2017 Speaker Bios


Speaker Bios

Sharon Batt, PhD

Sharon Batt is an independent scholar and an adjunct professor in the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University. Her latest book, Health Advocacy Inc.: How Pharmaceutical Funding Changed the Breast Cancer Movement is a nuanced insider analysis of the alliances between patient groups and the pharmaceutical industry: how and why they formed, their effects on health advocacy, and the implications for health policy, social fairness and democracy.

Shannon Brownlee, MS

Shannon Brownlee, MSc, is senior vice president of the Lown Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Boston, MA. She and Lown Institute president Dr. Vikas Saini are co-founders of the Right Care Alliance, a network of activist patients, clinicians, and community leaders. As a senior fellow of the New America Foundation, Brownlee published the ground-breaking book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, which was named the best economics book of 2007 by the New York Times. She was a senior writer at US News and World Report and Discover Magazine, and is a nationally known writer and essayist whose work has also appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Times of London, Time, Los Angeles Times, The Lancet, and BMJ, among many other publications. From 2014-16 she served as an editor of the Less is More section of JAMA Internal Medicine, and was a lecturer from 2011-14 at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She is currently a member of the boards of the Robert Graham Center of the American Academy of Family Practice and FamiliesUSA, and is a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Brownlee holds a master’s degree in marine science from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lisa Cosgrove, PhD

Lisa Cosgrove, PhD is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston where she teaches courses on psychiatric diagnosis and psychopharmacology. She is a former Research Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University (2010-2015). Her research addresses the ethical and medical-legal issues that arise in organized psychiatry because of academic-industry relationships. Lisa has published articles, book chapters, and has co-edited casebooks on these topics and is co-author, with Robert Whitaker, of Psychiatry under the Influence: Institutional Corruption, Social Injury, and Prescriptions for Reform. She received a 2015 Distinguished Publication Award, given by the Association for Women in Psychology, for her paper (with Emily Wheeler), “Industry’s colonization of psychiatry.” She is also the PI for an RO3 NIH grant (through the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality), “A cross-sectional study of clinical practice guidelines for depression: Is guideline quality associated with independence from industry?”

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD

Carl Elliott is Professor in the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Pediatrics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He is the author or editor of seven books, including White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine (Beacon, 2010) and Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream (Norton, 2003.) His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Mother Jones, The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. In 2011 the Austen Riggs Center awarded him its Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.

Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD

Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. As director of PharmedOut, a GUMC research and education project that promotes rational prescribing and exposes the effect of pharmaceutical marketing on prescribing practices, Dr. Fugh-Berman leads a team of volunteer professionals that has had a profound impact on prescribers’ perceptions of the adverse consequences of industry marketing.

Dr. Fugh-Berman is the lead author on key articles on physician-industry relationships, including a national survey of industry interactions with family medicine residencies, an exposé of how ghostwritten articles in the medical literature were used to sell menopausal hormone therapy, an analysis of how “key opinion leaders” are used to market drugs off-label, an exposé of drug rep tactics (all in PLoS Medicine), a discussion of prescription tracking in the Journal of General Internal Medicine and an explanation of industry publication planning in Open Medicine. An article in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions documents the effect of Why Lunch Matters, a PharmedOut presentation that is the first to document a significant change in physicians’ perceptions about their own individual vulnerability to pharmaceutical marketing.

Coleen Klasmeier, JD

Coleen Klasmeier, J.D. leads Sidley Austin LLP’s product regulatory practice within the Global Life Sciences team, managing matters on behalf of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical, medical technology, and food and consumer product companies. Since joining Sidley from the Office of the Chief Counsel at the Food and Drug Administration in 2005, Ms. Klasmeier has concentrated her practice on regulatory strategy and risk management, and on FDA litigation and dispute resolution. Ms. Klasmeier’s litigation matters have included United States v. Caronia, 703, F.3d 149 (2d Cir. 2012) (amicus curiae), in which she was also cited; Cook v. Food and Drug Administration, 733 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (DC. Cir. 2013); Sottera, Inc. v. Food and Drug Administration, 627 F.3d 891 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (amicus curiae); and United States v. Harkonen, 510 Fed. Appx. 633 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. denied 134 S.Ct. 824, Dec. 16, 2013. Praised by clients for her “broad experience” and attentiveness to client needs, and her “tremendous” and “encyclopedic” knowledge of FDA rules, history, and contacts (Chambers USA 2011–2012), Ms. Klasmeier was named a “Life Sciences Star” in the inaugural edition of LMG Life Sciences 2012. She is highly ranked by The Practical Law Company in The Cross-Border Life Sciences Handbook (since 2007); The Legal 500 United States (2011); and Who’s Who Legal 100 (2012). Ms. Klasmeier is past chair of the Food and Drug Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section on Administrative Law and Agency Practice. She is a nationally recognized speaker, and her work has been published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine, in Health Affairs, and on the opinion page of The Wall Street Journal. She earned her law degree magna cum laude in 1996 from The Boston University School of Law, where she ranked first in her third-year class and was awarded The Bigelow Prize, awarded by the faculty for promise as a teacher and scholar of law. She taught food and drug law at Northwestern University Law School in 2014.

Robert Langreth

Robert Langreth has been a senior health reporter for Bloomberg News since March 2011, where he has covered everything from soaring drug prices, to cancer research, difficulties in genetic testing, and complications of robotic surgery. Before that he was a senior editor for Forbes for 11 years, where he wrote more than a dozen cover stories. Before Forbes, Langreth covered the drug industry at The Wall Street Journal for five years and was an associate editor for Popular Science. He has won the Evert Clark Award, the NASW Science in Society Award, was a co-winner of the George Polk Award, and won the Association of Health Care Journalists Award in 2014 for his drug pricing coverage. While not parsing pharmaceutical research, Langreth enjoys playing tennis and spending time and two school-age kids. He is the only one in his family who is not a redhead.

Anna Lembke, MD

Dr. Lembke received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Psychiatry, and a fellowship in mood disorders, both at Stanford, and is currently Chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and commentaries, and is author of the book: Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop (Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2016).

Joel Lexchin, MD

Joel Lexchin received his MD from the University of Toronto in 1977 and for the past 28 years has been an emergency physician at the University Health Network. He taught healthy policy in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University from 2001 to 2016 and is now a Professor Emeritus at York. He has been a consultant on pharmaceutical issues for the province of Ontario, various arms of the Canadian federal government, the World Health Organization, the government of New Zealand and the Australian National Prescribing Service. He is a frequent outspoken critic of the pharmaceutical industry and the way that Health Canada regulates drugs. His book Private profits versus public policy: the pharmaceutical industry and the Canadian state was published by University of Toronto Press in September 2016 and his next book on the relationship between the Canadian medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry is due out in May 2017.

Ruth Lopert, MD, MMedSC, FAFPHM

Ruth Lopert, a public health physician and pharmacoeconomist, is currently Deputy Director, Pharmaceutical Policy & Strategy at Management Sciences for Health in Arlington VA. She also holds adjunct professorial appointments at George Washington University in the Department of Clinical Research & Leadership in the School of Medicine & Health Sciences, and in the Department of Health Policy & Management in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, where she was Visiting Professor in 2011-12 and a Harkness Fellow in Health Policy in 2006-07. From 2008-11 Ruth was the chief medical officer in the Australian drug and therapeutics regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Previous roles include establishing and directing the pharmaceutical policy unit in the Australian Department of Health, managing the operations of the national drug coverage program, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; and as a clinical and policy advisor to the national formulary committee. Ruth is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a former member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Policies & Management, and was recently appointed to membership of l’Academie Nationale de Pharmacie of France.

Barbara Mintzes, PhD

Barbara Mintzes, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia, and an Affiliate Associate Professor with the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She works with the Pharmaceutical Policy Program at the University of Sydney (Lisa Bero, PI), a clearinghouse for data and research on evidence, influence and pharmaceutical policy. A key focus of her research is on effects of drug promotion, including direct-to-consumer advertising, on prescribing and medicine use. She is co-author of the book, “Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals” with Ray Moynihan (Greystone Press, 2010), and has also worked for many years with consumer and women’s health groups.

Bonnie B. O’Connor, PhD

Dr. Bonnie B. O’Connor (PhD) is an ethnographer and career medical educator, and is now Professor emerita of Pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She has been a supporter and qualitative research consultant for interview-based PharmedOut projects for several years.

Cindy Pearson

Cindy Pearson is the Executive Director of the National Women's Health Network. Founded in 1975, the Network was the first feminist health group to utilize a national membership in support of D.C. based health activism. The Network's goal is to bring the voices of women everywhere decisions are being made that affect women's health. The Network testifies before Congress and the FDA, speaks out at scientific meetings, publicizes issues through the media, networks individual activists and other local and national groups working on women’s health, and mobilizes its constituency to influence decisions made by federal regulatory agencies.

In addition to representing the Network in the media and to the government, Cindy has served on the Boards of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, the Campaign for Women's Health, the D.C. Women's Council on AIDS, and the Advisory Board of Our Bodies Ourselves. In recognition of the NWHN’s leading role in advocating for the creation of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health and providing guidance thereafter, Cindy was presented with the Keystone Award for Advocacy for Women’s Health Research on the 20th anniversary of the Office.

James Rickert, MD

James Rickert has practiced orthopedic surgery in southern Indiana for nearly 25 years and enjoys treating patients of all ages and from all walks of life. He founded and is president of The Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, a national group of orthopedists who advocate for both patient interests in our health care reform debate and also promulgate the practice of patient centered medical care. He has advised members of Congress on issues ranging from physician conflict of interest to the question of appropriate regulation of simultaneous surgery.

Dr. Rickert is a founding volunteer of and serves on the Board of Directors of Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County, the indigent care clinic for south-central Indiana. He also serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rickert serves as a reviewer for HealthNewsReview and as a peer reviewer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He graduated with honors from Georgetown University School of Medicine and then pursued his orthopedic training at Columbia University Medical Center. He’s published in medical and non-medical periodicals on health care reform, patient centered medicine, and issues of medical professionalism. He teaches courses on the techniques of patient centered medicine and also works to expand patient centrism throughout our medical system.

Marc A. Rodwin, JD, PhD

Marc A. Rodwin, J.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. He is the author of Conflicts of Interest and the Future of Medicine: The United States, France and Japan (Oxford, 2011); and Medicine, Money & Morals: Physicians' Conflicts of Interest (Oxford, 1993). Rodwin has testified before Congress and state legislatures and served on government commissions and advisory boards, including the Food and Drug Administration. He has provided training on conflicts of interest related to pharmaceutical good governance for various nations under the aegis of the World Health Organization. He has participated in meetings of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and worked for the World Health Organization.

Rodwin has assisted consumer groups including the Consumer Federation of America, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care. He has worked as a consultant or expert witness on policy-related litigation involving fiduciary law, physicians' conflicts of interests, competition law, and pharmaceutical issues.

Rodwin has been a recipient of several fellowships and grants including: Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Ethics Center Lab Fellowship; the Brocher Foundation residency fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, German Marshal Fund, Social Science Research Council/Abe Fellowship; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award, and the Pew Health Policy Doctoral Fellowship.

Alan Schwarz

Alan Schwarz is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist best known for his reportage of public health issues for The New York Times. His 130-article series on concussions in sports is roundly credited with exposing the seriousness of head injuries in the National Football League and all youth athletics. His work was profiled in several films and was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, journalism's highest honor. A subsequent series on A.D.H.D. and other psychiatric disorders in children led to his writing "A.D.H.D. NATION: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma and the Making of an American Epidemic," published in September 2016.

A recognized expert in the use of mathematics in journalism, Mr. Schwarz serves on editorial boards of the American Statistical Association and the Royal Statistical Society. He has lectured at dozens of universities and professional conferences, including Harvard University, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Andrew Wiles Mathematical Institute at the University of Oxford. He lives in New York City.

Gary Schwitzer

Gary Schwitzer has specialized in health care journalism for 44 years. He has published the HealthNewsReview.org site for 11 years. In 2014, the journal JAMA Internal Medicine published a summary of the project, “A Guide to Reading Health Care News Stories.” In 2017, The BMJ published his editorial, “The pollution of health news: Time to drain the swamp.” Gary worked in television news for 15 years – in Milwaukee, Dallas and CNN. He was founding editor-in-chief of MayoClinic.com. The Kaiser Family Foundation published his 2009 report, “The State of U.S. Health Journalism.” For the Association of Health Care Journalists, he wrote the organization’s Statement of Principles, and a guide for members on how to report on studies He taught health journalism and media ethics at the University of Minnesota for 9 years and now has an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment in the UMN School of Public Health.

In 11 years, HealthNewsReview.org has published more than 2,350 news story reviews. And in the last two years, the project has published more than 350 public relations news release reviews. There is no other daily systematic review of such media messages in the US. There is also no other project that helps consumers improve their critical thinking about health care every day.

The American Medical Writers Association honored Schwitzer with one of the organization’s highest honors, the McGovern Award for preeminent contributions to medical communication. And the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation named Schwitzer one of 25 Shared Decision Making Champions. The Foundation announced, “These individuals have spent their life’s work and passion in supporting, promoting and engaging in shared decision making.” About Schwitzer, they wrote, “Gary has greatly helped improve standards for reporting health news and decrease the extent to which medical interventions are inaccurately portrayed and oversold. He also helped develop early decision aids at the Foundation.”

Tony Scialli, MD

Tony Scialli is a specialist in reproductive and developmental toxicology and in obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to his consulting services, he is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center. Dr. Scialli directs the Reproductive Toxicology Center, a non-profit foundation in Washington, D.C., which maintains Reprotox®, an online data base on the effects on reproduction of drugs, chemicals, biologicals, and physical agents.

Dr. Scialli received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Albany Medical College and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University Hospital. He took a fellowship in Reproductive Toxicology with Sergio Fabro, one of the original thalidomide researchers. Dr. Scialli was Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Residency Program Director at Georgetown University Medical Center for many years. He continues to be actively involved in medical education and teaches on a regular basis at academic medical centers in Washington, D.C. He founded and was editor-in-chief of the journal Reproductive Toxicology for 17 years and is a past president of the Teratology Society.

Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein is Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training and faculty in Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, Dr. Sharfstein served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from January 2011 to December 2014. From March 2009 to January 2011, Dr. Sharfstein served as Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he oversaw the agency’s successful performance management and transparency initiatives. From December 2005 to March 2009, as Commissioner of Health for Baltimore City, Dr. Sharfstein led innovative efforts that contributed to major declines in both overdose deaths and infant mortality rates. From July 2001 to December 2005, he served as minority professional staff and health policy advisor for Congressman Henry A. Waxman.

Susan F. Wood, PhD

Susan Wood is an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also the Director of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health. Her work and public advocacy focuses on women’s health and the use of scientific knowledge in public policy.

She previously was Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health at the FDA, and directed the FDA Office of Women’s Health from 2000-2005. Prior to her time at FDA, Dr. Wood was Director of Policy and Program Development at the US Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.

From 1990-1995, Dr. Wood worked on Capitol Hill as professional staff for the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues Initially as Science Advisor and later as Deputy Director to the Caucus, Dr. Wood helped develop and promote the Women’s Health Equity Act, and was directly involved with many policy initiatives and legislative proposals which would advance biomedical research, women’s health, family planning, and health care reform. Previously, Dr. Wood was a research scientist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine; she received her PhD in biology from Boston University. She has published a number of research articles in scientific journals, as well as articles on health policy.