More proof you can't trust MLB
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| By eyleenn on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 10:11 am:|
Long article from NY Times. The "expert medical adviser" to MLB, who testified before Congress, just slightly exaggerated his credentials.
March 30, 2005
Medical Adviser for Baseball Exaggerated Credentials
By DUFF WILSON
Dr. Elliot J. Pellman, the medical adviser for Major League Baseball whose recent testimony to Congress praised baseball's steroids policy and challenged its critics, has exaggerated his educational and professional credentials.
Dr. Pellman, who is also team doctor for the Jets and the Islanders and a former president of the National Football League Physicians Society, has said repeatedly in biographical statements that he has a medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
But Dr. Pellman attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, and he received a medical degree from the New York State Education Department after a one-year residency at SUNY Stony Brook, state records show. He does not hold an M.D. from Stony Brook, according to Dan Rosett, a university hospital spokesman.
In papers sent to Harvard University for a seminar and to the House Committee on Government Reform, which held the hearings on steroids in baseball two weeks ago, Dr. Pellman identified himself as an associate clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
But he is an assistant clinical professor, a lower-ranking and honorary position that is held by thousands of doctors, a medical college official said. Dr. Pellman does not teach at Albert Einstein.
The New York Times reviewed Dr. Pellman's credentials after his nationally televised appearance before the House committee on March 17. He was added to the hearing at the request of Major League Baseball and staunchly defended baseball's steroids policies.
In interviews this week, Dr. Pellman, 51, said he had not tried to mislead anybody about his credentials. He characterized the errors as minor and said he would correct them. And he primarily blamed other people, including his secretary and the Jets, for the discrepancies.
"In a way, I thank you, because those discrepancies are not important enough to be there, and they have all been fixed," he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
But Dr. Dan Brock, director of Harvard Medical School's Division of Medical Ethics, said, "If I told you I graduated from medical school in the United States, and I went to Guadalajara, then I think I would have deliberately misled you, so I would say that was unethical."
In his testimony to the House committee, Dr. Pellman contended that baseball's efforts to curb steroid use compared favorably with those of any other sport. "Unlike some other medical professionals you will hear from today, I have had extensive experience in the area of professional sports," he told the committee.
Dr. Pellman, who is an internist, said he had advised baseball executives who negotiated the steroids policy with union leaders. But under questioning, Dr. Pellman admitted he was not aware of a loophole that would allow a player to leave the room for an hour in the middle of a drug test, nor of a loophole that would allow a $10,000 fine instead of a 10-day suspension for a first offense.
He promised that players would be watched continuously while being tested and said they would be suspended if they tested positive.
When informed of the errors in Dr. Pellman's biography, Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, who is the ranking minority member on the House committee, said in a statement yesterday: "Major League Baseball told us Dr. Pellman was their foremost expert, but he was unable to answer even basic questions about the league's steroid policy at the hearing. This new information raises further questions about his credibility and the credibility of baseball's steroid policy."
Robert White, a spokesman for Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia, who is the chairman of the House committee, said he was "stunned" that baseball would send "a doctor with a questionable résumé."
Dr. Pellman noted that he had not described any of his credentials in oral testimony to the committee. Two of the errors, however, are in the résumé he provided to the House committee, including the rank of associate professor and a claim of being a fellow of a prestigious medical organization.
In bold-face letters atop a résumé sent to Congress and Harvard, Dr. Pellman indicated that he is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. He is not. He lost the coveted title of fellow when he stopped paying dues six years ago. He is no longer even a member of the American College of Physicians, Susan C. Anderson, a spokeswoman for the medical society, said.
Dr. Pellman said in the interviews this week that the assertion that he had a medical degree from SUNY Stony Brook was a misinterpretation by other people.
He said the claim of an associate professorship was premature, but he said a promotion was pending. And he said he had been a fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1987 and did not realize his standing would lapse if he stopped paying his dues.
"Once you're a fellow, you're a fellow," Dr. Pellman said. But the organization's rules are clear: Fellows may only use the prestigious title if their membership remains current. "I have never heard of that," Dr. Pellman said.
Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president, said the errors were insignificant. He said Dr. Pellman had disclosed his Guadalajara education to baseball on his résumé. He said it was unfair to criticize Dr. Pellman for the false listing of an M.D. from SUNY in the "Reader's Digest version" of his bio from the Jets.
"I don't see why it should impact his credibility, I really don't," Mr. Manfred said.
'Complicated' College Years
The medical school at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara has lower admissions standards than medical schools in the United States. Dr. Pellman said he enrolled there in 1975 because of poor grades as a biology major at New York University, which he attributed to the death of his father and his having worked in the family flower shop in the Bronx and as a cabdriver while in college.
"I remember that was a complicated time in my life," he said.
After four years at Guadalajara, he applied for the Fifth Pathway, a program run by the American Medical Association that allows United States citizens who attend Mexican medical schools to return home for a fifth year of clinical work. Mexico requires six years altogether, including social service, for a Mexican medical degree.
Dr. Pellman was issued a Titulo, or a title of completion, by Guadalajara and a certificate of completion by SUNY Stony Brook. He does not have a medical degree from either university. Rather, he was awarded an M.D. by the State Department of Education.
"The fact is, if someone said, 'I completed SUNY's medical program,' that could be misleading," said James Daniels, the A.M.A.'s program director for Fifth Pathway. "Although if they say, 'I completed my education there' or 'I have a certificate from there,' that could be perfectly true."
He added, "It's sloppy and it may be ambiguous to cite back to your last school, but it's not misrepresentation."
The A.M.A. Web site says: "Fifth Pathway students receive NO medical diploma from the U.S. medical school sponsoring their Fifth Pathway year of clinical education. They receive a 'Certificate of Completion,' which is accepted in lieu of a diploma in virtually all U.S. licensing jurisdictions."
Dr. Pellman did disclose Guadalajara in his state licensure file and his résumé and in an article in the Long Island Business News in 2004.
But in other places, including the Jets' media guide and in Web sites of the Guardian Brain Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on brain injuries and diseases, and of Arthritis Huddle, a group organized by a pharmaceutical company, he was said to have an "M.D. degree from SUNY at Stony Brook."
In a Harvard brochure for a seminar on sports injuries, Dr. Pellman was described as having earned a "medical degree from SUNY at Stony Brook."
Errors Traced to 1980's
Dr. Pellman said the error started when the Jets wrote a biography for him in the 1980's. "I didn't pay much attention to it," he said. "I can't tell you that I didn't notice it as much as in my own mind I trivialized the importance of it."
Ron Colangelo, a vice president of the Jets, said the team sends the biography to Dr. Pellman every year for fact-checking. "You ask them every year to read their bio, but they usually don't," he said.
Told of the discrepancy, Mr. Colangelo said: "So SUNY said he didn't get an M.D. from there? Oh my goodness, oh my goodness gracious."
Mary L. Pallotta, founder and president of the brain foundation, said she had received the SUNY degree information directly from the Jets' bio, which had been sent to her in an e-mail message from Dr. Pellman's office.
Ms. Pallotta described Dr. Pellman as "a wonderful, wonderful man," who is her family's primary physician and handles the brain injury part of the foundation's work.
At Harvard, Kiki Kamanu, the administrator of the seminar on sports injuries scheduled for May 20, said the seminar's brochure described Dr. Pellman as an associate clinical professor with a medical degree from Stony Brook, because that information came from Dr. Pellman's office.
Dr. Pellman said he had "no idea" why Harvard had called him an associate professor. His résumé, Dr. Pellman said, clearly states that the associate status was "pending." He provided a copy of the résumé to The New York Times to confirm that.
But Harvard and the Congressional committee received a different version of Dr. Pellman's résumé; there is no mention in these that his status as an associate clinical professor of medicine is pending.
On Monday, Dr. Pellman said: "I can't explain it. I often have my secretary do that kind of thing but if it was or was not I can't answer that. But on the other hand I'm not quite sure of the importance of it. If you tell me that's the only mistake she's made or I've made or anybody else, go for it."
Yesterday, he said he recalled having the promotion added to his résumé several months ago, when he was expecting it to be completed by the spring. He said he had learned four or five weeks ago that the promotion would not be reviewed until the summer. He could not explain why he did not change the résumé before sending it to Congress. He said he had added the word "pending" sometime last week.
Dr. Harry Steinberg, vice chairman for medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said the promotion had passed a departmental promotions committee, on which he serves, but is still pending at the university level.
Abraham I. Habenstreit, director of public affairs at Albert Einstein, said about 2,000 doctors are called instructors or clinical professors by dint of their admitting privileges at five affiliated hospitals. They are voluntary, unpaid positions, he said, but many of the clinical professors lecture at the college occasionally.
Dr. Pellman said he could not recall the last time he had lectured at the college.
Dr. Pellman said he first joined the Jets in 1988 (and not in 1987, as the team's media guide says) and he was named chairman of the team's medical department in 1998. His busy office in Lake Success, on Long Island, ProHealth Care Associates, is filled with Jets memorabilia. He has published nine articles on concussions in the journal Neurosurgery since 2003.
He was also named the medical director of the Islanders in 1996 and of the New York Dragons, an Arena Football League team, in 2000. Dr. Pellman was president of the N.F.L. Physicians Society from 1999 to 2001, and has served as a medical liaison for the N.F.L. commissioner since 2001. He has been the medical adviser for Major League Baseball since 2003.
| By deajay on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 12:11 pm:|
Doesn't surprise me. During the testimony, you could see he was there because he was an mlb lackey. I thought he was overmatched by other experts on the subject, without question, taking what the guy said with a grain of salt.
From espn: When informed of the errors in Pellman's biography, Representive Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, the ranking minority member on the House Committee, told the NY Times in a statement: "This new information raises further questions about (Pellman's) credibility of baseball's steroid policy."