How one scientist averted a national health crisis - Andrea Tone

  • Published on Jun 7, 2018
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    In 1960, Frances Kelsey was one of the Food and Drug Administration’s newest recruits. Before the year was out, she would begin a fight that would save thousands of lives - though no one knew it at the time. Andrea Tone explains how Kelsey was able to prevent a massive national public health tragedy by privileging facts over opinions, and patience over short-cuts.
    Lesson by Andrea Tone, animation by TED-Ed.
    Thank you so much to our patrons for your support! Without you this video would not be possible! Claudia Mayfield, Justus Berberich, Pavel Zalevskiy, Yankai Liu, Duo Xu, Ghassan Alhazzaa, Miloš Stevanović, Joy Love Om, Gi Nam Lee, Shawn Quichocho, Simone Kidner, Anika Westburg, Barun Padhy, Brandy Jones, Devin Harris, Tony Trapuzzano, Stephen Michael Alvarez, Tom Lee, Juliana, Jason Weinstein, Kris Siverhus, Alexander Walls, Annamaria Szilagyi, Morgan Williams, Abhijit Kiran Valluri, Mandeep Singh, Sama aafghani, سلطان الخليفي, Marylise CHAUFFETON, Marvin Vizuett, Jayant Sahewal, Quinn Shen, Caleb ross, Elizabeth Cruz, Elnathan Joshua Bangayan, Gaurav Rana, Mullaiarasu Sundaramurthy, Jose Henrique Leopoldo e Silva, Dan Paterniti, Jerome Froelich, Tyler Yoshizumi, Martin Stephen, Justin Carpani, Faiza Imtiaz, Khalifa Alhulail, Tejas Dc, Benjamin & Shannon Pinder, Srikote Naewchampa, Ex Foedus, and Sage Curie.

Comments • 1 643

  • TED-Ed
    TED-Ed  11 months ago +814

    If you're a student with a passion for science, share your ideas, discoveries and hopes with the world through TED's student idea platform: If your passions lie elsewhere, we want to hear from you, too! TED-Ed is creating a space to celebrate and amplify student ideas on a wide range of topics - from human rights to staying organized in school - and we want you to be a part of it! Check it out!

    • MadGirl BitchingBoutStuffs
      MadGirl BitchingBoutStuffs 3 months ago

      You forgot:
      "except of course, if you are a guy. Then we don't want you."

    • OOOF exe
      OOOF exe 3 months ago

      Nope they dont care weather you have a passion or not only if you do what they say and make me money

    • Alex Erhan
      Alex Erhan 5 months ago

      Ted Ed = prickly Philadelphia

    • Arnav Kelkar
      Arnav Kelkar 8 months ago

      TED-Ed (

  • BitterVoid
    BitterVoid 2 hours ago +1

    This is interesting and great and all, but praising women and saying they’re not equal is ridiculous. First of all, nothing will change if you keep believing that’s true, and keep saying it is.
    Second, it’s not. And women are treated like gods compared to how Men treat their own gender and even themselves. Men are beautiful, but those blind to Male beauty praise women and obsess over them and treat them better than other Men.

  • scarletfluerr
    scarletfluerr 16 hours ago

    We can start by stop buying Barbie dolls in bikinis for our daughters and instead force manufacturers to make female dolls are scientists, warriors and women who will change the world.

  • john hannibal
    john hannibal 17 hours ago

    Want more women in STEMs? Stop subsidizing women's' studies, gender studies and other bogus degrees. I would be a much happier guy knowing that women were bigger on evidence based scientific fields

  • Hey Eaglet
    Hey Eaglet Day ago

    kelsie: you guys really made it hard for me to say i told u so

  • PyroDelusion
    PyroDelusion Day ago +1

    101 years old.....woah!!!!

  • CasualKhajiit
    CasualKhajiit 2 days ago +2

    I personally, love the fact that I'm going against my gender norm and taking a stem field. Of course, I hate the fact that women aren't as represented, but just doing my part to fix that, while doing what I love, is great

  • John Ronald
    John Ronald 2 days ago

    Merrel: the reason why the drug was rejected was because of this doctor
    Dr. Kelsey: No u

  • Doctor Laughtor
    Doctor Laughtor 4 days ago

    And his name... was...

    Justin Timberlake

  • Reading Diamond
    Reading Diamond 4 days ago physics teachers name is miss Oldham WHAT

  • Erik Rehm
    Erik Rehm 4 days ago

    I thought this was about the person who caused the massive ‘anti-vax’ movement

    • Jhivarr
      Jhivarr Day ago

      No. Then the video would have been titled "How one greedy ex-doctor (Wakefield) led thousands astray because he valued money over science."

  • My channel is dead Rip in pieces

    Such a queen

  • Char10tti3
    Char10tti3 5 days ago +1

    1:57 baby rabbit looks like the end of watership down

  • MidnightAmratha
    MidnightAmratha 6 days ago

    brilliant story, right untill you went off the reservation and turned it into a gender topic, it may have been an issue back in the 1960's but today it is just an insult to those early equalists. Rede Vatro Satanas, Mene mene tekel ufarsin!

  • M’snootyboy
    M’snootyboy 8 days ago


  • EdwardThimbleHands
    EdwardThimbleHands 8 days ago

    Someone doing their job instead of being a moron, and she didn't expect the praise. This should have been, and still should be, the way things work. To remember a time when people used to be competent, so crazy.

  • Dillon Brownell
    Dillon Brownell 10 days ago

    True strength is the power to say no.

  • ventisca
    ventisca 12 days ago

    Why do the drug companies almost always the villain?

  • theemissary1313
    theemissary1313 13 days ago

    Why on earth is ther 1,200 thumbs DOWN on this video???

  • Luke John Tl.
    Luke John Tl. 17 days ago

    The video was great only if you keep your political viewpoints to yourselves

  • brushfuse
    brushfuse 21 day ago

    Someone forward this to today's White House: They don't read, but perhaps they'll watch a cartoon.

  • Lizzy Nightingale
    Lizzy Nightingale 26 days ago

    Me, having watched call the midwife a couple of times: pah
    You fools

  • Dave Cullins
    Dave Cullins 29 days ago

    Fittingly, she became over 100 as well.

  • Mayank Singh
    Mayank Singh Month ago +1

    And we don't know she is .... Had there been a crisis and she then saved the day she would be remembered by everyone

  • Khairin 2007
    Khairin 2007 Month ago

    If it weren't for her, many babies would be born with a LOT of disabilities.

  • Carrie Peifly
    Carrie Peifly Month ago

    was judgement misspelled at the beginning as "judgment" or are both ways right?

  • Toyall1
    Toyall1 Month ago

    She lived till 101? Awesome. She deserved a full life

  • MidoriyamaRArekusu
    MidoriyamaRArekusu Month ago

    Wish we’d had this happen over here. She was a hero.

  • Gaurav Shenoy
    Gaurav Shenoy Month ago

    Missed a small yet significant point. The wrong isomer of Thalidomide caused birth defects.

  • theaetherboss
    theaetherboss Month ago

    We love you Dr. Kelsey. Without you, I could have never been born. I thank you so much for your unwavering bravery and courage because it could have easily have given me life, or at least a life without any disparages. Thank you.

  • Lkea 404
    Lkea 404 Month ago

    what if women aren’t joining STEM because they just don’t want to? I know some do and if so go for it.

  • hkvleeazn
    hkvleeazn Month ago

    That paragraph about fact over opinions would have spiked so much drama on the sjw community today

  • Bubby Flippu
    Bubby Flippu Month ago

    Uh uh a drug with thallium is totally going to be completely safe.

  • Acrsicles Pedrcles
    Acrsicles Pedrcles Month ago +1

    Frances is smart. And a hero.

    Be like Frances.

  • QuantumGaming
    QuantumGaming Month ago

    Go Kelsey! :)

  • UGA Greedy
    UGA Greedy 2 months ago

    The Company was a bunch of rage quitters

  • Re Writer
    Re Writer 2 months ago

    We need more like her and we're getting the opposite!

  • Legal Pumpkin
    Legal Pumpkin 2 months ago

    She is everything I will never be ;-;

  • Nick Debattista
    Nick Debattista 2 months ago


  • Lifefighter _YT
    Lifefighter _YT 2 months ago


  • WarWolf
    WarWolf 2 months ago

    Yes they’re dis represented in stem fields, but also in construction working, and other dangerous jobs. Not to mention that more women go to college than men. The high paying majors also are dominated by women.
    Ps. The #metoo movement is sexist

  • Vani J
    Vani J 2 months ago

    Hollywood...i want a movie!

  • PhoeNixNixe
    PhoeNixNixe 2 months ago

    Dreamlike 👍

  • Chandan Kumar S
    Chandan Kumar S 2 months ago

    Hats off to this women

  • vappio
    vappio 2 months ago

    The end of the video reminded me of my school’s STEM club. I am the only girl out of an average of 7 kids.

  • Mr. Cub Fan 415
    Mr. Cub Fan 415 2 months ago

    0:29 I love how she reaches down and pulls the graduation marker to the left :D

  • Poras kinneth
    Poras kinneth 2 months ago

    5:02 well Ted Ed. Because in the Previous Generations only few women applied in stem field tracks compared today.

  • Cool Chicken
    Cool Chicken 2 months ago

    Anyone notice as soon as she mentions Thalidomide the music changes to minor? Really powerful impact, Nice job!

  • Connor Van Deventer
    Connor Van Deventer 2 months ago

    She was part canadian she helped set the standards of what drugs can be used and which ones can't be used an hero we got that save millions of babies lives

  • a boi with a sword
    a boi with a sword 2 months ago

    Me mom eat funny med

  • Lenny Linn
    Lenny Linn 2 months ago

    Thank god for her

  • Percefiney Pictures
    Percefiney Pictures 2 months ago

    Okay, love the video but keep out that "women are disproportionately represented in STEM feild" nonsense. You know why? Cause women dont enjoy those things! Sure, some women do and thats amazing, great on them. But MOST women go into other jobs such as communications, humanities and the arts. Its just what the like.

  • Doggo lover
    Doggo lover 2 months ago +1

    *Me* : YASSSSSS you go Andrea Tone
    Regular person: Wait who’s child is this and why am I here?
    Me: oh it’s my imagination. You should also leave before something bad happens.
    Regular person: k

  • 探偵Levi
    探偵Levi 2 months ago

    I want a invisible pen now

  • Seeker-Purr
    Seeker-Purr 2 months ago

    There was a school near my hometown named after her, but I didn't realise that. Just assumed it was after a man like her school did

  • Balendula
    Balendula 2 months ago

    Why turn this into a political thing? Yes, she was a scientific genius, but she is the exception not the rule. Most scientific geniuses are men, and you are going to see that reflected in STEM.

    RIDDHI PAWASKAR 2 months ago

    She's the real hero🙌🏻 #respect

  • Drew James
    Drew James 2 months ago

    I support women in STEM. But they should do it because they can, not because they are women. Nonetheless, they must be upheld and appreciated for what they do. On the other hand, gender studies is nowhere near respectable or worthy of recognition at all.

  • riptiderobin15
    riptiderobin15 3 months ago

    I think it should be a woman's right to choose which field of study she would like to go into. And if she doesn't want to go into a stem related field then that's on her. It's not the worlds fault that wemon are underrepresented in that field. This SJW stuff really kills any good message.

  • Jorge W
    Jorge W 3 months ago

    Nossa, fui rever esse vídeo depois de mais de um ano e percebi que por engano eu tinha dado deslike, ainda bem q eu voltei pra corrigir

  • Ishika -
    Ishika - 3 months ago +1

    She's an inspiration ❤

  • That Random Scottish Laddie

    And she's today's unsung badass of history

  • BosniaBROGaming
    BosniaBROGaming 3 months ago

    Good i agree

  • what am I doing ?
    what am I doing ? 3 months ago

    Still waiting for ted

  • Charlie Reeder
    Charlie Reeder 3 months ago

    amazing story! had to turn it off when it got near the end about women earning less pay tho...

  • Michael Fixedsys
    Michael Fixedsys 3 months ago

    Mrs.Kelsey wasn't just a badass
    she was a badass who did her job, and did it well!

  • David Perrier
    David Perrier 3 months ago

    If this happened today, Republicans would be trying to get Thalidomide approved because big government was unfairly rejected a drug that is obviously healthy.

  • Ankur Mukherjee
    Ankur Mukherjee 3 months ago

    Some always complain about less representation of women in stem field but do not talk their representation in the jobs of firefighters,police etc.They also do not say anything about more representation of women in the jobs like teaching , medical field ,law etc. Is not all job should be respected equally ?

  • Opticendymion 96
    Opticendymion 96 3 months ago

    i don't think i was paying enough attention

  • red x17
    red x17 3 months ago

    women on average dont like stem fields. get that through your thick head

  • Googal Tanr
    Googal Tanr 3 months ago

    Anti vaxxers will use this as evidence

  • ratsonsaturn
    ratsonsaturn 3 months ago

    4:37 no she was almost ruined due to monopolies. She would have never gotten an award and gotten FDA backing if it was sexist.

  • Flippish Pinoy
    Flippish Pinoy 3 months ago

    not for long weed is already legal

  • Kyle Ackerson
    Kyle Ackerson 3 months ago +1

    Beautiful story

  • sweiland75
    sweiland75 3 months ago

    How one scientist averted a -national- American health crisis

  • sarupi
    sarupi 3 months ago

    Imagine all the people that could have die if she doesn't hide his female name in the application

  • DnD Dude
    DnD Dude 3 months ago

    I already know what this videos about...
    Blah blah blah... someone cleans up hospitals... blah blah blah... she prevents patients and doctors from getting sick because of how grimy the hospitals were... blah blah BLAH..!

  • Nightmare Dragon
    Nightmare Dragon 3 months ago +2

    She was so important, but not many know what she did these days.

  • The Generalist
    The Generalist 3 months ago

    Well done.

  • arthsey
    arthsey 4 months ago

    hah my profile picture

  • Robert A
    Robert A 4 months ago

    How has no one pointed out that she was 101 years old when she died?

  • KaiserAfini
    KaiserAfini 4 months ago

    A great professional does not let anything stop them from delivering methodical assessments and putting the welfare of the public first. Dr Kelsey is an inspiration to all fields, not just pharmacology.

  • Kanra Smith
    Kanra Smith 4 months ago

    Bro, she was 101

  • Crista D.
    Crista D. 4 months ago

    Amazing how many microd*cks got triggered by the ending of the video. The comment section is hilarious.

    • Crista D.
      Crista D. 3 months ago

      +Dr Vertigo thanks cap

    • Dr Vertigo
      Dr Vertigo 3 months ago

      you know you dont have to censor your self

  • Matriks
    Matriks 4 months ago

    And that man, was Eren jaegers dad

  • Saiki Chan
    Saiki Chan 4 months ago

    Wow 101 years old

  • Bobby C
    Bobby C 4 months ago

    This is egalitarianism done right. If you want women to receive the same recognition as men, then don't qualify their achievements with epithets describing their gender.

  • Jock McBile
    Jock McBile 4 months ago

    A great story. It is sad, we haven't moved on much, but we are heading in the right direction. Thank you to Dr. Kelsey

  • Dyzinel
    Dyzinel 4 months ago

    She really was amazing and badass huh.

  • sapplejax
    sapplejax 4 months ago +2

    What a legend of a human. Amazing.

  • SilverS Gaming
    SilverS Gaming 4 months ago +1

    She spent her live saving many of those in her time and many more in the future.
    Truly a hero.

  • Hecatia Lapislazuli
    Hecatia Lapislazuli 4 months ago

    There TVclip, I finally watched it. Now stop reccomending it.

  • zeldafreak701
    zeldafreak701 4 months ago

    Good God, just think if you parents were born around that time, they could've been subject to these horrible diseases!
    That being said, TED, please let's just focus on the accomplishments of this lady and not push this SJW nonsense. This is a different time and women most certainly are not subject to gender biases in the STEM field. They're just underrepresented because not enough of them want to a STEM career. If you're going to go that route, then let's talk about how males are underrepresented in fields such as education and nursing.

  • AlchemistOfNirnroot
    AlchemistOfNirnroot 4 months ago

    I remember this from GCSE bio...

  • napstrike
    napstrike 4 months ago

    It is believed that only USA and Turkey managed to stay away from this dangerous drug. In the Turkish front, the Distinguished Prof. Dr. Süreyya Tahsin Aygün was working on stem cells and investigated the drug. He noticed that it would have adverse effects on pregnant women (since it was his field of work), and informed the ministry of health. The ministry of health banned the drug and saved the nation. However,
    Kelsey was declared a hero in the USA, while some idiots tried to declare Aygun as a charlatan in Turkey. Only when the Germans named an institute after him, the nation learned the truth about him.

  • DinoWolf35
    DinoWolf35 4 months ago

    You had me until the end when you go on about STEM, there is actually a preference of taking girls over boys into STEM so the reason there aren't so many girls is because not that many girls are applying

  • indeepj
    indeepj 4 months ago

    Is She Still Alive?

  • Isaac Mikola
    Isaac Mikola 4 months ago

    It kind of reminds me of a famous picture of Madam Curie sitting with Einstein, Schrodinger, and a lot of other famous scientists in the Solvay Conference picture. She had a trench coat on.

  • megannnjay
    megannnjay 4 months ago

    What a freaking cool lady