Junkfood Science: Information management — News for fellow medical professionals

July 15, 2007

Information management — News for fellow medical professionals

Whooah! Dr. Julie Gerberding, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has called for government-run education for all doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals, as the first step to creating a national healthcare system. It seems that leaving medical education to state universities and private academic centers is a problem. [Resulting in too many of us not following the party line, perhaps?]

Speaking yesterday at the annual meeting the American Veterinary Medical Associations, Gerberding seemed especially troubled by bloggers and alternative media sources, which she said were “conduits for an onslaught of misinformation,” making it hard for people to get good health information. The government needed to “get our voice heard above the cacophony of the junk science that is being heard,” she said.

Gerberding also believes government healthcare should be paying more attention to “helping people lead healthier lives.”

Reuters also reported:

Start from ground up to fix health care: CDC head

...“I believe that what we really need in this country are schools of health," Gerberding told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “If we are seriously thinking about building a health system, then we need to be training professionals in a collegial and collaborative manner."...

An estimated 43 million Americans lack any health care insurance at all, and the United States is the only industrialized nation without an organized national health care system. “We are at a tipping point with our health care delivery system," Gerberding said. “We cannot afford to continue going in the direction that our system is going...

This got my attention and probably most of your’s, too. As medical and science professionals, most of us are all about credible science. Many of us have also turned to the internet as about the only venue that enables us to share, with patients and fellow professionals, medical and science information with deeper insights than is available elsewhere and, more importantly, to cut through the junk science out there — some of which comes from our own Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC under Gerberding. It seems we’ve been getting some notice. :)

She didn’t reveal just how she was going to deal with the “misinformation” on the web.

But more disturbing questions came to mind with this news. How many were aware that the HHS was working towards creating a nationalized healthcare system? How many medical professionals feel their role is to tell people how to live their lives in accordance with the government’s definition of a healthy lifestyle, as she envisions?

And what type of training will young medical and nursing students receive at a government educational system under her direction, given she’s brought us such government initiatives as:

· The creation of a deadly obesity epidemic using unsound science and methodology. As Gerberding said when launching the HHS’ major anti-obesity initiative: “The biggest problem we face in America is not terrorism. The biggest health problem we’re facing is obesity.” After internal CDC researchers exposed Gerberding’s war on obesity as a grossly exaggerated and fabricated scare campaign, it was followed by all-out efforts to preserve an obesity crisis, spinning the data and, as Gerberding said, making sure the “correct” information was disseminated by the media.

· The new clinical guidelines for the medical management of fat children, which, as we found, not one single recommendation was based on credible science.

· Employer wellness programs, complete with preventive guidelines to have a healthier, more productive workforce, that Gerberding called “public health science research in action” — and we saw wasn’t evidence-based science.

· The rushed adoption of name-based HIV reporting registries and HIV surveillance systems, despite research from the CDC itself that such mandates will mean significant numbers of patients won’t come forward for testing and treatment.

· The avian flu panic and $3.8 billion to create a massive governmental bureaucracy under the HHS for the pandemic, ignoring research from her own CDC.

Under a government medical education system, how likely will the instructors teach science and critical thinking or dare question government guidelines and programs that are not grounded in the most careful science or that might not be best for individual patients or public health? Certainly, it will be easier for the government to manage and control what information is taught, but at what expense to academic and scientific advancement? Or are we all to simply become Stepford doctors and nurses?

© 2007 Sandy Szwarc

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