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Frances Oldham Kelsey

AKA Frances Kathleen Oldham

Born: 24-Jul-1914
Birthplace: Cobble Hill, British Columbia, Canada
Died: 7-Aug-2015
Location of death: London, Ontario, Canada
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor

Nationality: Canada
Executive summary: Prevented countless thalidomide babies

Skeptical of its safety, in 1960 Kelsey kept the sedative thalidomide, used to treat morning sickness and sold under the brand name Kevadon in Europe, out of the U.S. mass market until overseas studies were completed. When they were, the results were devastating. By then thousands of babies born with deformed limbs or no limbs at all. In the wake of thalidomide, laws were strengthened requiring drugs to prove both their efficacy and safety before coming to market.

Father: Frank Oldham
Mother: Katherine Stuart
Husband: Fremont Ellis Kelsey (physician, m. 1943. d. 1966, two daughters)
Daughter: Christine
Daughter: Susan Duffield

    High School: St. Margaret's School, Victoria, British Columbia
    University: Victoria College, British Columbia (attended 1930-31)
    University: BSc Pharmacology, McGill University (1934)
    University: MSc Pharmacology, McGill University (1935)
    University: PhD Pharmacology, University of Chicago (1938)
    Medical School: MD, University of Chicago (1950)
    Professor: Pharmacology, University of Chicago
    Professor: Pharmacology, University of South Dakota (1954-57)

    Food and Drug Administration (1960-2005)
    Naturalized US Citizen 1956
    National Women's Hall of Fame 2000
    Order of Canada 2015

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