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Stephen Barrett, M.D., Biographical Sketch

Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who resides near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has achieved national renown as an author, editor, and consumer advocate. In addition to heading Quackwatch, he is vice-president of the Institute for Science in Medicine and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In 1984, he received an FDA Commissioner's Special Citation Award for Public Service in fighting nutrition quackery. In 1986, he was awarded honorary membership in the American Dietetic Association. From 1987 through 1989, he taught health education at The Pennsylvania State University. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America and received the 2001 Distinguished Service to Health Education Award from the American Association for Health Education. His research library, pictured below, houses more than 6,000 books and 100,000 documents and recordings collected over a 40-year period.

Photo by Lance Richardson



An expert in medical communications, Dr. Barrett operates 25 Web sites; edits [../00AboutQuackwatch/chd.html Consumer Health Digest] (a free weekly electronic newsletter); is medical editor of Prometheus Books; and has been a peer-review panelist for several top medical journals. He has written more than 2,000 articles and delivered more than 300 talks at colleges, universities, medical schools, and professional meetings. His 52 books include The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America and eight editions of the college textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions. One book he edited, Vitamins and Minerals: Help or Harm?, by Charles Marshall, Ph.D., won the American Medical Writers Association award for best book of 1983 for the general public and became a special publication of Consumer Reports Books. His other classics include Dubious Cancer Treatment, published by the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society; Health Schemes, Scams, and Frauds, published by Consumer Reports Books; The Vitamin Pushers: How the "Health Food" Industry Is Selling America a Bill of Goods, published by Prometheus Books; and Reader's Guide to "Alternative" Health Methods, published by the American Medical Association. His media appearances include Dateline, the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC Prime Time, Donahue, CNN, National Public Radio, and more than 200 radio and television talk show interviews.

Since moving to North Carolina in 2007, Dr. Barrett has been swimming competitively and [biovitae.html#swim has won 43 state championship events, 8 medals in national events, and 7 medals in international events]. At the 2012 U.S. Masters Spring Nationals, he and his teammates earned Relay All-American Awards for the fastest times swum in the U.S. in 2012 in the age 75-79 men's 200 freestyle and 200 medley relay events. During the 2013 season, he won 3 three gold medals at the North Carolina Senior Games, 3 silver medals at the National Senior Games, and became a world champion by winning the age 80-84 men's 50-meter butterfly event at the Huntsman World Senior Games.

Additional Information

  • [biobooks.html Books and Book Chapters]
  • [/10Bio/apa_news.pdf American Psychiatric News article]
  • [biography.html Interview in Biography Magazine]
  • [medhunters.html MEDHUNTERS magazine article]
  • Time Magazine Article
  • [../00AboutQuackwatch/faq.html Frequently Asked Questions about Dr. Barrett's Activities]
  • [../11Ind/bolen.html The Internet Libel Campaign against Dr. Barrett]

How to Contact Dr. Barrett (Please mention how you found this Web site)

  • E-mail: Click here
  • Snail mail:
    Chatham Crossing, Suite 107/208
    11312 U.S. 15 501 North
    Chapel Hill, NC 27517.
  • Telephone: (919) 533-6009

Any Questions?

When time permits, your questions related to consumer health will be answered by e-mail. The most interesting ones will be posted (without the sender's name) to this Web site. Before sending a question, please [../wgsearch.html search Quackwatch] to see whether the topic has been covered! If you prefer to phone, please send an email message first so I can retain your contact information.

This page was revised on November 3, 2013.