Meet Damian Jacob Markiewicz Sendler aka Dr. Damian Jacob Sendler aka Damian Dariusz Markiewicz.
In accordance with him, he’s “an award-winning Polish-American clinician sexologist, the scholar of forensic and authorized medication, the scientist skilled in digital epidemiology, and the media well being professional character.” He’s been quoted by greater than a dozen on-line publications internationally about his distinctive analysis inspecting human sexual habits.
Nonetheless, in accordance with Gizmodo journalist Jennings Brown, a lot of his skilled résumé and background is a lie. Is Brown proper or is Sendler a bona fide scientist who merely acquired caught in a media witch hunt?
Brown writes, “Sendler is a serial fabulist… Many of those platforms have revealed Sendler’s lies and publicized his weird and irresponsible research on necrophilia, zoophilia, deadly erotic asphyxiation, and sexual assault. And till not too long ago, he was soliciting sufferers by means of his web site the place he provided on-line psychotherapy and intercourse remedy.”
Let’s Meet Dr. Sendler
The issues with understanding Sendler’s expertise begin along with his academic background.
Damian Jacob Sendler’s previous CV (since faraway from his web site) clearly lists his title as “Dr.” suggesting that he has a medical or doctoral diploma in one thing. Later in the identical CV, he states, “Dr. Sendler accomplished coaching by means of rigorous M.D.-Sc.D./Ph.D. coaching path [sic]. He studied and researched at NYU, Columbia, Harvard, Warsaw Institute of Psychiatry, and Jagiellonian Collegium Medicum.”
In his interview with Brown, Sendler confirms his credentials: “’I acquired into Harvard Medical College for MD, PhD, and Masters diploma mixed,’ Sendler informed me. I requested if he was in a position to get a PhD in sexual habits from Harvard Medical College (Harvard Medical College doesn’t present any sexual well being focuses) and he stated ‘Sure. Sure,’ with out hesitation…”
Opposite to his assertions, Sendler apparently doesn’t even have an MD, Ph.D. or another graduate diploma from Harvard. After graduating from New York College in 2012, he labored in varied Boston-based labs (generally as an unpaid intern, different occasions as a paid assistant) till mid-2015. He moved to Poland for 2 years to pursue graduate and medical faculty coaching there, and moved again to the U.S. in mid-2017.
Simple arithmetic tells us that except he had some extraordinary, unheard-of fast-tracked expertise, there isn’t a potential manner he might’ve earned a doctorate or M.D. in simply two years — one thing that takes everybody else 5 years or extra.
A colleague of his from Poland remembers his time on the college there: “In accordance with what I bear in mind, Mr. Sendler graduated 2 first years [sic] of our medical program (concept) and determined to start out clinic rotations in USA proper after. Within the meantime, he began engaged on [his] PhD in USA, as he wrote me about.”
The Gizmodo article confirms that since returning to the U.S., Sendler is again at school — however not for a Ph.D.
“In August 2017 Sendler was admitted into the Harvard Extension College as a Grasp of Liberal Arts diploma candidate, in accordance with a spokesperson for Harvard’s Division of Persevering with Schooling (DCE). However this isn’t an establishment that may grant MDs or PhDs.”
I reached out to Damian Sendler immediately in an e-mail to attempt to get some clarification and shed some gentle on the complicated particulars of his training — what sort of superior doctoral diploma he really holds and from what college. Most professionals and researchers are completely satisfied to share such data with colleagues and journalists with none reservation.
However in his reply, Sendler initially ducked my inquiries relating to his particular credentials. As an alternative, he wrote again, saying partly:
“It was not till final yr that reporters began asking me for feedback, referring to previous research. That is one instance of how this story was twisted in opposition to me. The apparent confusion is that I’ve achieved my very own analysis in Jap Europe. I’ve labored with sufferers as a part of dissertation analysis and MD coaching. However since I dwell more often than not within the US now, I’m being mislabeled as seeing sufferers right here. I’ll fortunately make clear these discrepancies.”
It’s not clear whether or not Sendler understands that simply since you conduct analysis with a BA or BS diploma, that doesn’t make you a “Dr.”
“The reporter basically picks up the story line by denying me the privilege of being a “Dr.” as a result of most of my graduate training was accomplished in Europe. There are many international scientists residing within the US. Due to this fact, there’s confusion with whether or not I’ve a license to apply science or medication, despite the fact that I don’t apply within the US.”
It’s not simply that Sendler obfuscates his academic background. Numerous folks take graduate programs and medical faculty programs. However there’s a huge gulf between taking a number of graduate programs and truly graduating with a doctorate or M.D. It seems Sendler is claiming that simply because he conducts analysis along with his Bachelor’s diploma, he deserves the title “Dr.” That is an unconventional view shared by few if any professionals in America, a lot much less Europe.
A Polish colleague of Sendler’s who was contacted to debate Sendler’s educational levels was secretive and defensive, refusing to debate the matter additional, citing European privateness legal guidelines (one thing Sendler additionally cited in one in every of his replies to me). This was a clear, clumsy dodge, nevertheless, since such legal guidelines govern establishments and organizations — not colleagues sharing details about one other colleague’s educational credentials.
Jagiellonski Collegium Medicum did affirm to me that he attended faculty there. However here’s what they stated about his doctoral standing:
Damian Jacob Markiewicz Sendler is a PhD scholar on the College of Well being Sciences since 2017. He doesn’t have a doctorate diploma but.
An extra, four,500-word followup e-mail from Sendler lined many subjects. However when it got here to proof of his doctorate — the first factor I used to be keen on speaking to him about — he claimed his lawyer suggested him to not share that data with me. Primarily based upon my e-mail exchanges with Sendler and my analysis into his background, I consider that his reticence has little to do along with his lawyer and every thing to do with the probability that he doesn’t but have a doctoral or medical diploma.
The revealed sexologist appears solely to have a bachelor’s diploma.
It’s Not Simply the ‘Dr.’ Title That’s Not Totally Actual
Sendler additionally has created a whole establishment to help his analysis work.
At Felnett Well being Analysis Basis, he serves as “chief of the division of scientific analysis and is director of the European program on finding out sexual minorities and well being coverage.” Look at all these people Sendler oversees in his lab. However is any of this actual? Does the group exist? Does it have places of work?
With Sendler’s assist, I found that the Felnett Well being Analysis Basis really does exist as a corporation in Poland. However opposite to Sendler’s assertion that Felnett is a “non-profit scientific group in public service,” it’s not an precise public profit group (what the Polish authorities calls a charity or non-governmental group). A public benefit organization (abbreviated OPP in Polish) is equal to a non-profit or charity group within the U.S. Felnett is apparently not such a corporation, in accordance with Polish authorities information.
Here’s Poland’s government database file on Felnett. Discover close to the highest, the place it asks if the group is an OPP? Nie is Polish for “no.” Analysis and academic organizations in Poland usually are organized as an OPP, whereas Felnett seems to not be.
The opposite attention-grabbing data on this public doc is the truth that solely two board members are listed — Sendler (utilizing the identify, “Damian Dariusz Markiewicz”) as chairman of the board and Mieczyslaw Gawel, as vice-president. Sendler offered extra board member names to me, however none of them are listed on this authorities doc, nor might they be discovered to have any on-line footprint. He claims Gawel was a retired psychology professor — and he very effectively could also be. However I couldn’t discover a single analysis reference with this identify within the psychology literature, which might be odd for a psychology professor (retired or not).
Felnett.org (in accordance with public Whois data) is registered to Damian Sendler, and lists the identical handle for Felnett Well being Analysis Basis as he lists on his educational papers for the Basis — a apartment unit in Staten Island, New York. Most professional foundations that I’m accustomed to and that boast a workers of a dozen or extra folks aren’t based mostly out of any individual’s condominium.
In one in every of his e-mail replies, Sendler acknowledged to me that the inspiration has three workplace places in Poland. When requested in a follow-up e-mail to produce the addresses of those places of work (since they couldn’t be discovered on-line), he declined to take action. The one Polish handle listed on file for Felnett is a personal residence positioned within the small city of Nowa Dęba.
Felnett has apparently been working in New York State since mid-2017, and to this present day, Sendler’s web site proudly proclaims that Felnett has places of work in “New York and Warsaw.” Non-profit organizations working out of New York State are required by legislation to register with the state. There is no such thing as a document of this group in New York, in accordance with state information, both as an organization or as a public charity.
I gained’t go into his earlier boasts about his skilled memberships and awards. Many professional professionals overstate such awards and memberships as one thing particular, after they not often are. However this one is especially amusing — he’s additionally apparently made up his personal analysis grant, as famous by an Acknowledgement in one in every of his not too long ago revealed research:
“The supply of funding for this analysis comes from the Younger Investigatorship fund of the Felnett Well being analysis fund.”
Why Does This Matter to Anybody?
In addition to a bunch of journalists being unwittingly duped into writing salacious articles about folks doing it with animals, what’s the hurt of some random man misrepresenting his skilled credentials to the world? Not a lot, besides when it comes right down to scientific apply. And that’s the place Sendler could have crossed a line.
Earlier than the publication of the Gizmodo exposé, Sendler was apparently providing scientific, psychological consultations to anybody through his web site.
“However Sendler informed me he’s actively seeing sufferers in New York. […] After I first began reporting this story, Sendler’s web site provided on-line psychotherapy, on-line intercourse remedy, and relationship teaching. The location claimed: “Dr. Sendler specializes within the remedy of sufferers with psychological and psychiatric situations, starting from post-traumatic stress amongst navy veterans, and increasing all the best way to advanced forensic circumstances involving paraphilias.”
That’s regarding, given his lack of a U.S. license to apply any type of psychotherapy or psychological consultations.
His story modified when confronted along with his lack of a license:
I then informed Sendler that he was not licensed to apply psychological well being in New York, which is regarding since he had informed me earlier in our dialog that he’s actively seeing sufferers in New York. He then clarified: “I see them by way of psychological consultations.” […] However New York legislation doesn’t allow anybody to name themselves a psychologist or confer with their companies as “psychology” except they’re licensed or correctly licensed.
In a ultimate fact-checking cellphone dialog with Sendler—when he was extra guarded than in our in-person interview—Sendler informed me he’s by no means seen sufferers in New York.
In a January 24, 2019 interview with Krish Chopra of “Authority Journal” (which has since been eliminated, however here’s the saved version of it (PDF)), Sendler stated:
It helps to brag about your credentials if they’re stellar. Furthermore, it could assist if you happen to provided flexibility and innovation in healthcare remedies. As an example, I make the most of e-therapy to work with frequent vacationers and sufferers who dwell outdoors of New York however wish to work with me.
Whereas residing in New York, Sendler’s declare clearly implies that he sees sufferers (or says he does) through e-therapy, contradicting his claims to me (and to Brown) that he doesn’t see sufferers for scientific consultations.
There’s additionally some concern about oversight of the analysis Sendler says he’s conducting. As a result of there’s apparently no precise verifiable workers at Felnett, that additionally means it’s fairly potential it doesn’t have an precise IRB — an institutional evaluation board for evaluation of human topics analysis. If Felnett certainly lacks an actual IRB, it could recommend that Sendler’s analysis involving human topics hasn’t been subjected to any sort of goal moral evaluation. This may occasionally have violated the submission tips of journals relating to publication of analysis, to not point out skilled ethics.
Not the First to Query Sendler
Gizmodo isn’t the one group to query how Sendler has represented himself.
One of many faculties he studied at whereas in Poland, the Medical College of Lublin, not-surprisingly objected to him using their name on his examine, “Related mechanisms of traumatic rectal accidents in sufferers who had anal intercourse with animals to those that had been butt-fisted by human sexual associate”:
“The creator regrets for having used affiliation of Medical College of Lublin (MUL) in Poland. Briefly earlier than the examine was revealed, the creator superior as principal investigator at Felnett Well being Analysis Basis in New York, making it tough to suggest adjustments to affiliation on manuscript earlier than the article grew to become accessible on-line first on June 25, 2017. Due to this fact, the unique publication contained contact data for MUL, resulting in a dispute by which the creator was requested to replace the manuscript.”
Bear in mind, Felnett Well being Analysis Basis seemingly exists solely as a Sendler-created Polish group to “home” his analysis. It wasn’t formally registered as a corporation in Poland till Might 2018. Sendler seems to have created the group as a result of he wanted an affiliation to record for this and future research, as he’s at the moment unaffiliated with any college within the U.S. or Europe.
It seems that Felnett is just not the one group Sendler has created to prop up his public profile.
He additionally seems to have created “Taublum Media” (and all of the staffers who work for it), so he might publish this since-removed interview with himself on Thrive International. Taublum Media’s “Jay Longton” sat down with “Dr. Sendler” on January 23, 2019, to speak to him about being a “Rising Star in Medication Charts His Path From College at Harvard to Changing into a Nicely-Funded Scientist, Clinician, and Media Well being Professional Character.”
Surprisingly for a media firm, “Taublum Media” has no web site and “Jay Longton” has no on-line footprint –- aside from references on Sendler’s personal web site. These are two issues unparalleled for a professional public relations agency or media firm. Apparently, Sendler actually thought no person would ever suppose to analysis this stuff on Google. However it’s a sample you come throughout time and time once more when researching something to do with him.
Within the interview, “Longton” writes,
“After graduating with levels from Harvard Graduate College of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical College, Dr. Sendler grew to become the founding head of one of the vital profitable intercourse remedy analysis clinics on this planet. In day-to-day apply, Dr. Sendler manages a crew of over two dozen scientists, assistants, and clinicians, spearheads over 25 funded analysis tasks with 3000+ scientific contributors, and sees sufferers in his Heart for Sexual Medication and Psychotherapy.”
This was written simply over a month in the past, in January 2019. And apparently he does all of this from his apartment in Staten Island, New York.
After the incriminating Gizmodo interview was revealed, Sendler instantly disabled all of the content material on his web site.
In his first rebuttal, which he posted to his web site (since eliminated but saved here), he wrote:
As everyone knows, there have been quite a few circumstances of reporters attacking scientists for his or her work. Since this reporter doesn’t perceive science, he’s inventing a personality of hazard impersonated in me. I’m apprehensive that his vicious assaults on me will lead to bodily hurt. I knowledgeable him about my considerations however he ignored it.
For private security, components of this web site shall be briefly disabled. I’ll proceed to pursue analysis and won’t be intimated by these assaults. I acknowledge that carchy [sic] media titles, similar to the content material of my analysis, shortly grow to be viral, however in the end the standard of my analysis will defend itself.
It appears odd — and fairly the overreaction — that an individual would really feel the necessity to all of the sudden disguise his total life’s work simply because one reporter had some questions on it.
Sendler posted an up to date assertion on his web site on March three, 2019. The brand new assertion focuses on his analysis and analysis topics, relatively than his self-proclaimed educational credentials.
I haven’t spent a lot time on his precise analysis or its high quality. I believe that will be acceptable for a completely separate article, as a few of it seems acceptable (particularly the work achieved with colleagues). However in studying greater than a dozen of his revealed papers and posters, there have been some research that raised crimson flags.
I’ve spent many hours reviewing Sendler’s background and training for this text. One Polish college refused to launch data relating to him with no signed launch — one thing Sendler declined to do. I’ve had a number of e-mail exchanges with him over the course of the previous week. He offered one prolonged and detailed reply, and copies of a number of paperwork. However little in his responses needed to do with the first query of his academic credentials — the main target of most of my questions. As an alternative, he largely defended his science, his analysis practices, whether or not he was publicity-seeking or not, and who contacted whom first.
In one in every of his final replies to me, he wrote,
…[W]hatever harm has been achieved to my fame, it won’t be fastened at this second, it doesn’t matter what I say or do. I’ll not attain the second of catharsis till after a while passes by and I can once more mirror on what has occurred. For now, folks could have their opinions.
Sendler is seemingly working additional time to wash up his on-line profile, and any point out of training at Harvard and different establishments the place he didn’t really attend or graduate. As an example, up till the publication of the Gizmodo article, his Thrive International profile included the road, “Educated at Harvard Medical College and the Harvard Graduate College of Arts and Sciences;” his ResearchGate profile equally listed his training at Harvard Medical College.
Mentions of Harvard have now been eliminated.
On the prime of one in every of his replies, he did categorical remorse if anybody felt harm by his analysis — however shortly famous no person has ever been harm by his analysis or his “embellishment” of his CV:
“I apologize if anybody felt harm, despite the fact that I do know that nobody has ever been negatively affected by my analysis. There’s not a single criticism ever recorded by a analysis topic or anybody actually. Due to this fact, I don’t remorse my scientific exercise. I entered this discipline of analysis figuring out that it’s a magnet for controversy.”
Damian Jacob Markiewicz Sendler is now extra well-known than he in all probability ever might have hoped to be. However maybe not for the explanations he desired.
Sendler, DJ. (2019). Modern understanding of zoophilia — A multinational survey examine. Journal of Forensic and Authorized Medication, 62, 44-51.
Sendler, DJ. (2017). Related mechanisms of traumatic rectal accidents in sufferers who had anal intercourse with
animals to those that had been butt-fisted by human sexual associate. Journal of Forensic and Authorized Medication, 511, 69-73.