Should physicians get involved in political activity? Most say "yes," according to research published in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. A JAMA analysis of data from the Institute of Medicine's Survey on Medical Professionalism found that more than 90 percent of physicians felt they should have a public role. (The IOM data was collected between November 2003 and June 2004, and was drawn from physicians in general internal medicine, family practice and pediatrics.) About two-thirds of physicians had been in at least one public role during the past three years, researchers reported.
Among the issues physicians considered important enough to advocate for were good nutrition, the fight against substance abuse and road safety. Interestingly, hot-button topics like stem-cell research and abortion issues apparently didn't come up, though this could reflect the design of the questionnaires used. I'd imagine that advocate-physicians don't stick to the mild stuff, though. What I'd like to see is a follow-up study looking at physician involvement in advocacy on controversial topics.
To learn more about this trend:
- read this piece in Medical News Today