Word Ban Harms CDC Work to Protect Public Health, AAFP Warns

Academy Demands That Medicine and Research Remain Nonpartisan

December 16, 2017 05:50 pm News Staff

Precise communication is absolutely essential to physicians and scientists, and any attempt to restrict the terms they use for political purposes will make it far more difficult for them to fulfill their mission of protecting the public health, the AAFP warned today.

[Black List on card file]

The administration has ordered the CDC to not use the terms "evidence-based," "science-based," "transgender," "fetus," "vulnerable," "diversity" or "entitlement" in documents for next year's budget, according to a news story in The Washington Post.(www.washingtonpost.com)

The AAFP wasted no time explaining why the move must be reconsidered.

"When the top public health agency in the country is -- in an unprecedented move by the administration -- required to temper its reliance on evidence-based medicine, the health of the public is at risk," the AAFP said in a statement attributed to President Michael Munger, M.D., of Overland Park, Kan.

Physicians and scientists must be able to clearly say exactly what they mean, and any attempt to shackle them by eliminating important terms that describe their work can only hurt the nation.

"This action is an obvious attempt to politicize the most fundamental tenets of medicine and research, which will have a chilling effect on the CDC's ability to rely on science to justify the work it does to protect public health," the AAFP said.

This work directly impacts the patients, families and communities that family physicians serve, and it must be allowed to advance without consideration of partisan politics.

"We urge the administration to fully assess the broader implications of this purely political maneuver and reconsider its recent directive to the CDC," the AAFP concluded.