On July 24, an American heroine turns 101 years old. Her name is Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey, Ph.D., M.D.
In 1960, Dr. Kelsey worked in Washington D.C. for the FDA. In her role as pharmacologist, she refused to approve the drug Thalidomide for the American market. Although approved in Canada and abroad to treat morning sickness, Dr. Kelsey was not convinced of its safety for expectant mothers.
Her decision was vindicated when thousands of babies from mothers who had been prescribed Thalidomide were born missing limbs or with flippers. When JFK asked why this had not happened in the U.S., he was told about Dr. Kelsey's decision blocking approval of the drug.
In 1960, JFK presented Dr. Kelsey with the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service. Since 2010, the FDA has annually given the FDA Kelsey Award to recognize outstanding accomplishments in drug regulation.
Now I wish someone would tell our daffy school board that this is the kind of individual you name a school after and not some retiring administrator you had donuts and coffee with at some school board meeting!