Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor. September 2014, Volume 16, Number 9.

Ethics Poll

Physician Advocacy

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

Which of the following best describes how you think physicians should manage their public advocacy and expressions of opinion?
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Physicians should speak in public forums or to the media only on topics closely related to their specific area of medical expertise because the public tends to think their views are authoritative.
Physicians can speak "as physicians" in public forums or to the media about any health-related topic (e.g., domestic violence, high school shootings), even health-related law and policy issues.
Physicians who speak in public forums or to the media on topics outside their area of medical expertise should ensure that coverage of their remarks clearly states that they are speaking as citizens only, not as physicians.
Physicians should be able to speak “as physicians” no matter what they are commenting on. We do not ask or expect members of other professions to disavow professional status when speaking publicly.
Physicians have an obligation to speak out "as physicians" against any conditions (e.g., environmental, social, economic, human rights) that contribute to poor health.

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Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.