The Good Doctor
Jennifer Miller’s deep dive into bioethics
Some might wonder when Jennifer E. Miller, PhD, finds time to sleep. She is the founder of Bioethics International (BEI), an assistant professor at NYU’s School of Medicine, creator of the Good Pharma Scorecard (GPS), and recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Dubai where she was part of a panel focused on the ethics of human enhancements. Miller is also a new mom to baby boy William.
A Ridgefield native and ’98 graduate of RHS, Miller moved to town at age eight and still considers it home—though she lives in Westport and commutes to Manhattan for work. “Ridgefield was an ideal place to grow up,” she says. “It’s family-friendly, and growing up there was pivotal in my development as a person and a professional. I am grateful to the town, its members, and its programs.”
After graduating from Ridgefield High School, Miller went on to Fordham University where she earned a BS in physics before attending Harvard University for her post-doctorate work in ethics and institutional corruption. “I founded Bioethics International (BEI) in 2005 to help transform the way we understand, engage, and operationalize bioethics in healthcare to improve its ethics and patient-centricity and advance health,” she explains. “Around 2007, I pivoted BEI’s attention to the ethics of pharmaceutical companies. We pivoted, in part, because ethicists were better supporting hospitals’ ethics needs.”
Miller took this new focus and created the Good Pharma Scorecard, which ranks all new FDA-approved drugs and large pharmaceutical companies on their clinical trial transparency and data-sharing performance. “Many Americans depend on the medicines and vaccines these companies make to advance their health,” she explains. “Only ten percent of the U.S. population trusts drug companies to be honest and ethical, and 90 percent think they prioritize money over people. To help address this problem, I explored how other industries addressed their ethics and quality concerns.”
Over the years, Miller’s work has garnered the attention of everyone from Fox News and NPR to The Washington Post and Newsweek. She’s also been the recipient of fellowships at both Harvard University and Duke University.
With all of the attaboys and accolades, it’s still her Ridgefield upbringing and time spent in the local public school system that has Miller looking back fondly. “When I learned in my senior year physics class that time isn’t a constant, that it slows down as one approaches the speed of light, I knew I wanted to major in physics,” she says. “I also highly enjoyed my senior year English class, where I learned about the use of ethos, pathos, and logos in speech writing and devoured the writings of Martin Luther King Jr.”