Biographical Sketches

June 16, 2002

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Dr. Barrett, a retired psychiatrist who resides in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has achieved national renown as an author, editor, and consumer advocate. In addition to heading Quackwatch, he is vice-president and of the National Council Against Health Fraud, a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health, and a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). In 1984, he received an FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation Award for Public Service in fighting nutrition quackery. In 1986, he was awarded honorary membership in the American Dietetic Association. From 1987 through 1989, he taught health education at The Pennsylvania State University. He is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America and received the 2001 Distinguished Service to Health Education Award from the American Association for Health Education.

An expert in medical communications, Dr. Barrett operates nine Web sites; edits Consumer Health Digest (a weekly electronic newsletter); is medical editor of Prometheus Books; and is a peer-review panelist for several top medical journals. His 49 books include The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America and six editions of the college textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions. One book he edited, Vitamins and Minerals: Help or Harm?, by Charles Marshall, Ph.D., won the American Medical Writers Association award for best book of 1983 for the general public and became a special publication of Consumer Reports Books. His other classics include Dubious Cancer Treatment, published by the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society; Health Schemes, Scams, and Frauds, published by Consumer Reports Books; The Vitamin Pushers: How the “Health Food” Industry Is Selling America a Bill of Goods, published by Prometheus Books; and Reader’s Guide to “Alternative” Health Methods, published by the American Medical Association.

Kimball C. Atwood IV, M.D.

Dr. Atwood, who is board certified in anesthesiology and internal medicine, practices anesthesiology at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts. He is Clinical Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine and Chairman of the Committee on the Quality of Medical Practice of the Massachusetts Medical Society. From October 2000 to January 2002, he represented the society on the Massachusetts Special Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medical Practitioners, whose purpose was to consider the petition of “naturopathic doctors” for licensure as health care providers. Upon its adjournment, the commission submitted two reports to the state legislature. Dr. Atwood was the primary author of the minority report which opposed licensure.

Dr. Atwood is especially concerned with the extent to which influential medical institutions — among them medical schools, respected journals, and the National Institutes of Health — have tolerated and even embraced highly implausible health theories and practices. He has published articles in Skeptical Inquirer and in The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, to which he is a contributing editor.

This page was posted on June 16, 2002.