Selling Sickness 2013


Selling Sickness 2013 will bring together academic scholars, healthcare reformers, consumer advocates and progressive health journalists to examine the global tide of disease mongering.

Conference will include topics pertaining to disease-mongering such as: misleading marketing; ethics in professional education; journalistic standards; social media; over-treatment; new models for drug development and testing; whistleblowers; new conflict of interest areas; health screening policies; impact on public health and pocketbook.

The conference will be designed to encourage audience participation and increase collaboration among the conference attendees.

[spoiler title=”Organizers” id=”organizers”] [column size=”1″ last=”1″]

Leonore Tiefer

Leonore TieferLeonore Tiefer has an international reputation for scholarly and activist work in sexuality over the past 40 years. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative and Physiological Psychology from UC Berkeley and later respecialized as a Clinical Psychologist. She has a private practice in Manhattan as well as academic appointments in Psychiatry at both New York University Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Tiefer’s collected essays, Sex is Not a Natural Act (Boulder: Westview Press, 2nd edition, 2004), includes articles written for the popular press as well as professional publications. Her c.v. includes over 150 scientific and professional publications. She has keynoted professional conferences around the globe.

In 1999 Dr. Tiefer convened an educational and activist campaign to challenge the medicalization of sexuality ( The Campaign has produced books, videos, special journal issues, CME courses, four conferences in the US and Canada, and has an active listserv. It has worked in coalition with many groups on street protests, petitions, and spoof infomercials. Dr. Tiefer’s work with the Campaign has been featured on public and commercial television and radio, in The New York Times and scores of other publications, and in an award-winning 2011 documentary, “Orgasm, Inc.” She has served on FDA and NIMH committees and given public testimony at FDA hearings.

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Kim Witczak

Kim Witczak became involved in pharmaceutical drug safety issues after the death of her husband, Tim “Woody” Witczak in 2003 as a result of an undisclosed drug side effect. She has taken her personal experience and turned it into advocacy/public awareness campaign on drug safety which included the SSRI/suicide risk (which resulted in black box warnings being added to antidepressants), DTC advertising, undue Pharma influence, COI, PDUFA, and FDA reform. Kim has testified before US Senate on PDUFA/FDA reform as well as numerous FDA Advisory Committees. In 2008 she was appointed to the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee as a Patient Representative. In 2004, Kim launched in memory of Woody’s life and death as a resource for others that live every day with the consequences of a flawed drug safety system.

Professionally, Kim is a Minneapolis-based advertising/marketing freelance consultant with more the 22+ years of experience, including advertising agency account management, media, and production for a variety of industries. She is one of the founders of Free Arts Minnesota in 1996, a non-profit dedicated to bringing the healing powers of the arts to abused and neglected children in Minnesota. Kim currently serves on the Board of Directors.

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[spoiler title=”Steering Committee” id=”steering-committee” open=”true”]

  • Shannon Brownlee, MS
    Acting Director, New America Foundation Health Policy Program
    Instructor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
    Author, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer
  • Thea Cacchioni, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies,
    University of Victoria, BC
  • David Cohen 
    Fulbright-Tocqueville Chair 2011-2012, Université de Poitiers
    Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami
  • Anne Rochon Ford
    Executive Director
    Canadian Women’s Health Network
  • David Healy, MD
    Author, Pharmageddon
  • Dr. Iona Heath
    President 2009-2012
    UK Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Joel Lexchin MD
    Professor, School of Health Policy and Management
    York University
    Emergency Physician
    University Health Network
    Toronto, Canada
  • Dr. Dee Mangin
    Family Physician
    Associate Professor, Director Primary Care Research Unit
    Department of Public Health and General Practice
    University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Barbara Mintzes, PhD
    Therapeutics Initiative
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
    University of British Columbia
  • Gary Schwitzer
  • Bill Vaughan
    Retired Congressional aide and former registered lobbyist on FDA issues for Consumers Union.

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