but given the extremely positive pick up by mainstream media, I would agree and just let this be,” she wrote.
One of the authors of the study, UW Medicine Dr. Kym Ahrens, who also works at UW, said, “If it gives too much attention to clarify at all, I am also very open to not responding.”