It’s been a rather eventful week here at Science-Based Medicine. I apologize that I don’t have one of my usual 4,000 word epics ready for this week. I was occupied all day Saturday at a conference at which I had to give a talk, and Dr. Tuteur’s departure produced another issue that I had to deal with. Fortunately, because Dr. Lipson is scheduled to do an extra post today, I feel less guilty about not producing my usual logorrhea. Who knows? Maybe it will be a relief to our readers too.
This confluence of events makes this a good time to take a break to take care of some blog business and make formal what I alluded to on Thursday in the comments after I announced Dr. Tuteur’s departure, namely that it’s time for us at SBM to start recruiting. Our purpose in recruiting will be to make this blog even better than it is already. We have an absolutely fantastic group of bloggers here, and it is due to their hard work and talent that SBM has become a force to be reckoned with in the medical blogosphere. Our traffic continues to grow, and reporters and even on occasion governmental officials have taken notice. That’s why Dr. Tuteur’s departure makes this a perfect opportunity to build on that record and make SBM even better and a more essential as a source of medical commentary than it is already. To accomplish this goal, it’s clear that any recruitment cannot be simply to fill in a gap in our posting schedule. I would much rather have a weekday go without a post every now and then than to recruit the wrong person to take over Dr. Tuteur’s spot. As a result, I hope to make this recruitment more strategic and to do it in a more formal manner than we have perhaps done in the past. We also plan on taking our time and therefore ask your patience.
To this end, I’m going to ask for nominations, either self-nominations or nominations of others, as suggested bloggers for SBM. Please also include a link to the nominee’s blog or, if the nominee is not a blogger or otherwise known for skeptical writings regarding medicine elsewhere (such as R. Barker Bausell), samples of his or her writing about topics relevant to SBM. I will compile the list over the next couple of weeks; our bloggers will discuss and vet the candidates; and we will decide whom we want to try to persuade to join us, either as a regular weekly blogger (currently Harriet Hall, Steve Novella, and me), an every-other-week blogger (currently Peter Lipson, Mark Crislip, Val Jones, and Joe Albietz), a monthly blogger (currently Kim Atwood), or an occasional contributor (currently Wally Sampson, David Ramey, John Snyder, Tim Kreider, and David Kroll). Finally, if you’re nominating yourself, please specify how often you are interested in contributing and tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Also realize that we do require our bloggers to write under their own names. No pseudonyms will be permitted, at least not on this blog.
So where do we need the most help? A number of you, as well as a number of SBM bloggers, came up with excellent suggestions for priority areas where our readers what to see more material or where we are weak here at SBM. These areas include, in no particular order:
- OB/GYN, including childbirth, pregnancy, and general women’s health issues.
- Nutrition. We could really use a good, science-based nutritionist.
- Psychology and/or psychiatry. As has been pointed out to us, there’s a lot of woo in the world of mental health.
- Statistics. We could use a good statistician to analyze research methodology.
- Epidemiology. As has also been pointed out to us, there is a lot of abuse of epidemiology out there.
- Nursing. There’s a lot of woo in nursing, unfortunately, be it “therapeutic touch” or other woo.
- Medical-legal. Although only one person suggested this, I think this is an excellent idea. What are the medical-legal implications of CAM? Why can’t state medical boards shut down quacks? What does the DSHEA really mean?
- Medical ethics. There are profound ethical implications involved in CAM, in particular whether or not truly “informed” consent is even possible for CAM trials.
If you, dear readers, have any other suggestions, please let us have them. Either leave them in the comments or e-mail me directly at [email protected] Please do not e-mail me at work. I keep my work and blog business as separate as possible, which is why in general I do not respond to blog-related e-mails sent to me at work.
Finally, be aware that SBM is about more than this blog. As you may recall, we’ve arranged one symposium at TAM7, and we plan on doing two workshops at TAM8. We frequently consult with each other on issues of SBM. Sometimes we argue, and this is good. We aren’t looking for clones of one or more of us; we are looking for unique viewpoints who can defend and discuss science-based medicine while writing cogently and entertainingly about it. If you want to do more than that, such as giving talks, participating in workshops, and in general agitating to increase the role of science in medicine, and, as was laid out in the very first post on this blog, here’s why:
The philosophy of this blog, at its core, is simple: Safe and effective health care is critical to to everyone’s quality of life; so much so that it is generally considered a basic human right. The best method for determining which interventions and health products are safe and effective is, without question, good science. Therefore it is in everyone’s best interest for health care to be systematically evaluated by the best science available.
This is why the authors of this blog strongly advocate for science based medicine – the use of the best scientific evidence available, in the light of our cumulative scientific knowledge from all relevant disciplines, in evaluating health claims, practices, and products. The authors are all medically trained and have spent years writing for the public about science and medicine, tirelessly advocating for high scientific standards in health care. Together, and with contributions from other medical science writers, they will turn a critical eye toward all issues relating to science and medicine. They hope to make the Science Based Medicine blog a vital resource for consumers, providers, regulators, the media, and anyone interested in quality health care.
Although our visibility and number of SBM bloggers have increased greatly in the two years since those words were written, our vision and purpose have not. We’re just looking for new people who share that vision and purpose to help us realize them. This time we are asking for your help.