JAMA editor predicts embargoes will be up for discussion

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

This is a guest post by AHCJ board member and AP medical writer Carla K. Johnson, who leads AHCJ’s Chicago chapter.

Howard Bauchner, M.D., is editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association

Howard Bauchner, M.D., editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association discussed health care reform in light of the elections. (Photo: Carla K. Johnson)

Howard Bauchner, M.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association, spoke to about 25 journalists and students at a recent AHCJ Chicago chapter event hosted by JAMA at its Chicago office.

“I don’t think we’ve settled the debate in the United States about whether health care is a fundamental right or a fundamental privilege,” Bauchner said in response to a question about doctors’ views on the Affordable Care Act. “And it’s been striking to me that the president has avoided that issue.”

Bauchner added: “That goes to the heart about why physicians are very divided about it.”

Bauchner talked about embargoes, the debate over open access to medical research and the online integration of the 10 medical journals in the JAMA Network.

He said he expects embargoes to be discussed at the May retreat of the JAMA editorial board. He’ll bring the board information on what other journals are doing, he said, and he’ll pose the question, “How does audio and video change any notion that embargoes should exist?” He said he’ll seek opinions from journalists, too.

Chicago-area journalists gathered to hear from JAMA's editor. (Photo: Carla K. Johnson)

Chicago-area journalists gathered to hear from JAMA’s editor. (Photo: Carla K. Johnson)

Bauchner speculated: “We will continue to have embargoes. The exact, precise timing of it is a little less clear to me.”

During his discussion of embargoes, Bauchner wondered whether a certain blogger would get word of his comments.

“Who’s the embargo person who blogs all the time?” he asked.

Several voices in the audience chorused: “IVAN ORANSKY.”

Oransky is an AHCJ board member whose Embargo Watch blog keeps an eye on embargoes and how they affect news coverage.

The Chicago chapter thanks Jann Ingmire of the JAMA Network for her help organizing the event.