How one scientist averted a national health crisis - Andrea Tone

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In 1960, Frances Kelsey was one of the Food and Drug Administration’s newest recruits. Before the year was out, she would begin a fight that would save thousands of lives - though no one knew it at the time. Andrea Tone explains how Kelsey was able to prevent a massive national public health tragedy by privileging facts over opinions, and patience over short-cuts.
Lesson by Andrea Tone, animation by TED-Ed.
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7-Iyn, 2018

TEDTED-EdTededTed EducationTED EdAndrea ToneFrances KelseyFood and Drug Administrationpublic healthmedicinethalidomidedrugpregnancybabiesheroscientific breakthroughwomen in STEM



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TED-Ed 2 oy oldin
If you're a student with a passion for science, share your ideas, discoveries and hopes with the world through TED's student idea platform: bit.ly/2M7hd87. If your passions lie elsewhere, we want to hear from you, too! TED-Ed is creating a space to celebrate and amplify student ideas on a wide range of topics - from human rights to staying organized in school - and we want you to be a part of it! Check it out!
Nesiah Coward
Nesiah Coward 13 kun oldin
I love this channel because your illustrations are magnificent and your commentators have such soothing voices. There are things that I have learned from this channel, which helps me so much in school. Its amazing, thank you so much.
Simrah Siddiqui
TED-Ed Hello
TheSassi42 2 oy oldin
lalla jha I don't understand. Why.is this video political. I thought it was about a scientist/doctor.
lalla jha
lalla jha 2 oy oldin
Tedx stop using it for political benefits. It's a learning organization not a political one.
TheSassi42 2 oy oldin
TED-Ed The title is not chosen very well... The health crisis already happend. She averted it from spreading to the US and more countries. But saying she averted it could come over belittling to the health crisis that already happened, if the word is interpreted wrongly. I would recommend «averted it from the US» or similar.
kcmn00 6 soat oldin
What a true hero
Liam Lambert
Liam Lambert 15 soat oldin
Back immigration romance perspective glass late because convinced bare vulnerable.
Miko Mido
Miko Mido Kun oldin
Why are women underrepresented in STEM? It certainly not the Patriarchy
Whitninjathemovie 2 kun oldin
Should she have received an award for doing her job?
Veronika Alcoba
Veronika Alcoba 3 kun oldin
She finished an undergraduate AND postgrad in 2 years?!!!! Not to mention 4 freakin degrees?? Hot dammmnnn 👏👏👏 #powertowomen
SirJMO 3 kun oldin
I disagree with the ending notion: women being unrepresented in stem fields. If anything it's young
Piññaġnaqtuq 5 kun oldin
Why is nursing (including masters, NP, and PhD) ever-snubbed as a STEM field? Because it's already women-heavy. Include nursing in your STEM counts and you may see those numbers inch a little closer towards what we would like to see as far as 50/50
RandomdudeZ9 5 kun oldin
Moral of the story. Follow what you f*cking say.
Lord Felidae
Lord Felidae 5 kun oldin
I am so glad she got to see the good she did.
Sam Seidel • 11 minutes ago
We love our individuals
Alexis Marie
Alexis Marie 7 kun oldin
she’s like im just doing my job dudes
Johannes Weger
Johannes Weger 8 kun oldin
Im from Italy and I know many Peopel whos Kids or Friends where deformed.
casually casual
casually casual 8 kun oldin
honestly this video only makes me lose faith in humanity
K B 8 kun oldin
I'm a college student. From my experience, women are only underrepresented in Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, and Philosophy... *Every* other major (from Chemistry to Sociology) has a good number of men and women. And women make up the majority in some majors. That said, I've seen sexist attitudes from people in majors that are mostly male or female.
Sofia dk
Sofia dk 9 kun oldin
It inspires us tô not give up, even with the different threatment we get Just for benigno women
Sofia dk
Sofia dk 9 kun oldin
I absolutely loved this video!!
Hakan Töre
Hakan Töre 10 kun oldin
dislikes are this guys 2:32
Timmy Ledwon
Timmy Ledwon 11 kun oldin
I love the video but women are getting a degree in women's studies then complaining that there aren't any women in stem fields.
KAT PHAM 11 kun oldin
I was actually very surprised to hear that the FDA firmly backed her up considering the fact that women were looked down upon, back then
jordan park
jordan park 12 kun oldin
Didn't appreciate the crude and reductionist lecture at the end, but the rest of the video was nice and inspiring.
Nesiah Coward
Nesiah Coward 12 kun oldin
For anyone wondering, she lived to be 101 years old. That amazing
william 14 kun oldin
true hero
Leah Winningham
Leah Winningham 14 kun oldin
Women don't go into STEM fields normally. The only reason is because they don't find interest in it. Women are free to choose
terry ferguson
terry ferguson 16 kun oldin
Science is largely sorcery and magic,carried out by demons,NOT people with aspergers syndrome.The technology comes from the fallen angels and demons that inhabit people.Read the book of Enoch.Audio version on youtube.See Trey Smith`s video on the Nephiim.
John Marshall
John Marshall 17 kun oldin
She stooped the drug but the harm was already done thalidomide was in USA from 1956 to 1962 as samples millions of pills were given out
Karl Palomo
Karl Palomo 17 kun oldin
Wow :'-)
Lovin9Lives 17 kun oldin
all thanks to the "mistake" of thinking she was male when accepted for her phd! Mr. Oldham and she was able to get her further education and saved lives!
jerrij4242 18 kun oldin
LilmsKobe V
LilmsKobe V 18 kun oldin
She died when I was 10
Vaut 18 kun oldin
I’m so proud of her
Pixel Bytes
Pixel Bytes 18 kun oldin
Amazing video loved it But why did you have to advertise political ted talks?
Mohamed Humaid
Mohamed Humaid 19 kun oldin
BLUEGENE13 19 kun oldin
atleast they didn't promote the gender propaganda
Seal Of Apoorval
Seal Of Apoorval 20 kun oldin
I bet today Trump would have called her fake news and said she was on a witch hunt, eventually supporting the big billion $$ company. And the worse part? A majority of people would have supported that today
ordinarylover 22 kun oldin
That is why we need regulations...
Maeve McCann
Maeve McCann 22 kun oldin
Thalidomide caused awful results in Britain
The Seal
The Seal 23 kun oldin
Great video! And loads of sensitive men crying about the ending in the comments is entertaining lol
Dom Vasta
Dom Vasta 25 kun oldin
But for every thalidomide blocked from the market, there are a dozen other drugs like beta blockers which are held up for months awaiting FDA approval, while patients who would otherwise be receiving the life saving treatment die. FDA approval should be required for advertisement and marketing of drugs, but not for their sale and use, let patients who would otherwise die take the risk to their safety into theirs and their doctor's own hands, allow them access to all the studies done on the drug, not just the ones that the pharmaceutical companies decided to send to the FDA, as well as access to the drug itself, while it is pending approval. No one should die when a cure for their illness exists, but a government body has yet to approve it.
Matthew Freedlander
Matthew Freedlander 26 kun oldin
Canada represent!
Dragon Dimosthenis
Dragon Dimosthenis 27 kun oldin
one also one scientist saved million of men
Javier Lemus
Javier Lemus 28 kun oldin
Scientist who is averting gender ideology plague?
Young Mo$e$
Young Mo$e$ Oy oldin
Can y'all do some more men
NoriMori Oy oldin
Thank God the FDA backed her up. This could have turned out a lot differently otherwise.
Husnain Ali
Husnain Ali Oy oldin
amazing work...
000000 000000
000000 000000 Oy oldin
Women are underrepresented in STEM fields because women tend to be less interested in STEM fields.
Hi, I'm Hot Rod
Why don't you humans have a day for her? She save people's lives!
Pulse VII
Pulse VII Oy oldin
Everyone is talking about Kelsey, but Merrel sounds like an *ss
Jakédsoké Oy oldin
I’m Canadian
Dravelen Hawk
Dravelen Hawk Oy oldin
What if it was a guy?
Elinor Oy oldin
My dad was almost a thalidomide baby. My grandmother was prescribed thalidomide (in Sweden in the 60s) and fortunately she never took it.
TMHedge Oy oldin
4:42 "Pervasive gender biases" NO! It wasn't gender bias that did that, it was money. You said it yourself earlier in the video!, it was a 2.24 billion dollar industry!, the company that sold the drug wanted in to that industry regardless of the risk to the public. They targeted her because she was the one most in charge of approving/rejecting the case!, not because of her gender, but because she was the one person in their way stopping them from getting their drug on the markets.
montork Oy oldin
stereotype: women value feelings over facts and are too emotional. stereotype: women are too nitpicky and difficult. males will literally flip flop if it will get them what they want.
Being Greatest
Respect for the lady👏👏
If you ever doubt the brutal inhumanity of corporate business, just remember that this company was complaining to the FDA and whining to get a drug approved for sale that THEY KNEW AT THE TIME CAUSED BIRTH DEFECTS.
Al Cor
Al Cor Oy oldin
She has a school named after her on Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Aisha Bhat
Aisha Bhat Oy oldin
Very nice animation and speaker but I want Addison Anderson 😂😂😂
Ntokozo Moyo
Ntokozo Moyo Oy oldin
Doing the right thing is so rare that you get a medal for it. She's an example of why it's so important.
Sophie Jones
Sophie Jones Oy oldin
Too bad no one like this works at the FDA anymore. "that continue to protect people today" lol. the only people protected by the FDA these days are pharmacists.
Connor Shaw-case
Why are women underepresented in stem when they have a 2:1 advantage in being hired and are graduating college more then men? Maybe its to do with less women wanting to do stem not everyone is as sexist as the 1940s
Hailey25 Oy oldin
To any young girls (or anyone for that matter) interested in science, there is this amazing book called "Women in Science" by Rachel Ignotofsky. It talks about the work of over 50 different female scientists from Roman times to the Space Race from all over the world. It's a fairly easy read and very detailed, and many of the women did these absolutely revolutionary things yet almost no one today will recognize their names. I recommend it to anyone.
Andrew Aziz
Andrew Aziz Oy oldin
As a pharmacist, I thank Dr. Kelsey for her contribution to the profession. As my mentors have told me "always practice evidence-based medicine, not eminence-based medicine"
V D.O.
V D.O. Oy oldin
Lmfao the amount of sexist guys on the comments is too damn high.
Kezbardo Oy oldin
Yooo I remember this from Breaking Bad, when Walter explained chirality in his class, he used Thalidomide as an example
Hensley JeanBaptiste
She lived to 101 wow she really was a doctor of medicine
ruzzell907 Oy oldin
Countless children have been saved without us knowing.
Woofie Play
Woofie Play Oy oldin
Not every superhero wears a cap
Mariana Torres
Basically, a brain with legs 💖
anthony white
anthony white Oy oldin
Prometheus Kapoor
i want to cure AIDS
I'm surprised that they didn't brand her as a communist and anti capitalist
Josélina Aygretto
why is STEM so important?
bubmah axr
bubmah axr Oy oldin
how did someone could enter an undergrad and master degree at the same time? wow.
Tenhys Oy oldin
_Frances Oldham Kelsey_ 1914-2015 O_o She lived 101 years ?! Holy guacamole ! Color me impressed.
Noodle Kaboodle
Noodle Kaboodle 2 oy oldin
The most horrifying thing about thalidomide is that it's STILL used in Brazil despite the well documented damage to feotuses
Hershel Katz
Hershel Katz 2 oy oldin
she's so cool
Maybe women are naturally more atracted to some jobs, and men to others.
Elizabeth Brennan
I was going to say the same thing. Well said.
will k
will k 2 oy oldin
If drugs are associated with harm, then why is weed illegal. And why do you have to make this video a gender issue, if a female wants to do a stem subject she can, THERE IS NO BARRIER in the way of her getting any sort of work in that field
Mohdzahrin Bin Abdul Rahman
Im not american so this is the first time i heard bout her.phew i was so worried that she would not get the recognition she deserved as i watch it at the early part..bravo!
ElGringo 2 oy oldin
“The only reason more women aren’t in stem fields is because of patriarchy” has better not be in any of those videos if TED wants me to keep taking them seriously. Fingers crossed
Mark Smith
Mark Smith 2 oy oldin
Scientifically train bureaucrat. The FDA is a bureaucracy- sometimes behaving more bureaucratically and sometimes being out of control organisation.
driftster99 2 oy oldin
0:57 that fade though 👌
winnkey 2 oy oldin
This was a great possitive story one which needs to be told in this day and age where we are having a resurgence of drugs trying to be rushed through the process with dodgy science. I was about to share but your shoehorn political push which was already covered by your narrative tarnished this for me. I have nothing against your desire to diversify the field of stem. Diverse people, equal diverse thinking and that is always a possitive in science. Its just i clicked on this and wished to share this because of a strong story about the revolution of a field, but then you made me have to then also share a political statement as well.... i didnt want to make a strong political statement. I wanted to share a strong story
Brendan Goosen
Brendan Goosen 2 oy oldin
Why would you turn this into a gender thing? So annoying! Get over yourselves! it's 2018 FFS
Devan S.
Devan S. 2 oy oldin
Then people in 2018 take it too far and we get anti-vacciners. uneducated people lead to uneducated research, educated people lead to life saving research.
Kate Hu
Kate Hu 2 oy oldin
I was loving the video until that gender commentary... ANYONE who stands their ground as a gatekeeper against a nuerotoxin should be lauded. That's all that matters. We need more like Frances not because she is a she but because she is a person of good morale.
SR Creative Media
Maybe there is not equality of outcomes in STEM because men and women don't want the exact same thing. But I see nothing but equality of opportunities being presented now... even back in the 1950s... She worked hard and got what she worked for and made a difference.
random guy
random guy 2 oy oldin
Maybe women are underrepresented in STEM because less women want to take STEM then men - just like the inverse for, say, nursing.
Tak Tsing
Tak Tsing 2 oy oldin
I really feel the pressure she faced, especially when German had already approved the use.
Christian Prepper
*UNLESS YOU PAY the FDA ENOUGH MONEY or KNOW the RIGHT PEOPLE!* 3:57 Then they turn a blind eye or attack the competition of well funded pharmaceutical companies.
Katen Cyan
Katen Cyan 2 oy oldin
I love hearing stories about great scientists!
TheNinjaMarmot 2 oy oldin
She would have been on PETA.'s hitlist despite saving many human lives at the expense of animals
Ryan Wei
Ryan Wei 2 oy oldin
am i the only one who noticed she graduated high school at 15
Jonah Safern
Jonah Safern 2 oy oldin
Oh, good GOD! They just *had* to make it about feminism and women's supposed inequalities, didn't they?
Velcon X13
Velcon X13 2 oy oldin
This is amazing that u actually found thus
Bella B
Bella B 2 oy oldin
We was all born for a reason.
Dank Paradox
Dank Paradox 2 oy oldin
Women are not "unrepresented in STEM fields." They simply choose areas like nursing and business more frequently and men choose areas like physics and engineering more frequently. What's in these studies simply show the result of men and women's free choices. Good video other than the common misconception that the reason women don't join STEM is because they're persuaded not to
Lisa Mae Gilbert
Lisa Mae Gilbert 2 oy oldin
101 years! Wow! 👏👏👏
Kyori Nicks
Kyori Nicks 2 oy oldin
Wage gap doesn't exist us men must protect ourselves from feminism. 1 min later FBI OPEN UP!
Captain Doom
Captain Doom 2 oy oldin
And to think, if she didn't get the job, there would be a HUGE national health issue ALONGSIDE the news and mainstream media.