Harriet Hall

Harriet A. Hall (born July 2, 1945) is a U.S. retired familyphysician, former U.S. Air Forceflight surgeon and skeptic who writes about alternative medicine and quackery for Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer. She writes under the name The SkepDoc.

Medical doctor and skeptic (born 1945)
Harriet A. Hall

Hall, speaking at the Australian Skeptics National Convention, Melbourne 2016
Born (1945-07-02) July 2, 1945 (age 76)
Known for Criticism of alternative medicine
Spouse(s) Kirk
Children 2
recorded in March 2014
Website www.skepdoc.info

. . . Harriet Hall . . .

Hall received her B.A. and M.D. from the University of Washington. She was only the second woman to do her internship in the Air Force and was the first female graduate of the Air Force family to practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base.[1]

Hall says she was a “passive skeptic” for quite some time, only reading the literature and attending the various meetings.[2] She met Wallace Sampson at the Skeptic’s Toolbox workshop in Oregon. He convinced her to write an article for the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine[3] testing so-called “Vitamin O” products she had seen advertised in the mail.[4] She then began writing articles for Skeptical Inquirer.[5][6] When she spoke to Michael Shermer at The Amazing Meeting about the book The God Code, he encouraged her to write a review of it for Skeptic magazine.[7] She wrote other articles for that publication, and since late 2006 she has had a regular column in it titled The SkepDoc.[2] This is also the name of her web site.[8] Before the Toolbox, “I had not done any writing… one thing led to another and now I’m on the faculty of the Skeptic’s Toolbox.”[9]

She has spoken at the Science-Based Medicine Conference[10] and The Amazing Meeting 7,[11] among other venues in 2009. She has been interviewed on podcasts such as The Reality Check,[3]Skepticality[12] and The Skeptic Zone.[2]

In 2008 she published Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon, an autobiography focusing on her experiences as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force (she retired as a full colonel). As a female physician, Air Force officer, pilot and flight surgeon she was a minority in several respects, and encountered prejudice. The title of the book refers to an incident after her first solo flight when an airport official told her, “Didn’t anybody ever tell you women aren’t supposed to fly?”[11][13]

Starting in the January 2010 issue, Hall had a regular 250-word column in O, The Oprah Magazine debunking common health myths.[14] Her relationship with the magazine was rocky, and the column ended in the June 2010 issue.[15] She has since said about this experience that “The editor who hired me was replaced by a less sympathetic one (…). They restricted me to a measly 200 words and wanted to tell me exactly what to write about and what to say. I couldn’t even recognize the final edited version as my writing.”[16]

Hall is on the board and a founding member of the recently (2009) formed “Institute for Science in Medicine”. In 2010 Hall was elected a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.[17]

Hall on the JREF Amazing Adventure — North to Alaska

On August 21, 2010 Hall was honored with an award recognizing her contributions in the skeptical field, from The IIG during its 10th Anniversary Gala.[18]

Hall also spoke at the 6th World Skeptic Congress in Berlin, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fairy Tale Science and Placebo Medicine”.[19]

In 2015 she published a YouTube lecture series titled “Science Based Medicine”, commissioned by the James Randi Educational Foundation.[16] It is presented as a course consisting of 10 lectures regarding the differences between Science-Based and Evidence-Based Medicine, CAM, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine, Energy Medicine, Miscellaneous “Alternatives”, Pitfalls in Research, and Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics.[20]

Since 2018 Hall has published a regular column in Skeptical Inquirer called “Reality Is the Best Medicine”.[21]

. . . Harriet Hall . . .

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. . . Harriet Hall . . .