Andrew A. Skolnick
In 1972, Skolnick participated in a two-year professional photography certificate program at the Paier Art School. He received a B.A. from Charter Oak State College in 1978. He graduated in 1981 with an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Skolnick was a scientific photographer at Yale University’s biology department from 1975 to 1977, a visiting lecturer teaching scientific photography at Yale from 1976-1977, a science writer for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation from 1981 to 1985, the life sciences editor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign News Bureau from 1985 to 1987, and the associate science news editor at the American Medical Association (AMA) from 1987 until 1989, when he became an associate news editor at the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). From 2004 to 2006, Skolnick served as the executive director of the Center for Inquiry's Commission on Scientific Medicine and Mental Health.
In 1992, Skolnick, JAMA 's editor George Lundberg, and the AMA were sued for $194 million by Deepak Chopra and two Transcendental Meditation (TM) organizations over Skolnick's JAMA news article titled, "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Guru's Marketing Scheme Promises the World Eternal 'Perfect Health.'" The suit alleged Skolnick's report on TM's health care products and services marketed under the trademarked name Maharishi Ayurveda was libelous and that it tortuously interfered with their business interests. In August 1992, in a noted decision, judge Charles Kocoras of the Northern District of Illinois Federal Court rejected the plaintiff’s motion to enjoin JAMA and Skolnick under the Illinois Deceptive Practices Act from publishing statements about Chopra and Hari Sharma and Maharishi Ayurveda alleged to be defamatory. Judge Kocoras noted that the plaintiffs did not allege that the statements about them in the article were false or misleading. The decision held that "plaintiffs have little likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their disparagement claim", and that JAMA ’s and Skolnick’s alleged defamatory statements were protected as "fair comment and criticism" on an issue of public concern. Shortly thereafter, the case was dismissed without prejudice in March 1993.
In 1996, he was invited to China for a semester to teach western journalism at Shanghai International Studies University, where he also served as language adviser and scrip editor for Shanghai Television International Broadcasting Service.
In 1998, the Carter Center Mental Health Program awarded Skolnick with an inaugural Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism to investigate the treatment of jail and prison inmates with mental illness. His investigation led to the publication of two news reports in JAMA and to a special series in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch titled "Death, Neglect and the Bottom Line." An article in August 2003 issue of Harper's Magazine by Wil S. Hylton describes how Skolnick was quickly fired by the AMA when Correctional Medical Services, one of the for-profit health care companies criticized in the articles, threatened JAMA and the Post-Dispatch with litigation. Unlike the AMA, the Post-Dispatch hired a law firm specializing in news media law to respond to the threat and nominated Skolnick and fellow reporters Kim Bell and Bill Allen for a Pulitzer Prize.
Skolnick's reporting has received numerous awards from health, media, and humanitarian organizations, including World Hunger Year, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Carter Center Mental Health Program, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and other groups. Skolnick, Bell, and Allen also received Amnesty International USA's "Spotlight on Media Award" and were honored by Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy as finalists for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The following year, the American Medical Writers Association awarded Skolnick the John P. McGovern Medical for Preeminence in Medical Communication.
According to Skolnick, some researchers feel that an alkaloid compound found in the Chinese herbal medicine Qian Ceng Ta could be more effective than some drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Skolnick has also written that the homeopathy industry has developed "from a historical curiosity into a $250-million-a-year scam".
Skolnick was co-recipient of the 2005 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, awarded by CSICOP. This prize is awarded to the author of "The published work that best exemplifies healthy skepticism, logical analysis or empirical science". The 2005 award was shared with authors Ray Hyman and Joe Nickell. Skolnick received the award for his article Natasha Demkina: The Girl with the Normal Eyes published in the series Testing the Girl with the X-Ray Eyes in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
- "Skolnick bio web page". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Skolnick resume". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Skolnick, Skolnick. "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Guru's Marketing Scheme Promises the World Eternal 'Perfect Health'". Journal of the American Medical Association. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- The Lancaster Foundation, Inc., The American Association for Ayur-Vedic Medicine, Inc. vs. Andrew A. Skolnick, George D. Lundberg, M.D.; United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 82 C 4175; Judge Charles P. Kocoras
- McLain, Deckle, “A New Kind of Gag Order; Fortunately the Appeals Courts Don’t Like Them”, Communications and the Law 18 Com &Law 43 (1996)
- Current Developments in Media Libel and Invasion of Privacy Law, Libel Defense Resource Center Vol 11 p 558 (1994)
- Communications Law, Vol 2 (1994), Practicing Law Institute p 497
- Lancaster Foundation v Skolnick 21 Media Law Reporter, 1021 (ND Ill 1992)
- "Rosalynn Carter Fellowship". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Hylton, Wil. "Sick on the Inside: Correctional HMOs and the coming prison plague". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Skolnick resume pdf". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- "Harry Chapin Award". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Skolnick Awards". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "AMWA Award". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Murray, Frank. 100 super supplements for a longer life. p. 191.
- Ober, K. Patrick. Mark Twain and medicine: any mummery will cure. p. 320.
- Mark Twain and Medicine. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Editor (May/June 2006). Skeptical Inquirer: 13.
- Skolnick, Andrew (May/June 2005). "Natasha Demkina: The Girl with the Normal Eyes". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-05-22.