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Marica Angell

Dorsett Fellow - Spring 2005

Lecture: The Truth About Drug Companies (May 4, 2005)

Marcia Angell Photo

BIOGRAPHY - In 1999, Dr. Marcia Angell became the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, the premier journal of medical science in the United States. She is also committed to broadening the public's understanding of science, and has written for a general audience on the relationships between medicine, ethics, and the law.

After completing her undergraduate studies in chemistry and mathematics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Marcia Angell spent the next year as a Fulbright Scholar studying microbiology in Frankfurt, Germany. She received her M.D. degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1967 and completed residencies in both internal medicine and anatomic pathology.

Currently serving as a senior lecturer in the department of social medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Angell has devoted her life to researching, writing and speaking on topics incorporating medical ethics, health policy, the nature of medical evidence, the interface of medicine and the law, and end-of-life care. "My most fundamental belief," wrote Dr. Angell in the preface to her 1996 book on the breast implant controversy in the United States, "is that one should follow the evidence wherever it leads."

A board-certified pathologist, Angell joined the editorial staff of the New England Journal of Medicine in 1979. A decade later she was named executive editor and, in 1999, she became the first woman to serve as editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal. "I was fortunate enough to have a ready-made outlet for my thoughts," Dr. Angell said of her tenure there. In addition to her academic writing, Dr. Angell has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, and other national publications.

Dr. Angell is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. In 1997 Time Magazine named her one of the twenty-five most influential Americans.

Last Updated: 6/9/09