DIRECTOR GIVES NOTICE:
FLAP OVER JACOBS RESIGNATION
STIRS NATIONAL MEDIA
From The Cancer Chronicles #23
© Sept. 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
It's ofÞcial. Dr. Joe Jacobs, hailed a year-and-a-half ago as the American Indian "Medicine Man" who would bring alternative medicine to his conventional colleagues, is leaving his post as director of OAM at the end of September....The media used the story to air some of the problems at OAM, in general.
The flurry of stories began with a column in the widely read Science magazine (7/15/94). According to that article, "Outsiders say that Jacobs ran afoul of the activists who lobbied to create the alternative medicine program. According to Ralph Moss, editor of The Cancer Chronicles, and an advocate of nontraditional therapies, Jacobs had 'acrimonious' dealings with Moss and other ad hoc advisors over priorities of research."
Science said that these advisors "wanted Jacobs to devote more time and money to investigating controversial therapies‹such as the use of shark cartilage to treat cancer and arthritis, a topic that Jacobs included under duress in the Þrst round of research awards. For the most part," the article continues, "Moss argues, the NIH ofÞce has chosen to research 'soft' topics less likely to offend the biomedical establishment." Jacobs, it is said, may have objected to having some of these activists included on the permanent advisory board to his ofÞce.
This was followed by a lengthy story in the New York Times (8/1/94). Natalie Angier reported on "acrimony and disgruntlement" in the ofÞce. She quoted Moss as saying, "I'm happy about his resignation. He seemed very uncomfortable with the job, and I wasn't happy with the direction of the ofÞce. I see it from the point of view of NIH wanting to do things the way NIH usually does."
To our mind, the most illuminating quote was attributed to OAM advisor Barrie Cassileth, PhD:
"The degree to which nonsense has trickled down to every aspect of this ofÞce is astonishing," Cassileth said. "It¹s the only NIH activity where people can come along and say with a straight face, 'It¹s not DNA that is at the heart of cellular functioning but ABC' and people will say, 'He¹s right!' It¹s the only place where opinions
are counted as equal to data."
In addition, stories on OAM appeared in New York Newsday and the Washington
Post; one is due to appear in the British medical journal, Lancet.
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