Dr. Fiscus’ performance reviews were overwhelmingly positive before firing

News4 obtained a copy of Dr. Michelle Fiscus' personnel file from December 2020.
News4 obtained a copy of Dr. Michelle Fiscus' personnel file from December 2020.(WSMV)
Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 3:19 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The same doctor who called for the firing of Tennessee’s top vaccination official, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, approved years’ worth of glowing reviews about her work performance.

On Thursday News4 obtained a copy of Dr. Fiscus’ personnel file. The doctor described in that file seems much different from the one described by the state health department in her termination letter.

In a performance review dated October 2020 — nine months before she was terminated for her “failure to maintain good working relationships with members of her team, her lack of effective leadership,” and “her lack of appropriate management, and unwillingness to consult with superiors and other internal stakeholders on VPDIP projects” — Dr. Fiscus was praised for strong leadership and trustworthiness with Tennessee’s immunization program.

“Dr. Fiscus is a trusted and reliable advocate to promote vaccination in Tennessee,” the review stated. “Not only is she an advocate within the state but is becoming a recognized national voice promoting the public health benefits of immunization programs.”

Performance reviews dating back to 2016 take a similar tone, in which her bosses describe her as a ‘strong leader’ and in 2020 doing ‘an outstanding job representing TDH and CEDEP.’

That review went on to say, in part:

“Her work has far exceeded expectations in regard to outreach to stakeholder groups and collaborators in the C19 response.”

Dr. Fiscus believes her firing was politically motivated, after a letter she sent to vaccine distribution partners citing doctrine that allows for some Tennessee teenagers to be vaccinated without parental consent stirred controversy among some conservative lawmakers.

Shortly thereafter, Fiscus says vaccine outreach programs to children were paused. She believes she was used as a scapegoat.

A statement from the department of health released Thursday refutes this, saying in part:

“There has been no disruption to the childhood immunization program or access to the Covid-19 vaccine while the department has evaluated annual marketing efforts intended for parents. The Tennessee Department of Health not only supports immunizations but continues to provide valuable information and access to parents who are seeking vaccinations for their children.”

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