Recently Henry Miller (a member of the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest board of advisors — the parent of this blog site and a fellow FDA alum) published an op-ed in The Washington Times titled “FDA’s Short Dose of Reality.” While I don’t agree with a lot of what Henry writes, I certainly feel he raises some critical points — one of which is that the health policy community is a tightly knit fraternity. Or should I say “sorority?” I mention this gender question because, in his piece, Henry points out that the senior vice president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (David Korn) is married to a former FDA Deputy Commissioner (Carol Scheman). (Note: Henry did not use her name in the article.) Dr. Miller received a scathing e-mail in response and their dialogue — completely unedited — can be seen below. Here’s the question — why the hubbub?
To: Henry Miller
From: Carol Scheman
Your recent “Washington Times” piece was forwarded to me and while I am not particularly interested in debating the opinions you express, I am surprised that you think it pertinent to note that “David Korn, is one of the two authors and happens to be married to a former FDA deputy commissioner.” I think this reference is not simply silly and gratuitous, it is also sexist and offensive and an artifact of a time when some people found two career couples and the idea of women working somehow odd and complicating. I am not sure what point you were trying to make so I decided to ask you. Was this simply a random thought that your editors neglected to excise or are you making a point? And if you are making a point, exactly what is it? And with this issue aside, I do hope you are well.
To: Carol Scheman
From: Henry I. Miller
Nice to hear from you; I hope all goes well. The point of my article to which you took offense was merely to point out that there’s an obscure connection between one of the authors of the AAMC
report (which I found to be less than complete and too kind to FDA) and the agency that most readers of the report wouldn’t know about. I would also have drawn attention to the connection if David had been, say, the father or brother of a former FDA deputy commissioner.
With best regards,
Is this the first confirmed case of Karl Rove Syndrome?