I am an academic, legal and policy research professional with extensive leadership and organizational experience. I earned my J.D. from the Howard University School of Law, and my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, I published my first book of poetry, entitled "Life as a Sclerian: Poetry on Politics and Periphereality."
My professional accomplishments include employment at two of the country’s most prestigious law firms, as well as employment with federal agencies and highly respected research institutes. While in law school, I served as Editor in Chief of the Howard Law Journal. My research interests include race/ethnic studies, disability studies, democracy and civil rights, stem cell therapy and overall health and wellness.
In June of 2008, I was forced to have a feeding tube implanted into my stomach because a neuro-muscular condition had worsened to the point of dysphagia, making it impossible for me to swallow safely. For years, I'd been having recurring episodes of aspiration pneumonia, and if they persisted I could die.
This short book of poetry is a parable of tragedy and triumph for the abadoned. It tells the story of a marginalized group of spiritual people, how they were violently excommunicated from their ancestral home, thrust into a darkness and despair devoid of identity, only to find the light that they possessed within them the whole time.
News and Analysis
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to restrict access to stem cell therapy with its overly burdensome regulations, Americans with chronic pain continue to suffer needlessly. Although many clinics in the U.S. use stem cells to treat arthritis, degene
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist President Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center after being diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, along with First Lady Melania Trump. The president suffered from fever, congestion and fatigue, and received supplemental oxygen therapy before being
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist The COVID-19 crisis has been a catalyst for new regulatory flexibility at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is pushing aggressively to develop new vaccines and treatments for coronavirus, including dozens of clinical trials of stem cell therapies on
Does the U.S. Need a New Deal on Stem Cell Policy? A. Rahman Ford, JD, PhD Newly-appointed FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn may be facing a Rooseveltian moment in stem cell policy. In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted his New Deal, a series of reform
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist As the U.S. comes to terms with the severe and often deadly consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, novel medical interventions are being sought to stem the tide of casualties. President Trump has touted the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus, while
The federal government seeks authority over stem cell treatments but risks thwarting medical advancement. Two years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in California that could determine the reach of its regulatory authority over how people use their own stem cells.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist No group is more worthy of the revolutionary benefits of stem cell therapy than America's military veterans. While the U.S.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist In a recent article published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine , officials with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) call for nationally uniform standards for stem cell products to facilitate the "responsible delivery of regenerative medi
The time for New Jersey stem cell legislation is now. Governor Phil Murphy must steer the effort.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist A small clinical trial has shown that autologous stem cells derived from a patient's own body fat can significantly reduce osteoarthritis knee pain for up to a year with no serious side effects, according to findings published in the journal American Journal of S
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist In a commentary recently published in the journal Stem Cells and Development , Jeffrey Gimble, MD, and his co-authors make a measured critique of the FDA's cautious regulation of autologous stem cells, including cells derived from adipose tissue, a person's own b
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist In a case report recently published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings , a 53-year-old California man paralyzed from the neck down in a surfing accident experienced dramatic improvement after an injection of his own stem cells. Chris Barr can walk again and
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist As a child, I was a big fan of professional wrestling. While I don't follow it as religiously as I used to, I have noticed a rather interesting trend. Several former wrestlers are opting for stem cell therapy to heal painful injuries.
There's an escalating government assault on our stem cells and we should all be very concerned about it. Most people probably associate stem cells with religious debates over embryos and fetuses. However, we all have stem cells inside of us that many contend can be extracted, processed and re-administered as as medical service.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist Melatonin is popularly known as the sleep hormone. Less known is its potential to alleviate chronic pain and inflammation. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist New research at Northwestern University and the Mayo Clinic confirms that we can heal ourselves with our own stem cells.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist A new, eye-opening documentary is challenging conventional wisdom about chronic pain treatment. Rather than treat pain as a purely biomedical issue, On a Scale of 1 to 10: The Silent Epidemic suggests a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to pain treatment tha
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist The Pew Charitable Trust - an institution whose stated mission is to "encourage democratic participation" in accordance with its founders' "emphasis on innovation" - has released a 52-page report on the FDA's framework for regulating stem cells and regenerative
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist Mark Berman, MD, is a key player in the escalating conflict between stem cell therapy providers and the Food and Drug Administration. Berman is co-founder of the California Stem Cell Treatment Center, a California-based clinic that specializes in stromal vascular
FDA ought to promote stem cell therapy by easing up on regulation and its aggressive enforcement. On International Rare Disease Day 2017, one month after being sworn in as President, Donald Trump gave his 2017 Joint Address to Congress.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist There's good news on the horizon for those who suffer from lower back pain due to disc degeneration. Mesoblast , an Australian biotech company, has partnered with Grunenthal, a large German pharmaceutical company, to commercialize an investigational stem cell pr
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN columnist Critics of stem cell therapy have taken their censorship campaign to another frightening and paternalistic step up the authoritarian ladder. Not only does it threaten freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of health, but now it's targeting poor people
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist In a recent Canadian Medical Association Journal case report , Canadian researchers report the case of a 38-year-old man who suffered an adverse event from a very specific form of stem cell therapy - an olfactory mucosa graft. Rather than simply present the med
In 2010, I went to Nanjing, China for stem cell therapy (SCT). I have absolutely no regrets. The therapy was to treat a debilitating, progressive neuro-muscular disorder I'd had since childhood. The condition had progressed to the point where my walking was unsteady and my swallowing was no longer functioning properly.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist A new study published in journal Stem Cell Reports , entitled "How to Peddle Hope: An Analysis of YouTube Patient Testimonials of Unproven Stem Cell Treatments," looks at over a hundred videos by stem cell patients posted on YouTube. The study appears
by A. Rahman Ford After years of being ashamed of my body, for some strange reason I decided one day to take some semi-nude photos of myself. To this day I have no idea what compelled me to do it....
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist Sickle cell disease is a debilitating illness that affects the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The disorder causes the normally-round hemoglobin molecules to adopt an abnormal crescent or sickle shape. As a result, the patient suffers from anemia, repeated
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist One morning while watching TV, I was astonished by one of the commercials that ran. It was an ad for stem cell therapy. That was when it dawned on me - stem cells had finally hit the mainstream.
On November 30, 2016, the New England Journal of Medicine published a piece entitled "Clarifying Stem-Cell Therapy's Benefits and Risks." The authors, which include Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert M.
On June 2, 2008, I had my last meal. It was one of my favorites - a platter of salmon, macaroni and cheese and cornbread. The meal was in a plastic container and eaten with plastic utensils as I sat on the small concrete wall outside the Penn graduate dormitory I was living in while I completed my doctoral studies.
My health journey has taught me several indispensable life lessons. One of the most important is the right and duty each of us has to whether and how to pursue certain treatments, or the likelihood of the success advocate for ourselves.
By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist In a recent article in Scientific American , author Mary Beth Pfeiffer paints a startling portrait of Lyme disease in America. She describes the "peril and menace" now associated with many forests, parks and even some backyards -- landscapes that
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist There's a lot of hope and hype surrounding stem cells - the latest being the idea of "banking" them -- harvesting and storing your own stem cells for future use.
Reality TV star Tarek El Moussa - host of HGTV'S "Flip or Flop" - recently posted photos on Instagram detailing his experience with stem cell therapy. El Moussa has a history of back injuries causing severe pain. He lost 50 pounds while recovering from one back injury and was tak
New Jersey will soon pass legislation making marijuana legal, or at the very least decriminalizing possession of certain amounts, for three reasons: increase benefits to people's health, decrease administrative costs to the state and moderate impacts on social justice. Stem cell legislation can do the exact same thing.
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist The Food and Drug Administration is finally getting the message.
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist A recent article published in the journal Regenerative Medicine suggests that civil lawsuits should be used to protect patients and draw attention to unscrupulous stem cell clinics. The authors, Claire Horner, Evelyn Tennenbaum, Zubin Master and Do
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist For the second straight year, President Trump has endorsed making life-saving treatments like stem cell therapies more available to more Americans. In his 2017 Joint Address to Congress, Trump highlighted the case of Megan Crowley, a young woman whose father had to launc
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist The New England Journal of Medicine recently published an op/ed rather benignly entitled "Rejuvenating Regenerative Medicine Regulation." The authors, R. Alta Claro and Douglas Sipp, argue that the Food and Drug Administration did not go far enough in regulating stem c
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist On January 10, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a disaster emergency to fight the scourge of heroin and opioid abuse in his state, which has one of the highest overdose rates in the country. "Pennsylvania's opioid crisis impacts all areas of the state - including
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the use of stem cell therapies for knee problems, including arthritis. Overall, the perspective of the piece was positive and it has several laudable aspects. Physicians from large academic institutions, such as
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist In August, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, signaled that his agency would move in the direction of enhanced regulation of stem cell therapies. He said the action was justified because of "unscrupulous actors" who deceive patients with what he described as "dangerou
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist As many of us can attest to, lower back pain (LBP) is a debilitating and painful medical condition that severely impacts quality of life.
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prepares to issue new guidelines on stem cell therapy, it must give due consideration to the ever-increasing number of Americans who suffer from intolerable chronic pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 25 mil
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist Several members of the Seattle Seahawks have opted for a regenerative medicine therapy called Regenokine to treat their pain and injuries, and the players believe it has made a big difference. The Seahawks were one of the NFL's healthiest teams last season, ranking 5th
(Editor's note: This week FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency would crack down on clinics that offer experimental stem cell treatments. While acknowledging that stem cells offer "significant promise" for treating chronic pain and other chronic conditions, Gottlieb said some clinics were
By A. Rahman Ford, Columnist Somewhat lost in Donald Trump's presidential victory was the resounding statement made by voters that medical marijuana is here to stay. Those people-driven victories were monumental for millions suffering from painful and debilitating illnesses -- people who could achi
by A. Rahman Ford A short time ago, I attended a small panel discussion on diversity in the professoriate. The panel of professors was a diverse one: a woman, a Hispanic, an African-American and a gay man. Those who had come to listen to and participate in the discussion we re likewise diverse.
The widespread purge of modern artistic expression that occurred upon Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany in 1933 was motivated by fear. The Nazi regime was determined to use culture to control the people and they chose to promote a conservative, unadulterated classical Greek and Roman aesthetic within the Reich.
As a person with an obvious disability, I am always aware of how human bodies are positioned physically in society, and how those positions manifest in highly stratified political configurations. I internalized my own position down at the bottom, which limited my ability to see what I was physically capable of.
At the age of three my parents noticed that something was wrong. Because the doctors had no clue what it was, they ignorantly called it "muscular dystrophy," a purportedly incurable genetic disease. The illness left me weak, thin and stunted, both physically and emotionally.
Given the recent coverage of Americans - particularly racial and ethnic minorities - being senselessly killed during interactions with law enforcement, many have searched for solutions to repair the "fractured" trust between the police and the public. Although well-intentioned, New Jersey's proposed solution - a bill requiring schools to teach proper citizen-law enforcement etiquette to kindergartners - is misguided.