Tag Archives: medical education

AHCJ disappointed with ACGME’s response on transparency

About Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein is a senior reporter with ProPublica in New York. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer is a member and past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists' board of directors and a member of its Right to Know Committee.

ACGME-Response8-12-2014-1The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has rejected a request from AHCJ to publicly release additional information about the successes and failures of physician training programs nationwide.

Earlier this month, AHCJ called upon ACGME to release details about residency programs with less than full accreditation, as well as the rates at which graduates of residency programs pass their board certification examinations. ACGME posts decisions on favorable or less-than-favorable accreditation status but not the reasons for them.

Replying to AHCJ’s Aug. 5 letter, ACGME executive director Thomas J. Nasca, M.D., wrote that the organization would not provide the requested information, citing the confidentiality of ACGME’s review and decision process.

AHCJ president Karl Stark said he was disappointed by ACGME’s response. Continue reading

COI policy change has medical associations talking

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 AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

A policy intended to reduce conflicts of interest in continuing medical education will take effect at the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions in November: Pharmaceutical industry employees will not be allowed to make medical education presentations at the event.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the change comes as the result of  “a relatively new interpretation on a policy of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the national body that accredits medical education courses.” Such presentations can be used to boost the marketing of new drugs, according to James Stein, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, explains the new policy.

Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, explains the new policy.

The policy came up at a meeting at the National Institutes of Health last week, where Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, called it “bloodcurdling.”

Fauber quotes people on both sides of the issue, including a former editors of JAMA and NEJM, as well as critics of industry funding of medical education.

Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., president of the AHA, was at the NIH meeting and expressed “consternation” about the policy and was hoping to get support from others in the room to appeal the ACCME’s decision. He points out that the AHA’s event is the first major medical meeting at which these policies will be in place but that other organizations will have to deal with the changes to remain accredited by the ACCME.

Video of the meeting is online and the relevant proceedings start at about the 108 minute mark. It’s well worth watching to see the reactions in the room.

University’s ties to testosterone therapy questioned

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

When it comes to sketchy medicine, female hormone therapies have company. According to reporter John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the fast-growing field of testosterone therapy is “based largely on iffy science, promotion, manipulation and conflicts of interest,” much of which originated at the University of Wisconsin.
Fauber found the questionable ties during an investigation of company-funded UW courses that count as continuing education credits for local physicians. Despite the lack of rigorous research into testosterone therapy’s effects, UW courses (with material created in part by drug company contractors and involving studies authored by doctors with drug company ties) and other like them have helped push testosterone therapies, especially Solvay’s AndroGel, to millions of American males. In his extensively researched piece, Fauber takes on not only local conflicts of interest, but also the male hormone replacement and anti-aging movement.