Bostom and Jha and Not Being a “Registered Doctor in the State of Rhode Island”


What was lacking above all during the COVID-19 pandemic was accurate, complete information about the disease.  Too many of our public officials, amplified too often by an unquestioning media, spoke only of the deaths, hospitalizations and case count of the disease, giving the strong impression that COVID-19 had a fatality rate worse than the Bubonic Plague.  Never did these officials mention that the survival rate of the disease, known early on, was actually north of 99%.  In doing so, they deprived the public of an accurate picture of the threat posed by the disease.

This was very much true in Rhode Island, where month after month, then-Governor Gina Raimondo and her Director of Health, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, held frequent, prolonged COVID-19 press conferences with all the thudding subtlety – “Doom Doom Doom” – of a siege scene from Lord of the Rings.

There were, however, a short list of professionals in Rhode Island who performed a valuable public service by offering and publicizing unbiased, whole picture data about COVID-19.  These include R.I. Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s Justin Katz (now at Anchor Rising) and WPRI’s Eli Sherman.  (Please oh please flag in comments anyone left off this list.)

Dr. Andrew Bostom was one of those.  From the beginning of the pandemic, he reviewed, analysed and publicized COVID-19 data very often obtained directly from the Rhode Island Department of Health or the CDC, thereby offering a clear-eyed, accurate picture of the disease.  To disseminate this much-needed data, he has appeared on national and local media.  He contributed to an Amicus Brief in the COVID-19 non-healthcare workplace vaccine mandate case ruled on earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.  And he testified just a couple of weeks ago on Smith Hill about COVID-19 risk for children and the impact of masking on them.

Why am I bringing all of this up?   Because WPRO’s Dan Yorke has repeatedly dismissed on air Dr. Bostom and the credibility of the data he brings with the statement, “He is not a registered doctor in the state of Rhode Island” – most recently, about Dr. Bostom’s above testimony.

Alrighty then, let’s turn to Rhode Island’s medical license database.

It shows two physician’s licenses for Dr. Andrew Bostom; one expired, the other inactive.

It also indicates that Dr. Ashish Jha, currently on professional leave as Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, does not hold and has never held a Rhode Island physician’s license.  (To reassure his patients at the Providence V.A. Hospital, Dr. Jha does hold physician’s licenses from Massachusetts and California.)

Contacted by the Ocean State Current, Dr. Andrew Bostom indicated that he had given up his Rhode Island physician’s license because his professional work no longer warranted the cost of the requisite insurance, not that it had been revoked for cause.  Dr. Bostom further commented in writing,

What you’ve discovered is that Dr. Jha does, like myself, does not need a Rhode Island medical license to pursue his goals as an MD.  A medical researcher with 40 years of experience as a clinician and academic in both allied health, and since 1990, medicine, I gave up all clinical practice, and the need for RI medical licensure, in 2018. But my research career,
including a unique 2021 publication
on Covid-19 testing in Rhode Island, is ongoing as an affiliate of the Brown University Center For Primary Care and Prevention, marking a 35-year continuum as a published medical researcher.

Neither Dr. Bostom nor Dr. Jha are currently “a registered doctor in the state of Rhode Island”, to reprise the narrow standard set by Dan Yorke.  And that is completely irrelevant here.  In both their cases, the lack of a current Rhode Island physician’s license is not an indication of professional competency or credibility of work product, whether that be caring for patients, leadership during a pandemic or analysing data.

Ultimately, this article is not about the licensing status of either Dr. Andrew Bostom or Dr. Ashish Jha.  It is to defang a baseless, non-sequitur attack on the source of badly needed COVID-19 data by someone who has an audience of many thousands.  As Rhode Island begins to recover from eighteen months of fear-mongering ginned up by the deliberate slanting and outright withholding of COVID-19 information, the public is badly served by a radio talk show host’s inexplicable attempt to discredit valid, enlightening data and thereby drag the state back to the dark ages of COVID-19 ignorance and cowering.

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