I posted a note yesterday showing the close association of previous AACC executives to the Theranos Scientific and Medical Advisory Board (see: Theranos Scientific and Medical Advisory Board Tightly Linked to the AACC). This was in addition to my two previous notes about this same topic (see: Major Miscalculations by the AACC Regarding Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos; Conflict-of-Interest Disclosure for Society Members Who Plan Conferences?). This morning I received an email from Janet Reizman, CEO of AACC, which I have copied in its entirety below, boldface emphasis mine.
As an aside, I count myself among what I would call "old school" in terms of lab professionals. In this regard, I do feel nostalgic for the old days when pathology and lab medicine societies were primarily represented by their presidents who held scientific and medical credentials; nary a CEO in sight. It's also of interest that this email came from CEO Janet Kreizman and not from the AACC president, Patricia Jones, Ph.D.
I have read with interest your recent series of blog posts about the Theranos session at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting. We at AACC appreciate the feedback of the laboratory medicine community and are always interested in hearing from stakeholders.
I do want to clear up some of the misinformation and/or insinuations that have been communicated in your posts. Theranos did not offer AACC a donation in return for the invitation to speak, nor did the company purchase a booth at the Clinical Lab Expo. The only agreement for this session was that Elizabeth Holmes explain the Theranos technology and answer attendees' questions.
I want to be clear that no one on the AACC Board of Directors has any kind of financial agreement with Theranos, nor do those on the organizing committee for the meeting. You have noted that four of AACC’s past presidents are members of Theranos’ Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. This is true, but it is certainly not news, since media outlets have been reporting this fact since April. These past presidents -- while respected members of the association -- hold no decision-making authority at AACC and did not have any impact on the decision to have Elizabeth Holmes speak about Theranos’ technology at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting. This decision was made by the current leadership at AACC.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me, rather than speculating publicly about some wrongdoing that never occurred.
Janet B. Kreizman
Chief Executive Officer, AACC
For me, this letter provides some very important insights. Regarding Elizabeth Holmes' lecture at the recent AACC annual conference, the decision to invite her was solely made by the current leadership at AACC. I am not a member of the organization, but I would think that the following questions might arise in the current members' minds and perhaps be put to Janet Kreizman and the members of the conference planning committee:
- What exactly was accomplished by the appearance of Elizabeth Holmes at the annual meeting to further the scientific goals of the AACC as they relate to laboratory medicine?
- Given the amount of national publicity given to her appearance, in what ways did the scientific reputation or financial status of the AACC benefit from her presentation?
- Are any changes to the conference planning process warranted for future years based on this experience?