(Extensions of Remarks - September 29, 2009)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E2388-E2389]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                            HON. BART STUPAK

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                      Tuesday, September 29, 2009

  Mr. STUPAK. Madam Speaker, I rise to recognize Dr. Kathleen Weston, a 
remarkable woman who has spent her life at the forefront of medical 
research in the field of prescription drug toxicology. Dr. Weston's 
work has included large-scale production development of the first Salk 
polio vaccine for worldwide distribution and providing legal advice on 
toxicology issues for a range of government agencies. At 102 years of 
age, Dr. Weston continues to be an active contributor to her family and 
  Dr. Weston was born in 1907 in the village of Kenton in Michigan's 
Upper Peninsula. Born Kathleen Shingler, she was one of four children; 
her father worked as a general store keeper and her mother was a school 
teacher. After graduating from high school, one of two in her class to 
do so, Dr. Weston enrolled in Northern State Normal School (now 
Northern Michigan University) where she graduated with a degree in 
biology in 1929. After beginning her career teaching biology at 
Munising High School, Dr. Weston joined her husband, Jean K. Weston, in 
enrolling in graduate school at the University of Michigan earning a 
master's degree in anatomy and genetics in 1934.
  After taking a position teaching anatomy and physiology to nursing 
students, Dr. Weston enrolled in medical school at Temple University. 
Weston credits the nurses she taught with her acceptance to the program 
after the dean struck a deal that he would admit her, provided she 
could get the nurses to pass anatomy and physiology. All of the nurses 
passed and Dr. Weston graduated from medical school in 1951, one of 
five women in a class of 125.
  Upon graduation Dr. Weston moved to Detroit with her husband who 
worked to develop a modern toxicology laboratory for Parke-Davis and 
Company. As one of five pharmaceutical companies to produce the Salk 
polio vaccine for worldwide distribution, the head of

[[Page E2389]]

Parke-Davis research recruited Dr. Weston to work on the Salk project 
because of her experience with microscopes and the nervous system. 
During the interview process Dr. Weston broke down several barriers for 
women--Parke-Davis agreed to pay her what it was paying other MD's 
working for them, far more than the salary they usually paid women at 
the time, and following the interview she was the first woman to ever 
lunch in the company's executive dining room.
  As Parke-Davis began to produce the Salk polio vaccine on a large 
scale, Dr. Kathleen Weston directed infectious control tests of the 
vaccine to certify no live virus was present. She went on to become 
head of the Parke-Davis toxicology laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 
Dr. Weston considers her three years working on the Salk polio vaccine 
as her top scientific achievement.
  Following Parke-Davis, Dr. Weston continued her work in toxicology at 
Burroughs-Welcome in New York and as a consultant for government 
agencies including the National Institute of Health and the 
Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. While in 
Washington, D.C. she also taught at George Washington University 
Medical School.
  Dr. Weston continued to work as a consulting toxicologist until 1997. 
Today she is still an active reader and is currently assisting the 
Kenton Historical Society with their research.
  Madam Speaker, Dr. Kathleen Weston has spent her life as a leader in 
toxicology research and as a trailblazer for women entering the medical 
profession. Her work with the Salk polio vaccine helped save countless 
lives around the world. I ask Madam Speaker, that you and the entire 
U.S. House of Representatives join me in honoring Dr. Kathleen Weston 
on the important work she has accomplished in the field of prescription 
drug toxicology and in her work to help record the history of her 
hometown of Kenton.